Sometimes "Plugging Away" Just Doesn't Work
Stubborn body fat is a nightmare. There's nothing more frustrating than working as hard as you can to get in shape, only to be left with a few stubborn areas of fat that just don't seem to shrink.
If you're a male, the stubborn areas are typically in the midsection, lower back, love handles, and lower chest. If you're a female, the triceps, hips, quads, glutes, and hamstrings will usually be more stubborn.
The typical advice would be to "keep plugging away" with a consistent caloric deficit, cardio, weight training, and a serious diet with the intent of getting shredded. This might work in the long run, but there are ways we can accelerate the process and target this stubborn body fat through effective supplementation.
The Stubborn Fat Protocol
1 – Yohimbine HCL
Make sure you don't confuse this with Yohimbe bark, which can be tough to dose correctly and can often cause nausea or sickness. Yohimbine is also a stimulant, but it's more specifically known as an "alpha-2 adreno receptor antagonist."
It's unique in its ability to essentially "block" alpha 2 receptors within the fat cells, and stubborn body fat areas are linked to sites rich in these alpha 2 receptors.
The alpha 2 rich areas are known to have a poor blood supply, so even when we exercise it's hard to mobilize and move these fatty acids. They also actually appear to inhibit fat loss via signaling of HSL (Hormone Sensitive Lipase), which is a key fat-releasing enzyme in the body. So theoretically, if we can try to switch off these alpha 2 receptors, we may increase blood flow as well as switch on lipolysis (fat burning) in the stubborn areas.
I've used yohimbine on my clients and myself to get us into competition condition multiple times and have always noticed a significant difference in both the speed and the magnitude of fat loss with yohimbine. It's now a staple in my fat loss arsenal and I'm genuinely surprised that more people don't use it, by itself or as part of a formulation.
2 – Higenamine
Humans also possess beta-2 adreno receptors on fat cells. These work in the opposite way to alpha-receptors. Unlike yohimbine, which is an antagonist that down-regulates a receptor, higenamine is an agonist that up-regulates a receptor.
So theoretically, combining higenamine with yohimbine HCL is almost the perfect ying-yang relationship ¬– yohimbine shuts off the alpha-receptors while the higenamine up-regulates the beta receptors.
3 – Nicotine
Nicotine is a substance that many associate with the cancer-causing effects of smoking. This is incorrect. While the most common delivery system (cigarettes) may not be best for those of us looking to optimize health and body composition, nicotine in isolation is actually a great tool to add to any sensible fat loss stack.
Chewing on nicotine gum or using nicotine mints can help increase dopamine, which can have a mood enhancing and appetite suppressing effect. It's for this reason that many competitive bodybuilders keep it in their arsenal for the later stages of a diet.
What's great about nicotine in particular is that it has a relatively short life of maybe up to two hours. This makes it perfect for evenings when hunger can be a problem. It also has thermogenic properties and a metabolic effect.
How Much, How Often?
The best time to take yohimbine and higenamine is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, 20 minutes or so before your morning cardio. (This is because the effects of yohimbine are negated by food intake, especially surges in insulin.) If you can't do your cardio fasted for some reason, make sure you take the stack around 2-4 hours after a non-carb meal to allow the effects to ramp up.
As for dosing, the most effective dose of yohimbine is around 0.2mg/kg. But start with a lower dose than that, especially if it's part of fat-loss formulation that contains other ingredients. If you're using it by itself, titrate the dose up gradually.
For higenamine, I'd start at 25 mg. a day and slowly work up to 75 mg. a day.
Nicotine can be taken with the yohimbine and higenamine or on its own later in the day to spike metabolism and suppress appetite. The perfect dose is 1-2 mg. Be sure to start on the lower end; it can initially make you a little nauseated. Typical nicotine gum contains 2-4 mg. of nicotine, so use half a piece.
Are There Any Side Effects?
This is highly dependent on the individual, but yohimbine and higenamine are both stimulants and can cause jitteriness. Stimulants are also linked to amplified feelings of anxiousness, so people with a history of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks might want to avoid them.
There are positive side effects associated with these compounds, too, aside from weight loss. Users report a decrease in appetite (potentially helpful toward the final stages of a diet) and increased well being and even libido.
Nicotine can sometimes cause headaches, dizziness, or dry mouth, and while you might worry that it's addictive, nicotine gum or lozenge addiction is pretty rare, but it can happen.
That Crucial Extra 1-2%
Unless your diet and training are on point, using these compounds would be a waste of time. However, this stack could provide the extra 1-2% of fat loss that might be the difference between first and second place for competitors.