I believe most of the so-called “fat burner” supplements being sold right now are completely worthless. Yohimbine HCL is one of the few exceptions, but it only helps if the proper dosage and timing are implemented.
This supplement has been around for a while, and I remember using herbal version of it back in the 90’s (Yohimbe). Years later I realized I wasn’t even taking it the correct way.
Let me clarify something before I go any further: I believe Yohimbine HCL is only of value once you’ve already become fairly lean and just need help with some of those last “stubborn” fat deposits. One of the best studies, for example, was done on professional soccer players–a group we’d expect to have relatively low body fat levels.1
How does this supplement work? Stubborn fat areas (usually “love handles” and the lower abdomen for men; hips and thighs for women) have a much higher number of alpha-2-receptor sites when compared with “non-stubborn” areas. The sites essentially cause the fat cells to be more resistant to releasing their stores. Yohimbine is an alpha-2-receptor antagonist, meaning it temporarily disables these receptor sites and makes it easier to oxidize/mobilize the triglycerides within these cells.
Circulation is another issue that comes into play with stubborn fat areas. Antagonism of alpha-2-receptors likely increases blood flow to these cells.
To summarize, this supplement can temporarily cause “stubborn” fat cells to act like less problematic areas. But this affect only lasts for about 30 minutes, so timing is important.
The proper dosage for yohimbine hcl is .2mg/kg (example: 20mg for a 220lb person (0.09 mg/lb of body weight). This requires taking several capsules since it is only available in 2.5 mg tablets (I once asked Primaforce why their capsules were only 2.5 mg and they told me it was the highest dosage per capsule allowed by law).
You could take it with caffeine, which has it’s own lipolytic (fat-burning) properties. I usually just take it with a cup of coffee.
I would not recommend yohimbe (the herbal form). Herbal forms are just less reliable and you won’t get the desired precision in dosing. I would also not recommend topical solutions–I sincerely doubt these are effective.
More on Timing:
Yohimbine’s effects kick in about an hour after you take it, so you’d want to use this to your advantage in terms of timing it with your training.
Here’s something else to keep in mind: insulin competes for the same before-mentioned receptor sites. It is necessary, therefore, to take Yohimbine in a state where blood sugar is low–otherwise you are wasting the dose. You could take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (a fasted state is the best option), several hours after your last meal, or while practicing lowcarb/ketogenic dieting.2
Another option would be to take it at the start of a weight training session (assuming you are not taking in some kind of glucose or amino acids while you train–either one would likely cause enough insulin release to interfere with Yohimbine). You could take it this way then follow up your lifting with some steady state cardio (to burn the fat you have oxidized).
I usually take this supplement before fasted training, then I wait an hour or so after training to eat. The idea is to allow the mobilized fatty acids to be used instead of being redistributed back to the fat cells. Check out the the book I recommend at the end of this article to learn the most effective way to train for targeting stubborn fat.
Yohimbine and Ephedrine
I would not recommend taking yohimbine hcl at the same time you take the eca stack. The eca stack stimulates beta-receptor sites, while yohimbine suppresses alpha-2-receptor sites. The problem is your heart also has both of these types of receptor sites, so taking supplements at the same time could negatively affect your heart rate and blood pressure. This is the main reason I don’t recommend using supplements that contain both ephedra and yohimbe.
For those wanting to use both in the same day I’d recommend waiting four hours after using yohimbine before taking your first dose of the eca stack.
You may want to try half the before-mentioned dosage first to see how well you tolerate this supplement.
I’ve been asked about water retention when using this supplement. It seems many users experience this, which may temporarily masks the fat loss. Just keep in mind the water retention is temporary and should go away within a few stays of discontinuing the supplement.
Here’s a final reminder: fat loss only happens when there is a negative calorie balance. Using this supplement is a waste of time unless you are implementing a well-designed diet and exercise program–otherwise the mobilized fatty acids will simply be re-deposited (possibly right back into the problem areas).
I’d highly recommend you check out Lyle McDonald’s Stubborn Fat Solution if you want a more thorough explanation of what I’ve written about here. His book goes into a lot more detail and includes an exercise protocol to “attack” stubborn fat.
1. Res Sports Med. 2006 Oct-Dec;14(4):289-99. Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players.
2. Med Hypotheses. 2002 Jun;58(6):491-5. Pre-exercise administration of yohimbine may enhance the efficacy of exercise training as a fat loss strategy by boosting lipolysis.