Victor Martinez talks with the GI crew about the evolution of fat burners… and the very serious health dangers behind DNP.

It’s not uncommon for bodybuilders and many other pro athletes to use a wide variety of supplements in order to obtain elite excellence. Fat burners to aid in fat loss in one such substance. Beyond athletics – the average individual also desires a quick and easy solution to lose weight. This has led to a massive influx of fat burner supplements in the sports nutrition market. Unfortunately, fat burns have had a bumpy history full of addiction and serious health risks. One of the most extreme examples of this is DNP, scientifically known as 2,4-Dinitrophenol. In our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez warns of the very severe health risks behind using DNP for weight loss – even for very healthy and young individuals.

According to recent studies, Americans are more overweight than any other time in the country’s history. This isn’t exclusive to America – but a sort of “epidemic” raising alarms across the world. Likely due to an influx of snack and processed foods over the last century – weight loss has been a serious challenge for many individuals.

The hard reality is that weight loss is best obtained through a healthy diet and exercise. But with so many conveniences in the world today, maintaining this lifestyle can be challenging. This is especially true for those in economic hardships who rely on cheap processed food to survive. This has created a psychological state for many in the mass public. Any promise of an “easy” way to lose weight is consumed with fervor. Fat burners that promise miracles fly off the shelves.

Victor Martinez, being a pro bodybuilder, understands the lie behind many of these fat burner marketing campaigns. Fat burners can work – but they only help aid in an already healthy diet. They are not magic pills that help you drop weight. Even worse, the most powerful fat burners (often already made illegal) are still in circulation and can cause serious health risks and organ failure.

That’s why Victor Martinez and the GI team spend time breaking down the evolution of fat burners and the reality of how they work and the risks. Let’s jump into it.

RELATED: Check out our guide for the best (and actually effective) fat burners on the market in 2023

What is DNP?

DNP is short for 2,4-Dinitrophenol. It is a drug that is illegal if sold as a wight loss supplement. Despite this, online retailers often sell DNP targeted towards bodybuilders and extreme athletes or dieters. They promise miracle fat loss.

But this substance is illegal for a reason. DNP is very dangerous and can be potentially lethal. This is true for individuals of any age – including young and healthy adults. The drug can cause a rapid increase in both body temperature and metabolic rate which leads to side effects – the most serious of which being organ failure.

How and why is DNP used for weight loss?

Victor and the GI team discuss the history of DNP and how it became known as a powerful fat burner. It was originally used and developed as a chemical in explosives. But in the 1930s, a doctor discovered it also could help aid in weight loss if consumed.

According to a 2011 research study, the substance was sold legally to over 100,000 individuals throughout the course of 1933-1938. It was eventually pulled from the market due to reports of poisoning and deaths after taking the supplement. Eventually, as better standards were put in place for medicine and supplements – it became illegal for consumption.

However, this substance is still legal in other manufactured products – most commonly found in wood preservatives, dyes, and pesticides. Due to being legal to produce – online retailers illegally sell DNP (often with a different name) as a fat burner.

DNP and its use in bodybuilding

Unfortunately, due to bodybuilding being an extreme sport – and one where athletes are familiar with taking calculated risks such as steroids – DNP is occasionally used by competitors. Victor Martinez, having competed for over a decade in the sport, knows anecdotal stories of athletes who have used it.

Despite being used by some, most pro bodybuilders understand how severely dangerous this substance is and avoid it. Which is why Victor Martinez wanted to discuss fat burners and DNP on today’s podcast episode. With the internet making it easier to get misinformation and buy illegal substances – it’s important that young aspiring athletes know to avoid DNP at all costs.

Victor Martinez also makes a point that fat burners in general should not be used consistently. They should be cycled. On top of this, Martinez also believes that it is smart to first focus on a nutrition and weight loss naturally and only use a fat burner supplement towards the later stages of contest prep once you need that little edge.

The future of athlete enhancements – stem cell treatment, DNA altering, and CRISPR

Victor Martinez and the GI team also discuss other ways athletes indulge in optimizing performance and physiques. This goes beyond supplements and into the realm of expensive high profile treatments. Stem cell treatments, once a hot topic in the early 2000s, has become an effective tool for injury recovery in the medical field.

However, it is also still limited depending on your location and the laws in place there. For athletes, it has become a method to help with rejuvenation and muscle recovery… if you can afford it.

This sends Victor Martinez down a rabbit hold discussing the future of expensive medical treatments – including the recent progress in DNA altering with studies into CRISPR.

In laymans terms, CRISPR is a potential way to alter DNA. Theoretical applicable uses can be to change a baby’s eye color or hair color before being born. In the longer term future – it might be used to completely alter and possibly even cure diseases.

With this in mind, Victor Martinez believes that the future of sports will eventually intersect with this research. If a person wants to have a child that might become a famous athlete one day – they might be able to pay massive cash to use CRISPR to select the most ideal genes for best likelihood of athletic success.

It may take time to get there – but it will likely be closer than we all generally assume. It will effect much of the medical world and eventually the mass populace including fitness and sports.

Wrap Up

Victor Martinez and the GI team go into great detail about fat burners, DNP, and stem cell treatments for athletes. They also share some personal stories about experiences with these topics. So it is definitely worth checking out in the latest Generation Iron Podcast episode above. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.