Nutrition discussions appear to be at the crossroads for both fat and weight loss. There’s nothing in more demand than finding ways to burn fat. Needless to say, I’ll provide you with fat loss strategies to help you fight the frustration of trying to shred excess body fat.
Let me start by simply explaining to you the mechanism of how our body produces energy. The human body’s preferred fuel source is carbohydrates, as it is a quick and easy way to produce energy (otherwise known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP). Once digested, carbohydrates transform into glucose (or sugar), which can be used for energy or stored in the muscle and/or liver (as glycogen) for later use.
Fat, on the other hand, is stored in the form of triglycerides. In order to use triglycerides for energy, the body must break them down into fatty acids, which can then be used in the energy-processing system. This process takes more time than carbohydrate metabolism (burning), hence why our body likes to use carbohydrates for energy. It’s human nature…we’re lazy like that!
When dealing with clients, I love to use the analogy of an automobile to help them understand the mechanism of energy production.
An automobile needs gas to move efficiently. Actually, it won’t be able to function without gas. This makes an automobile a gas-burning machine.
In the perspective of the human body, so long as we are consuming carbohydrates, our body will continue to burn carbohydrates for energy – leaving fat almost untouched.
So, one may ask, how do I become a fat burning machine? The answer is simple: eat more fat and less carbohydrates! This is the first strategy. By consuming healthy fats and lessening the amount of carbohydrates you consume, overtime, your body will adapt to burn fat for energy due to the lower carbohydrate availability.
It doesn’t stop here, though.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘fasted-state’ training – or training on an empty stomach. Basically, this entails engaging in physical activity prior to consuming breakfast. It’s a strategy I use quite often and the results are astonishingly great!
As you won’t be consuming any food (especially carbohydrates) prior to exercising, this approach allows your body to use stored fat for energy. An even better way to ensure your body utilizes fat for energy during this workout is to lessen your consumption of carbohydrates, if not completely avoid it, the night before.
Two factors you need to consider to further metabolize fat for energy are the duration and intensity of your workout.
Starting with duration, the longer you exercise, the more the body will burn fat for energy. This is because of the decreased reliance on carbohydrates with increasing exercise duration.
In terms of intensity, looking at it from a biochemistry point of view, performing exercise with low to moderate intensity will provide the body with more time to switch on enzymes responsible for lipolysis (fat burn). This is opposed to exercising at a high intensity, whereby the body needs a quick surge of energy to sustain the exercise bout, explaining why carbohydrates are predominantly metabolized during high-intensity workouts (as I described above, carbohydrates provide a rapid supply of energy unlike fats). With time, training at a low to moderate intensity, especially when performed in a fasted state, will adapt the body to activate such enzymes and burn fat more efficiently.
Laying it flat out for you, if you want to burn fat, eat MORE fat and LESS carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled by those who say eating fat will make you fat. It’s a myth. Provided you choose the right fats to eat, and train in such a way to adapt your body to be efficient in using fat for fuel, then you’ll be a fat burning machine you’ve always desired to be!