Everyone seems to think that low intensity exercise is the best way to ‘burn fat’. Low intensity exercise is anything that keeps your heart rate fairly low, or the well known ‘fat burning zone’.
Examples such as jogging.
Burning fat is a little more complex...
In scientific terms the meaning of burning fat is to ‘oxidise’, basically meaning you must combine fuel (fat) with oxygen. This then produces energy (scientific term ATP – adenosine triphosphate).
**STEP 1 – FAT MOBILISATION**
The first step in burning fat is to first get the fat out of the cell, also known as MOBILISATION.
The most efficient way to mobilise fat is to increase the group of hormones called ‘catecholamines’, basically increase your adrenaline and dopamine. Also known as the fight or flight hormones. By activating these hormones you are literally switching on fat cell mobilisation.
How do I produce the flight or fight hormones?
1) Try caffiene pre workout, whether this be a green tea or a black coffee.
2) Use heavy weights (early in your workout) that you can use with safety and the correct form.
3) Compound lifts (squats, press, pull, lift, drag, push, pull) are the best as they use multiple muscles at once. Going heavy with bicep curls will not do the job.
**Do you know what hormone literally BLUNTS fat cell mobilisation?
Insulin, the hormone which is released when blood sugar levels are raised above normal. So drinking a fizzy drink (redbull/ lucozade) pre workout, when your aim is to burn fat is backwards. You are literally using the sugar from the drink instead of sugar from within your body, you then also shut off fat mobilisation.
**STEP 2 – BLOOD FLOW AND TRANSPORTATION**
You have now mobilised the fat cell, the next step is to deliver it to cells so that you can produce energy.
**What does fat flow in? The blood
**What do we need to increase to deliver more energy? Blood flow
Going from a heavy lift into at least double the reps is optimal for blood flow.
For example; 8 reps heavy squat into 24 walking lunge – 1 minute rest x 5 sets.
**What happens if you don’t increase blood flow? Then you will possibly restore the fat cells to where the blood flow is strongest.
**Where does blood flow to the most? Your organs and in females, the reproductive system.
**Where are your organs and reproductive system? Stomach, hips, butt, thighs.
**STEP 3 – UPTAKE AND UTILISATION**
If blood flow is good then you will deliver the fat to your mitochondria, it will then be used up by the mitochondria to produce ATP (energy). Mitochondria are basically energy factories within cells, you deliver fuel to the mitochondria then you will create energy.
Fuel is transported into mitochondria via an enyzyme called Carnitine Palmityl Transferas (CPT). This is why carntine supplementation is classed as a fat burner because it increases uptake and utilisation within the mitochondria.
The energy stored in liver and muscle cells is called glycogen. When glycogen stores are high CPT levels are low. Meaning the higher your stores of glycogen the less fat you will mobilise, and uptake.
The more glycogen you deplete the more fat you will burn.
**How do you deplete glycogen? Well first you must do anaerobic exercise.
**What is anaerobic exercise? Exercise which doesn’t use oxygen, basically anything which uses full force. You don’t have to go as heavy as possible but you need to do some sort of training which really challenges your muscle tissue.
Once glycogen levels are lower you will then start to uptake more fat for energy.
Lift heavy challenging weights and combine this with some repetitive conditioning work. Simple.
There is no harm in doing a jog now and again but if you are trying to lose body weight/ fat then you are going to be really frustrated with the lack of progression. Trust me.
If you love being outside (which I do) then go for a couple hour hike which is full of hills and steps which will then challenge your anaerobic and aerobic energy system.