How do we actually lose fat?Here's a very simple, (dumbed down) explanation of what actually goes on to create a fat loss effect.
What do we mean by fat burning?
The key concept that trainers and physiologists have shoved down our throat for years is that it's all about calories in vs calories out. This is true “ for weight loss - but it's not the whole truth for fat loss “ there are a number of protective mechanisms that the body has in place, called rate limiting steps to prevent fat being lost.
On a very basic level - Fat burning is essentially a two step process.
The first step is mobilization. How do we get actually fat out of the fat cells so that we can subsequently use it as a fuel source?
Fat mobilization is governed essentially by levels of a hormone known as hormone sensitive lipase or HSL (you can forget the name as there wont be a test). Its an oversimplification but basically the higher the HSL levels, the higher the fat mobilization.
How do we get higher HSL? Increase catecholamine levels (specifically adrenaline).
How do we do that? Exercise. Particularly high intensity exercise.
But HSL is also limited by insulin. High insulin levels = low HSL levels = low fat mobilization.
So a great strategy for part one is low insulin levels (from diet and training), plus high catecholamines (through intense training).
Part two of the process is transport and oxidation.
If HSL levels are high - fat cells break down into free fatty acids (FFA) which circulate in the blood and eventually end up in a muscle (which needs energy) where they can be burned off in the mitochondria (this is the powerhouse of the cell that your high school biology teacher kept going on about).
But theres another rate limiting step here. Transporting the FFA into the mitochondria where it can be burned off. That transport is controlled by carnitine levels.
If carnitine levels are high - fat transport is high.
Think of carnitine like passport control officials.
If you get off a plane with 500 other passengers and there is one official at passport control - it
will take a long time to get through. If there are 500 officials - then you go through quickly and can leave the airport. (Leaving the airport is the equivalent of fat being burned off). The more officials (carnitine) the easier the process.
So how do we ramp up carnitine levels? Well - again we have a rate limiting step. If muscle glycogen is high then carnitine levels are low
So if we reduce muscle glycogen through metabolic work we have the optimal fat oxidation state. Therefore high intensity glycogen depleting exercise is a the tool of choice here.
High levels of fat mobilization + High levels of fat oxidation = Accelerated fat loss.
So if you figure out how to integrate all those steps, and circumvent each rate limiting step - you'll find that fat loss is simple..
by Alwyn Cosgrove
About the Author:
Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete 28 day diet and training system crafted to help you lose 10,15, or 20lbs of body fat in just 28 day. Alwyn Cosgrove, M.S., C.S.C.S. is a nationally renown fat loss expert whose work has appeared in magazines such as Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Men's Journal, Self, Oxygen, and Muscle & Fitness HERS. His Warp Speed Fat Loss system is a complete Done-for-You A-Z Fat Loss Blueprint that gives you exactly everything you need to eat and exactly what to do for exercise to lose weight in record time.
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