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Understanding The Fundamentals Of Fat Loss

When it comes to losing weight and unwanted body fat there’s a big misconception that results come solely from exercise and diet. These are certainly two very important pieces of the puzzle but not the only factors.

There are hidden obstacles with weight loss that can prevent the body from taping into energy reserves. See my series of articles on that subject for more information.

In today’s post I want to break down fat loss for you in the most simplistic way I knew how so you could understand what happens in your body. This will be short and sweet but hopefully it helps give you a better grasp of how fat loss works.

Fat loss is a hormonal based system first and foremost (dictated by what you eat and the exercise response). You need hormones to “tell” the fat cells to “release” stored fats into the blood stream. When they are released, they can either be transported to a muscle to be “oxidized” (burned up), or even sent right back into the fat cell if the body does not need it.

Higher intensity exercise increases fat “releasing” hormones (for up to 24-48 hours) such as nor-adrenaline and growth hormone pulses, while additional daily lower intensity activity burns the fat as fuel. The process requires your muscles and oxygen to burn fat as energy. Google the “Krebs Cycle” if you want to be really nerdy like me and see how all this works.

The point is fat is released by hormonal responses and burned for fuel when the conditions are right. If they’re not, you can send fat right back to the cells to be stored again. Fat doesn’t get zapped, melted, or somehow magically removed like some infomercials would have you believe.

When you add in a lower calorie environment (calorie deficit) that can sustain higher intensity workouts 3 x a week and other lower intensity aerobic activity, you will access and release stored fat for energy.

The key here is that the caloric deficits must be short-term as prolonged restrictive states will only trigger a primal famine response which triggers metabolic slowdown. This causes fat loss to come to a halt as the body goes into self-preservation mode.

The secret is doing brief periods of restriction (anywhere from 1-5 days) followed by brief periods of re-feeding to boost the metabolism back up. Combine that strategy with burst training to drive the hormonal responses along with low-intensity aerobic exercise and you’ll have the combination you’re looking for.

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As a side note, I’ve also found that female clients better respond to additional lower intensity activity (especially after a brief high intensity burst training workout). While I can’t exactly put my finger on it as to the reason why I suspect it has something to do with the lower amount of muscle mass (compared to men), energy expenditure and rate of oxidation of fat for energy.

This is why for women I recommend doing low-intensity cardio both before and after burst training workouts. Anywhere between 15-20 minutes on both sides is enough to see results. You don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill or doing some other cardio machine when you sandwich low-intensity aerobic exercise around burst training.

If you would like to learn more how burst training can help you lose weight and see a body transformation sign up for a free, no-obligations consultation and trial of my Charleston personal training programs.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios.

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Category: Fat Loss.