Now that I know to drink LESS water than I was previously doing, I wanted to know how my body actually burns fat, so that I can go and do it!! I don’t want to spend hours in the gym if there is something better I can be doing to burn my fat faster!
So, how DOES the body burn fat?!
First up, here is fantastic resource to convert all your weights into kilograms, stones, and pounds. You can convert anything into anything else. Really useful so we are all on the same page:
>> Weight Loss Converter <<
My weight right now is 64kg. This is 141.1 pounds, or 10st 1 lb.
My goal weight is 55kg,. This is 121.3 pounds, or 8 st 9 lb.
It All Starts With Metabolism
If you are reading this then I bet you have heard the word metabolism before. I understand it to mean the speed and efficiency that the body processes what food and drink we intake.
I have always thought and been told that I have a “high metabolism” because I have been able to eat and drink what I wanted and never put on any weight. Hit 30 years old – BOOM – not the case any more!! Hahaha!
So was I just lucky? Or was it my lifestyle that made this happen?! How can I recreate this now?!
Let’s look at this a bit more closely:
Our intestines break all the food that we eat down into their component parts.
Our body breaks down fats to become fatty acids, proteins to become amino acids, and carbohydrates to become glucose – sugar. All 3 of these are essential to a healthy body.
The fatty acids and amino acids are used by our body to build tissue and support the nervous system. Glucose – sugar, obtained when the body breaks down carbohydrates, is used for fuel.
When the body has broken down carbohydrates, insulin is released which puts the resulting sugar into the cells.
Inside the cells, little factories called mitochondria convert that sugar into a substance called ATP. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. It stores energy temporarily in the chemical bonds within its’ molecule, until another bond causes this energy to be released, which is how we function efficiently.
A good analogy would be a battery that is getting charged, and then once it IS charged, a spark of energy is set off that is then used to do work in or by the body.
How We Use Energy Day To Day
Just being alive burns calories and energy – and there are 3 different ways that our body uses energy. Every single person will have different needs here as we all lead very different lifestyles, so it is VERY important to consider your OWN situation here.
Normal daily functions of the body such as breathing and circulating blood requires energy - and this is called the basal metabolic rate. The body also needs and uses energy to process food, which requires about 10% of our daily energy needs
The final – and critical one – is how much energy the body uses through our physical activity. This changes from day to day and even from minute to minute. This is the one that WE are in control of so read on…
Obviously, if we eat MORE food and therefore create MORE energy than is needed by the basic body functions and food processing, and our physical needs, then we will put on fat. If we use less, we will lose fat, which is the aim here!
How We Burn Fat
Our body needs energy 24 hours a day, and no matter what else – we need to make sure that our energy supply does NOT fall below the basal metabolic rate – the minimum energy required for body functions and processing food.
If we do not consume enough fuel – food and drink – then our body will break down our existing store of fat to make up the difference. Which is precisely what I need to get my body to do.
What actually happens here is that the body will break down some fat to become fatty acids and glycerol – this is then absorbed by the kidneys, liver and muscles, and the mitochondria converts this into ATP which gives us the energy to perform the physical activity.
So – the best way to do this is for me to INCREASE physical activity, and DECREASE the amount of energy I consume. Obvious, right – but good to get the science behind it as you will see very soon!
It is also apparently possible to slightly change my basal metabolic rate (BMR). If I can replace some fat with muscle, then muscle (lean body mass) has constant energy demands, so my resting energy consumption will be greater. And therefore, my metabolism will be faster too, I presume.
So I now have some more questions:
What is the best exercise to do?
Should I do cardio for long steady periods, or short intense intervals? And how long, in either case?
Should I do strength based exercises such as press ups, own body weight exercises, free weights, weight machines?
How many times a week should I do exercise?
Should I always do the same exercise or vary it up a bit each time?
Does the body burn the most fat when it is surprised by sudden exercise – rather than the same routine every day or every other day?
Does yoga help with this at all?