Best Way to Burn Fat
By: Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
What is the best way to burn fat? Ah, the holy grail of questions. For years, people and scientists have debated and researched what works best and now I'm going share the amazing findings with you. Are you ready?
Eat less, move more, and spend more time strength training than doing cardio!
Pretty simple isn't it. I bet you were expecting some elaborate explanation. But the reality is that burning fat is fairly straight forward. But let's dig into this topic a little bit deeper.
For years, studies have shown that regular exercise has a positive effect on regulating your appetite to maintain a healthy body weight. Essentially, the more you exercise the less likely you are to overeat. But exercise has also been shown to have an independent effect on the composition of this weight. This has been demonstrated in both animal and human studies.
What We Can Learn From Rats
For instance, male rats that "workout" regularly have lower body weights and less body fat compared to their sedentary counterparts. Interestingly enough, female rats tend to eat more as a result of exercise, meaning that their weight is about the same as sedentary rats, yet they far less body fat!
Other research has also shown that exercise and/or food restriction in rats results in fewer and smaller fat cells. These findings are supported by a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which showed that in a group of 8-year old girls a diet/exercise program was instrumental in reducing the rate of gain in fat cell number. Bear in mind, that if these girls were adults, these results may not have been encountered since the creation (or deletion) of human fat cells tends to stop at the onset of puberty.
Exercise vs. Diet to Burn Fat
The advantage of using exercise compared to diet alone in weight loss programs is that the composition of the weight that is lost is more fat tissue than lean tissue. That's a biggie! Why on earth would you want to lose muscle anyway? We want to burn fat, therefore, you need to workout and strengthen your muscles. Otherwise, you'll lose them!
Once again, both animal and human studies have shown us that dietary restriction alone can lead to lean body mass losses of between 30-40%. That's scary! You might as well spend a few weeks in space if you want to lose that amount of muscle mass.
Instead, exercise plus dietary restriction results in less lean body mass loss and more fat loss. Additionally, the preferential utilization of fat from visceral fat tissue results in an improved body fat distribution and thus risk factor profile for diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
But it should be remembered that changes in lean body mass can take time. An older review of the literature published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise revealed that the average decrease in percent body fat to be only 1.6% with fitness programs ranging in duration from 6 to 104. However, I can tell you first hand that I've far more significant fat loss results in as little as 6 weeks in people using the Fitter U weight loss workouts.
So in conclusion, the best way to burn fat is what I said at the beginning of this article. Most people never burn fat for good because are simply too lazy to workout on a consistent basis. Don't fall into the lazy trap. Exercise (in some way) every single day and eat a healthy whole foods diet and you'll be fine.
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Hager, A. et al (1978). Adipose tissue cellularity in obese school girls before and after dietary treatment. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 31: 68-75.
Oscai, L. (1973). The role of exercise in weight control. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, vol 1. ed. J. H. Widmore, 103-120. New York: Academic Press.
Wilmore, J. (1983). Body composition in sport and exercise. Directions for future research. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 15: 21-31.
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