- June 7, 2019
- Comments Off on What Is Fat Burning and How Does it Relate to Weight Loss
It is important to understand what fat burning is if you want to lose weight and keep it off. You probably know that to lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you use each day. You can do this by either taking in fewer calories or burning off more calories; that is, less food or more exercise (or both).
The body burns calories from both carbohydrates (as glucose) and fat and burns them together in differing ratios. Typically the body starts out burning more carbs, and then transitions to burning a higher percentage of fat after about 15 minutes of exercise. That’s fat burning.
It is also important to understand that you can lose weight, burn body fat, and still be flabbier than you want to be. That’s because you cannot burn body fat just in the places you want to. If you want to rid yourself of a potbelly, for example, you have to reduce your overall body fat…top to bottom.
Plus, it takes time to see the outward results from fat burning. It may take a few months of regular exercise and healthy eating to see a change. Be realistic, however, because most people will never be as slim and trim as they were when they were younger. Also, because our metabolism slows as we age, we don’t burn fat as quickly or efficiently as we used to.
What is a Fat Burning Cardio Workout?
A good cardio (aerobic) workout is key to burning fat. Whatever you are doing now for cardiovascular exercise, do more. If you bicycle for half an hour two times a week, go for 45 minutes and do it three times a week. Or, you might increase the intensity of your biking by going faster or taking more hills.
Brisk walking, running, swimming, and bicycling are excellent cardiovascular exercises. Running may be the best for reducing belly fat, swimming provides a full body exercise, bicycling is fun, and walking is the exercise most people can do. It’s a fact that the best exercise for burning fat is the exercise you will actually do! Running may burn more calories than walking, but if you don’t run on a regular basis it won’t burn any calories.
Experts often recommend interval training for an aerobic workout. Interval training involves alternating intense activity with lighter activity. You can do it in a gym, or you can make your own interval training routine by, for example, running, then walking, then running, etc., each for five minutes at a time.
Strength training is another part of a fat burning program. Weight training improves health, performance, and muscle mass—all of which enables you to exercise more because the more muscle you have the more fat you can burn. Unlike cardio workouts, strength training does not have a direct effect on fat burning, but it still plays an important role in the overall metabolic process.
To begin with, half an hour three times a week works well. Once you have achieved your fat loss goal, you can do maintenance strength training and toning with twice weekly workouts.
If you are new to strength training it is a good idea to work with a professional trainer to design a program that fits your needs and your body. In terms of taming flab and toning the body, the type and intensity of training does make a difference. You can do specific exercises to trim body fat from specific parts of your body, your inner thighs, for example, or your upper arms, or your belly. However, you also need to work all your major muscle groups, head to toe.
Women and men have different strength training needs for fat burning and weight loss. Twelve to fifty repetitions per exercise is ideal for women, aiming toward a higher number of reps rather than increasing weight. Men, on the other hand, benefit more from fewer reps—say eight to twelve–with regular increases in weight.
Foods for Fat Burning
While certain foods may speed up the metabolism, thus increase the burning of fat, the real key to losing fat is losing weight with a healthy, well balanced diet. You can’t stock up on chili peppers, which increase fat burning slightly, and then eat whatever you want the rest of the day and expect to lose weight and fat.
A fat burning diet is the diet you hear touted over and over again: lean protein, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and eight glasses of water a day. Many nutrition experts have found that eating more, smaller meals a day is a better weight and fat loss strategy than eating fewer, larger meals. Eating more slowly also seems to favor weight loss.
The first step in any weight loss program is a discussion with your medical provider, especially if you are obese or have chronic medical concerns. A medical provider can evaluate diet and exercise in light of your particular health situation. He or she may refer you to an exercise physiologist or professional trainer and/or to a certified dietician. The exercise physiologist or trainer can work with you to design the right workout program for you, considering your body type, weight and fat loss goals, and lifestyle. A dietician can assist you in making a realistic food plan to help you shed fat and weight. Many dieticians, physiologists, and trainers will work with you as you work your program, monitoring your progress and suggestion changes as needed.