|Healthy Over 50|
|Your Health Profile|
|Body Mass Index|
|Body Fat Calc.|
|Herbs and Spices|
|News & Views|
|Topics by Index|
|Sites of Interest|
|Tell Your Story|
Learn How to Burn Fat
To learn how to burn fat for a healthy body entails knowing a little bit about how your body works. Anything can be complicated if you don't understand it. But once the concept or principle of fat burning is understood, it becomes simple.
Like an automobile, the human body needs a source of fuel for all of its operations. It takes energy to keep your heart beating and power other autonomous functions, to open and close your eyelids, and to move your various limbs.
This source of fuel is known as glucose. Glucose or blood sugar supplies all of your body's energy. Carbohydrates in your diet supplies the glucose. Fruit, vegetables, and various grains are broken down when eaten and converted into glucose.
Carbohydrates yield four calories when digested. A 'calorie' is a unit of heat energy. Specifically it is defined as: the amount of heat energy required to raise one gram of water one degree celsius (formerly known as centigrade.)
In order to burn fat you have to burn calories. You have to burn 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat. I stated above that your body uses glucose to power it. But it also has another source of energy--fat.
But--and here's the caveat--your body's preferred energy source is carbohydrates or glucose. Fat is its secondary source. The body will preferentially hold onto its fat stores. This is the reason that low-calorie diets don't work. Your body views them as 'starvation' diets.
Whenever the body senses that it's not getting enough calories to sustain itself it will compensate by slowing down its metabolism. A slow metabolism hoards fat. Your body will not be denied. It will get its calorie requirements one way or another.
People gain weight because they consume calories above and beyond what they burn. Say for instance that you require 2,500 calories just to maintain your body weight. But you eat 3,000 calories and are sedentary. Those extra 500 calories are being stored in fat cells.
Glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver. Since it is the body's preferred energy choice, we must find some way of depleting it so that we can get the body to burn fat. Weight loss requires a combination of exercise and calorie reduction.
Calorie reduction will come in the form of cutting back on your caloric intake. And although you want to lose weight, you want to lose fat only. You want to spare lean body mass (muscle.)
While on a weight loss diet, get at least 30% of your calories from protein. Read more about it here. By keeping your protein intake high, you will minimize muscle loss. The body burns more calories digesting protein than it does carbohydrates. For every 100 calories of protein consumed, your body burns 10 calories digesting it; for every 100 calories of carbohydrates eaten, it burns only 4 calories.
What you will be reducing are carbohydrate and fat portion sizes. Specifically, eliminating or drastically reducing refined carbs such as white rice, bread, pastries, ice cream, etc. You will also need to remove all sources of trans fats from your diet. And since saturated fat isn't the big bad wolf as seemingly everyone portrays it to be, you need to keep some in your diet.
Your body needs fat to survive. The saturated fat in organic meats and eggs is good for you. I emphasize organic because non-organic and non-free ranged meats contain much more saturated fat than does organic, free ranged. Your body also needs omega-3 fatty acids.
The second way to burn fat is through exercise. Your exercise program should consist of two phases--aerobics and weights. Aerobics means 'with oxygen' which means that oxygen is used in the process. Weight lifting is anaerobic which means that it is without oxygen.
When losing weight through aerobics and weight lifting, the order in which you do the two is crucial. Since the body's preferred energy source is carbohydrates, i.e. glucose, you want to target that first. Weight lifting will accomplish that.
Your body will use its glycogen (the form of glucose stored in your muscles and liver) to power the muscles. Most of the glycogen is stored in the liver. Lift weights before doing aerobics. Your weight lifting session will deplete your glycogen stores. When it comes time to do your cardio (aerobics), your body will tap its fat stores for energy. Fat can only be burned in the presence of oxygen.
I should mention that the body's fat-burning process isn't as clear-cut as I made it seem to be. In reality there is some overlap when the body switches fuel sources. When lifting weights there will be a period when you will burn carbohydrates in the form of glycogen and fat. The same happens when performing aerobics.
Generally speaking however, aerobics is a low intensity exercise which will burn fat over a period of time. Weight lifting is high intensity carried over a short time period.
A superior way to burn fat is to combine cardio (aerobics) with high intensity exercise. Interval training will accomplish this. If you're on a treadmill for instance, walk at a moderate pace for a minute or so and then sprint for another minute or so. Your body will not only tap into its fat reserves, but continue burning calories after the exercise.
This is the effect that you want. It beats doing cardio alone by a country mile. Weight lifting has this effect on the body too. Your body will be on after-burn for hours after you've finished exercising.
Walking is a popular form of exercise. It can be done by the young as well as the elderly. Interval training can be incorporated into a walking program. After your body gets acclimated to walking, you can push the intensity by alternating speed walking with using a moderate pace.
Healthy living > Burn fat