Principles of Fat Loss

Fat loss is a subject that so many people want to know more about.

In article I go over some of the principles of fat loss that I've learnt over the years!

Let's get into the principles of fat loss, starting with Cardio!...

 

Cardio

Losing body fat and getting your physique into optimal shape will most defiantly require some form of aerobic activity. Aerobic activity is the chosen form of cardio for a lot of people with fat loss goals as fat is used as the primary source of fuel during this activity. This is because the body has greater fat stores compared to protein and carbohydrates, which makes it the body’s preference to fuel longer periods of activity.

In the past it has been said that exercising within the 50%-75% max heart rate bracket will burn the most actual fat. Researchers suggest now that aerobic activity that enables you to sustain a heart rate of 75% or more for a sustained period of time will burn more fat overall. As long as the exercise is performed within the aerobic zone (using oxygen), and does not become anaerobic where you will be using carbohydrates for fuel instead of oxygen, the higher the intensity the better. So, low intensity aerobics performed in the 50%-75% MHR bracket will burn actual fat as the fat is used for fuel. High intensity aerobics performed in the 75%-85% MHR bracket will burn more calories overall resulting in fewer calories stored from fat.

There are various ways of calculating your Max Heart Rate, the simplest method is to subtract your age from 220.

 

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How? When? What?

Typical examples of aerobics include walking, cycling and swimming. The optimal timing for cardio with fat loss as a primary goal is first thing in the morning, this is because insulin levels are at their lowest which is prime time for fat loss. It also ensures you’re less likely to use any food you may have eaten beforehand as a primar

y energy source. If your lifestyle does not permit this then the alternative is to do your cardio after a weight training session.

A typical example of myday’s cardio would be 45mins steady on the Stairmaster, or incline walking for 45mins on treadmill. The times may vary depending on my current goals.

 

HIIT

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is another effective way to burn body fat. HIIT is hard, it even sounds hard, but it takes a lot less time to complete and has other benefits low intensity training doesn’t.

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Frequent low intensity aerobics will cause you to burn fat, but over time the body will adapt and will actually try to conserve calories. You can overcome this by incorporating HIIT, as the intensity is varied the body cannot adapt.

HIIT is perfect for increasing your metabolic rate and increasing insulin sensitivity, which both play a massive part in fat loss.

 

Weight Training

Weight training is imperative for fat loss for many reasons. The total number of calories burned during a weight training session will be more than any cardio session done for the same amount of time. Heavy/high intensity resistance training will keep your metabolic rate heightened for an extended period of time. You must weight train to retain muscle mass, the last thing you want is to waste away to a shadow of your former self from doing lots of cardio and being in a caloric deficit. Heavy weight training will not only keep your strong but make sure you hold onto that hard earned lean body mass.

When dieting for fat loss the most common mistake people make is trying to turn their weight training sessions into fat burning sessions. They adopt high / rep light weight style training thinking it will burn more calories. The only thing this will achieve is a massive loss in strength. You must incorporate strength training into your workouts to keep your muscles looking full and dense, keep rest periods to a minimum and the intensity high. Sessions shouldn’t last and longer than 45mins, training longer than this whilst in a caloric deficit can be detrimental to your goals.

 

Diet

It is of upmost importance to diet as slow as possible, so if you are dieting for an occasion, competition a holiday or whatever it may be you need to give yourself as much time as possible. The longer you diet and less drastic the calorie restriction will determine how much lean body mass you hold onto while dieting. Aim to lose around 1 to 1.5lbs of body weight a week to ensure you keep those gains. Obviously everyone is different so take into consideration your body type, if you are naturally an ectomorph and have an easy time losing weight then you will be able to diet for a lesser period of time than a person who is an endomorph and has a hard time losing weight.

 

Protein

Protein is the key micronutrient we need when dieting and want to retain muscle. The protein we eat is broken down into amino acids during digestion. These amino acids are released into the bloodstream where they are taken up by the muscle cells. Having a constant supply of amino acids to allows protein synthesis to occur, this is the process that allows us to retain or gain muscle. Regular protein intake every 2-3hrs also has a thermogenic effect on the body, which is very advantageous to us while were trying to lose body fat.

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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, like protein, can also be very muscle sparing if controlled in the right way. A ketogentic diet is a very effective way of losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time, however, a lot of that weight will be hard earned muscle tissue. Given that you have gave yourself ample time to diet like previously mentioned, you should not need to completely drop out carbs. You can reduce your carb intake but keep them high enough to ensure you utilize their muscle sparing properties. Carbohydrates are also useful because they produce insulin release, yes when insulin levels are low fat burning is optimized, but its insulin’s anabolic/anti-catabolic affects that are most useful to us. As a further muscle sparing tool, insulin also prevents the release of cortisol, which is one of the body most catabolic hormones.

As we know, the body stored carbs in the muscle cell as glycogen. For every gram of glycogen the body stores 2.7g of water. As you can see, this indicated that the greater the glycogen levels the greater cell volume. When the cells are of large volume protein synthesis will be increased and the body will produce greater amounts of fat burning and anabolic hormones. When cells are depleted the opposite will take place and protein synthes

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is will decrease.

 

Fats

Fat intake while dieting is quite a controversial topic and there is no definitive answer is to what kind of fat intake is optimal, again it has a lot to do with body type, length of diet and how much weight you need to lose. Fats are good for testosterone production which is key when trying to preserve muscle. However, fats are very calorie dense so they leave less space in your diet for protein and carbs. They are also very easily stored as body fat, so you must find some sort of compromise between ingesting enough for hormone maintenance and dropping them enough to reduce body fat.

 

Supplements

First of all it needs to be stated that there is no magic pill you can take to burn away fat. Fat loss comes from being consistent with a structured training and nutrition plan. Having said that, if the previously mentioned is all in order, there are some very good entirely legal supplements on the market that contain ingredients with extensive research to prove they will help your body burn fat more efficiently. A fat loss supplement could be all you need to take your physique from shredded to looking like you’re wearing your skin inside out.

Fat loss supplements are commonly known as thermogenics. The term thermogenic comes from its ability to raise the body’s temperature through metabolic rate, in turn burning more calories. A good thermogenic can keep you in a calorie deficient state which is imperative for fat burning.

There are very affective stimulant free fat burners available, however, if you are hitting cardio first thing on a morning a stimulant can be a very effective tool to get you woken up, focused and In the zone to nail your session. The stimulant will normally be in the form of caffeine. Caffeine is the main ingredient in most fat burners as it yield’s the most benefit. Increasing calories burned, reducing fatigue, increasing muscle strength and suppressing hunger being just a few. Other good thermogenics could come in the form of green tea extract, Capsaicin and Synephrine.

Another function you want your pill of power to have is to aid lipolysis, this basically means it aids in releasing fat from the body’s fat cells. By removing the fat from the fat cells, it can be burned as fuel causing the fat cells to shrink. Caffeine again is very good at this along with, yohimbine, CLA and forskolin. Once the fat is freed up it we need to burn it off, this is where another supplement called carnitine comes in. Carnitine helps to transport the freed-up fat into the mitochondria of cells, such as muscle cells. The mitochondria are basically microscopic furnaces that burn up fat as fuel. Choosing a supplement that combines these ingredients or supplementing each one individually with a tailored exercise and nutrition plan will definitely have you well on your way to achieving the aesthetic look you’re striving for.

 

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About the Author

Since the age of 7 when I first stepped foot on a rugby pitch, sport and fitness has been a major part of my life. I went on to play a decent standard of ruby which entailed a lot of different styles of training, on and off the pitch. The importance of fitness was further distilled in me when I joined the Army at the age of 16. The Army’s way of physically training it’s soldiers is very different from civilian PT, you are taught to dig deep and find the courage to never give up no matter how hard the exercise, and you must be seen to be giving 100% effort at all times. I loved the Army’s mentality towards training so I became an Army Physical Training Instructor (PTI). I was fortunate enough to be posted into the gym and my main focus was on preparing soldier’s physically for over sea’s operations. I have lifted weights now for around 8 years, I would say I have been seriously bodybuilding for maybe 2 years. When I left the army and started training at Maxxmuscle gym, home of IFBB Pro Anth Bailes, is when I started bodybuilding. Just talking to the guy makes you want to get on stage and he is defiantly a great ambassador for the sport. The army has always taught me that, to progress you need to have short and long term goals, discipline, and a passion for something. My passion is now the health, fitness and anything associated with them. I love training every single day, I love keeping track of my nutrition every single day, and I love helping people out with less knowledge than myself because I was once in their shoes. After competing in 2014 I became part of the monster supplements team. I consider this a massive privilege to have their backing during my 2015 offseason and further competitions to come.
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