In this second part of our Get fit for summer series, we learn how to burn fat faster. Last month, we worked on retraining the reward feedback system by eating real food, exercising on an empty stomach and getting plenty of rest. If you missed out in April, read this post to catch up.
Let’s move on to the next stage and work on burning up layers of fat.
What are we trying to do?
We want to kick-start the beta-oxidation process into action, which means burning up fat to produce Energy.
Like the idea? We thought you would. But how do we do it? First, we need to break down the fat and move it into the blood-stream. Then it will be taken to the cells and be burnt off as energy, so we’ll end up with less fat and more muscle. Great!
A word of caution – muscle weighs more than fat, so by reducing the body’s ratio of fat to muscle our weight may actually go up. If this happens, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean things aren’t going well and there’s nothing wrong with your health. Just remember it’s body fat percentage, not weight, that matters to us at the moment.
So how to burn fat faster?
- Cut back on carbs, especially starches (rice or buckwheat) and root veg (potato, sweet potato, cassava). You could also cut down your fruit intake to 2 or 3 pieces a day, ideally in a meal following a workout.
- Recharge now and again. Remember, our ancestors had times of famine as well as times of plenty – so losing fat could signal a danger and the body evolved its own warning system. As our fat levels start to drop, a hormone warns the brain that fat reserves are dwindling; so the brain sends out hunger signals and activates energy saving mechanisms. In other words, we go into famine mode; the body starts to save energy by breaking fat down more slowly. This affects different people in different ways, but if you start feeling tired or losing energy, take a day off from the diet: think of it as a ‘recharge’ day (about every 10 days or so).
- Regulating body heat uses up energy and the blood has to get to the fat before it can burn up. So try saunas, alternating with cold showers, to stimulate the body’s heat production and improve blood circulation. You could also try adding something spicy to your food, such as cayenne, black pepper or ginger.
- Work out more – If you’ve been doing 2 days, go up to 3, if you’ve done 3, go up to 4 and so on.
- Prioritize strength workouts and HIITs (Here’s a list of the 10 best functional exercises).