Seven Fat Burning Exercises Facts
Fat burning exercises are only a part of a fat loss program usually focused on how to burn abdominal fat. The way these exercises are performed could make them either useless or incredigbly effective.
So let’s get to some of the facts to help you get more out of your workouts.
Glycogen – Your Muscle Fuel
Fact one – Your body uses carbohydrate, protein and fat as fuel all the time and simultaneously.
Only the ratio changes based on how accessible any of these fuel sources are within the body as well as the exercise intensity, and duration.
However, glycogen, a store of carbohydrates is your muscles primary energy source. It is not fat or protein that your muscles need to contract.
Fact two – Your muscles have access to various metabolic pathways to convert fat, carbohydrates and even protein to energy.
These pathways are catabolic. Catabolic pathways breakdown something to create energy. Without planning, what they could break down is the muscles you are trying to build.
During exercise, it is much easier for your body to breakdown and convert carbs to energy. The most accessible form of carbs for your muscles is glycogen that is stored in your muscles first.
Without adequate carb source, performance drops.
To lose weight through exercise, you need to reach a balance between having enough carbs in your system to perform the necessary reps and sets and put in the time.
And not having too many carbs in the system so that your body has a reason access fat storage.
When carbohydrates are available in your muscles, your blood stream, and your liver, there is no reason for your body to reach for fat.
Think of this way.
If you have your favorite snack on the coffee table right by you, will you get up and go to the kitchen for it?
Of course not. There is no reason to get up.
By placing the snack away from you in the kitchen, you may go to the kitchen for it, reluctantly.
What if you don’t keep any snack in the house?
Chances of you leaving your home, going to the store and buying it is are much less.
Stored fat is the snack at the grocery store. Your body must be forced into using it.
Depletion of carbs overnight is the basis of performing aerobics exercises and other fat burning workouts on an empty stomach and early in the morning.
There are several things wrong with that thought pattern we’ll cover later.
High-intensity Short Burst Workouts
Fact three – High-intensity short burst workouts use mostly carbohydrates as the main source of fuel and not fat.
During high-intensity fast movements your body engages strong, fast twitch muscles capable of producing a lot of power and doing a lot of work. These muscles run out fuel quickly and tire quickly.
If you are only performing high-intensity short burst workouts, you are missing out on the other part of the fat burning equation which is low-intensity fat burning exercises.
Low-Intensity Long Duration Workouts
Fact four – Low-intensity long duration workouts use mostly fat as fuel simply because of the duration. Once the body depletes its carb source of energy, it will reach for fat as long as muscles remain active.
Muscle fibers engaged in long duration exercises are slow-twitch. The metabolic pathways for these muscles shift to convert fat to carbs.
However, your powerful, thick fast twitch muscle fibers that burn a lot of calories quickly are not fully engaged or develop in endurance training. Have you ever seen a marathon runner with a bodybuilder’s thighs?
Most people, especially women who exercise for weight loss stay with low-intensity long duration movements like treadmill walk and they miss out on the calorie burning power of high-intensity workouts.
Fat Burning Marketing System vs. Biological Facts
Fact five – This is where the marketing war starts.
High-intensity short burst workouts, by definition of intensity, burn more calories per minute of a workout than low-intensity workouts.
The intensity, in this case, refers to the physics formulae of work and power which include moving a lot of force (load, weight) over long distances, and doing it fast.
Think of weightlifting snatch. In a snatch, you move a lot of weight from the ground to an overhead position, fast. Compare that with a barbell curl.
How about a Burpee Pull-up vs. a pushup? In both exercises, you are working with your bodyweight. However, in a Burpee Pull-up, you are moving that body weight fast and over much greater distance.
So if you only have ten minutes, you burn several times more calories with a Burpee Pull-up, a weightlifting snatch or a kettlebell swing than you’ll burn on a steady jog on a treadmill.
But there is a disadvantage.
If you eat any carbohydrate before or immediately after your high-intensity workout, your body will use that as fuel and does not reach for the spare tire around your waist.
You will, however, increase your chances of losing fat by the simple fact that your total calories burned per minute of a high-intensity workout are higher than a low-intensity workout.
Duh! Isn’t that what high intensity mean?
Then why not just skip aerobics and low-intensity long duration workouts and do high-intensity workouts only?
One reason is increased the chance of injury. Google the latest injury stats on Crossfit training, and you’ll have your answer.
Despite marketing wars, the history of human body’s evolution and its survival before technology and ordering prepackaged food online is based on both types of activities. Our bodies and its needs to be fit have not changed for several thousand years.
Low-Intensity Workouts Do Not Increase Muscle Mass
Fact six – Low-intensity long duration workouts do not help you increase your muscle mass. By definition, long duration workouts use slow-twitch smaller size endurance muscles. Smaller size muscles do not use a lot of energy while you rest.
To burn fat continuously, you need to increase muscle mass which comes from fast twitch fibers and larger muscle groups.
Your total muscle mass helps you burn more calories per minute after your workout is done and while you sleep.
Honestly, if you could just stand around and look great, will you even bother reading this article?
So what are the best exercise for weight loss?
The answer is none. There is no single fat burning exercise or even a workout category of exercises. There is, however, a way for you to customize a best fat loss program that works for you.
At the end of small group training sessions I taught I asked attendees two questions.
My first question was, “On the scale of one to ten, how would you rate your session?”
I would listen carefully to the responses and the way they were phrased to help improve the way I taught and what I taught.
Then I asked, ” What exactly made the session, the way you described it?”
The second question was designed for the attendees to think and focus on how things worked. They learned to self-direct their efforts instead of just following what I said.
Your brain-muscle connection, your neuromuscular control, has more impact on your weight loss fat burning progress than any other biological activity. This neuromuscular control begins with your thoughts and understanding of how things work.
Without a clear understanding, no one can send the efficient and effective signals to their body to build muscle or burn fat.