Don’t fall victim to the newest craze or fad that promises “fat burning.” Find out why anything with that label on it is just trying to take you to the cleaners! Multiple companies promise their supplement, or device or activity will burn fat, however the truth is there is only ONE fat burning tool, and that’s your LIVER! There are two big goals in the fitness industry; lose fat and build muscle. Both are antagonist principles in that one requires a calorie surplus and the other requires a caloric deficit. Chances are slim that you’ll be able to accomplish both simultaneously (aside from those who are just starting out in fitness or those who are on very, very advanced type of plans). It’s not impossible to do both simultaneously however it does require some in-depth knowledge of our body and its physiology.
Processing the body’s fat is a key job for the liver. Once the liver is full of glycogen, it starts turning the glucose it absorbs from the blood into fatty acids, for long-term storage as body fat. The fatty acids and cholesterol are gathered as fatty packages and delivered around the body via the blood. Much of the fat ends up stored in fat tissues. That said, understanding the process of lipolysis, that is, how the body burns fat, will help you further along in your goal of fat loss.
Lipolysis is the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells. During this process, free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. Essentially it’s the process in the body of breaking down stored triglycerides (stored fat cells) (or triglycerides in the blood for food we’ve just eaten), into two main components, glycerol and fatty acids. The liver then oxidizes the triglycerides into glucose to be used by our muscles. So in short without the liver, fat cells cant be broken down and metabolized ,there are other organs that help in this process but the liver is the dominant force.
Another key element in the process of lipolysis is that of insulin. Insulin’s main role in the body is to act in an anabolic manner, producing complex molecules from those that are simpler in form. Keep in mind, however, that anabolic in this situation does not always necessarily mean muscle-building anabolic. While definitely insulin is a key contributor of muscle tissue growth and development, when insulin is present in a situation where there are more calories consumed than needed at any given moment, it will also be anabolic in terms of fat tissue. When this happens, the body will begin manufacturing triglycerides. When insulin is absent in the body combined with a hypocaloric diet, it is then those free fatty acids will be released from the fat cell and fat loss will occur.
STIMULATION OF LIPOLYSIS
In order for lipolysis to occur you still must be in a caloric deficit. Regardless of what supplements, or program you are on, if you consume more calories in a day than needed to maintain your body weight, the body has to do something with this excess. It can either form new muscle tissue (which is highly likely if you have been weight training), but there is a limit to how much new muscle can be built at any given time. After it’s maxed out its muscle development, fat accumulation will begin to occur.
GETTING THE FAT LOSS PROCESS GOING
So, your job to get the fat loss process going can be seen in a series of steps.
First, you must consume fewer calories than needed to maintain your body weight. Regardless of the types of macronutrients you eat and the percentage they make up in your diet, if you are eating more than you are burning, you’re not going to be losing fat.
Second to that is working to control insulin so that it works with you rather than against you. How do you do that? – By timing your carbohydrates correctly.
Insulin is both good and bad; it’s good in the fact that its presence is going to help the glucose you eat from carbohydrates get into the muscle cell, replenishing muscle glycogen so that you can recover faster between your workouts and build new muscle tissue.
It’s bad on the other hand because if it’s in high concentrations during the rest of the time, it’s going to promote fat gain, assuming excess calories are present. By ensuring you are in a calorie deficit, you’ll really get ahead of the game in making sure additional body fat is not added. But further, it’s a good idea to try and focus the majority of the carbohydrates you do eat in your hypocaloric diet around the workout period. This is when your body needs them the most and will most effectively be able to replace that muscle glycogen.
Realize that it’s not carbs per se that makes you gain body fat – it’s an intake of carbohydrates continuously through the day in the presence of excess calories.
Fill in the blank fat burning workouts, supplements, diets, exercises, foods, equipment, you name it. The title is attached to any and everything to help people feel that this new gadget or food will be the Holy Grail in the fat burning realm. Hopefully by now you realize that all of that is just hype the Liver is the only true fat burning tool in your arsenal, and the only way to get it working for you is through some sort of caloric restriction. So even if you have found yourself on the Keto band wagon and turned your body into a “fat burning machine” all will be lost if you are still consuming excess calories. Sure your body might be better primed for burning fat for fuel, but you still have to teach it to do so, which means putting it in a state where it needs that additional fuel. This is exactly what I will be covering in another blog, TDEE, BMR, RMR and how they affect your weight and physique.