How Do We Actually Lose Fat?
Wanting to lose fat and understanding the process of which we use stored fat as a fuel source are two very different things. In order to actually change our bodies, we must first understand the mechanisms at play
It has been said that at any given moment in the U.K. one in four people are actively on a diet in an attempt to lose weight and change shape.
Whilst according to a survey by Engage Mutual, the average Woman spends a staggering £25,000 throughout her lifetime fighting the flab.
That initial goal of wanting to look and feel better usually falls by the wayside pretty quickly with only 29% of Brits actively using their gym membership and a whopping £37 million per year is collectively wasted by that gym membership that keeps on rolling out of your bank account even though you stopped going to the gym months ago.
So let me tell you something you don’t know if you actually want to achieve results and avoid becoming a statistic….
In order to lose body fat you can’t keep on following the hit and hope approach that hasn’t served you as well as you might have hoped.
You’re going to need to put a little bit of ground work in first so that you actually know HOW to lose fat before you actually achieve it.
But fear not,
Once you’ve learned what i am about to share with you in this article,
From a simple point of view, you will know not only how to lose fat in the short term but also for life.
Enter Fat Cell Metabolism
Fear not, i’m going to completely go into ALL OF THE SCIENCE.
But what i am going to do is arm you with the information you actually need to know if you want to lose fat.
This image just about sums it up from a simple point of view.
In order to lose fat, we must first provide the internal environment for the body to ‘want’ to give up the energy it has stored.
Everyone knows that.
And everyone knows simply that if you
A) move more
B) eat less
You will lose weight and fat.
But only to a certain point.
Because losing actual body fat and not just weight (which can be water, muscle and glycogen) is a little bit more complicated, which i will make digestible and actionable so you can get back to kicking ass and getting results.
Back to the fat cell
Ok, so you see that yellow blob in the middle of the fat cell?
That’s what is known as stored triglyceride which is made up from a glycerol backbone and three fatty acids (think a branch with three twigs).
So those twigs (fatty acids) are what we are interested in getting OUT of the fat cell right?
That’s how we’re going to make your fat cells and you smaller.
Now to get those fatty acids out of the fat cell we need a few key players to be in our corner.
The most important being Hormone Sensitive Lipase or as we’ll call it, the fat loss switch
Now this fat loss switch is a VERY sensitive little soul.
In fact, hormone sensitive lipase is affected by other hormones such as testosterone, oestogen and thyroid among others but the most important two WE need to think about to help you to lose fat are these;
Catecholamines (Adrenaline and Noradrenaline)
Because here is the thing,
In order to active hormone sensitive lipase through catecholamines binding to beta receptors and not alpha receptors on the fat cell (fat loss switch and fat gain switch) we need insulin to be low and catecholamines to be to high in order to tell cyclic AMP (cAMP) to ramp up and tell HSL what to do and release fatty acids from the fat cell.
So when insulin is low, cAMP is high and the fat loss switch is likely to be turned ON
But when insulin is high, cAMP is low and the fat loss switch is turned OFF
Which is why a high calorie, fat and carbohydrate diet will not result in you losing the fat that you want rid of as this prevents needing to access the calories in stored body fat.
Protein also raises insulin levels and your bodies’s own basal production of insulin can be enough to stop your fat loss switch working before you’ve even started your day if you have blood sugar management issues, high stress and high body fat.
Insulin wins the battle of the hormones where your fat loss switches are concerned and you can’t even think about fat loss is your over CALORIES are too high in the first place as this also turns off your ability to burn the blubber.
A side note about fats.
Before the ketogenic brigade jump in and think i’m saying that insulin and carbohydrates alone are the reason you’re not losing fat, i’m not.
Because here is the thing;
Too many fats in the diet will also blunt our fat loss switch and activate our fat gain switch if calories are high enough to facilitate fat storage.
Remember it’s VERY sensitive.
So when excess fats are in the blood stream, we also impair our ability to lose body fat and increase fat gain instead.
So the main issues are too many calories, too many fats and too many carbohydrates.
What happens when we DO release fat from our fat cells?
Let’s presume that your diet is now on point,
Calories are lower,
Carbs and fats are lower and you’re eating enough protein to preserve lean muscle tissue whilst dieting.
Remember our fat loss switch?
Here’s the cool part,
When HSL is active and releases the fatty acids into the bloodstream we will do one of two things;
- Restored the liberated fat back into fat cells if we’re not training hard enough or have poor blood flow
- We’ll send the fatty acids into active tissue such as the liver and the muscles to create energy and thus the fat is BURNED and ultimately take from our bodies.
and ultimately you will transform your body!
General vs Specific
So now that you know how we actually lose fat here a few pointers so that you can start achieving better results with your newly found and actionable knowledge.
One of the reasons most people don’t see results from the gym or from a standard diet is that it is just WAY too general and not specific enough to get results.
30 minutes on treadmill here and there and a few sets on the weight’s machines a couple of times per week isn’t likely to be enough.
Nor is dedicated a full day to arms if your body fat is well above 20%.
Here at CMP we split each clients transformations into phases that have CLEAR outcomes that we’re trying to achieve both from a nutritional and physical standpoint with the above in mind if the client is simply focused on getting into better shape and losing body fat.
Here’s what this could look like for a client looking to lose fat and tone up.
Phase One – Whole Body Training
Phase Two – Upper / Lower Training
Phase Three – Push / Pull / Legs
Each phase may last 4 – 6 weeks and whether we move onto a different style of training very much depends on the level of progress being made and the consistency and commitment from the client.
Now go forth and release those fatty acids.