3 Simple Fat-Burning Tips and Tricks to Start Right NowDec 14, 2021
3 Simple Fat-Burning Tips and Tricks to Start Right Now
Within the cell exist multiple mechanisms for humans to utilize our food to generate energy in adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Namely, we can use fat, ketones, lactate, and carbohydrate.
Instead of counting carbs, tracking, and exhausting yourself, I will give you 3 Simple Fat-Burning Tips and Tricks to Start Right Now.
- Eat fat and under 50 grams of carbohydrate for your first meal
- Ditch the golden hour and consider fasted exercise
- Move just 4 minutes more even on recovery days
Establish the Right Measure of Your Fat Burning
As a medical professional, I can tell you that my field is guilty of equating fat loss with weight loss.
When you go to your healthcare provider’s office, the first thing that your team will do is put you on the scale.
Naturally, this number will be higher and lower than before, you feel good or bad about yourself, and then your body mass index is calculated, you are placed into an exam room to ponder.
My issue with weight as a metric is that it is a surrogate marker for what we are trying to measure, body fat. Personally, when I was running 8 miles every other day and eating 1,200 calories, I weighed 160 lbs, and my BMI was 22. Deemed “healthy and normal.”
Doc Mok’s Personal Metric Assessment
As I began lifting weights and eating 3,200 cal/day, my weight went up to 170-180 lbs and BMI 26.6. By this measure, I am overweight, but here’s the rest of the story. My waist is smaller, my chest, arms, and legs bigger.
I am stronger and feel great with a low body fat percent measured by calipers and anthropometrics.
Hopefully, at this point, you see the issue using BMI and weight alone. Instead, measure your shoulders, chest, arms, legs, waist, and hips or perform body fat measurements. Oh, and please do not measure these things too often, meaning every six weeks.
Instead, follow these rules:
- Use the same scale
- Measure your metrics at the same time of day
- Measure with a schedule
- Record and be objective
Why Weight is Not the Fat Burning Metric
Though tracking weight can help with motivation, as seen in this study, allowing the participants to calibrate and recalculate daily. Yet, the downside to weighing yourself too often is the psychological impact of having a higher metric.
The reasoning is that most “weight” fluctuations you will experience during this intermediate period are due to change in water.
Two variables drive water retention and loss
- Salt or sodium intake
- Carbohydrate intake
Sodium Will Change Your Weight, Not Fat
Sodium is an element that contains a positive electrical charge. This charge drives water shuttling within and outside the cell termed osmotic pressure, which causes water to follow sodium. Therefore, the more sodium you have in your body, the more water will follow it and the more weight you will possess.
Many things other than the saltshaker can impact your sodium content, including fluid intake, caffeine or alcohol use, exercise (leading to more loss of sodium and water), kidney, heart, lung, and liver conditions, as well as medications.
Glycogen Also Will Increase Your Weight
On the other hand, glycogen is how we store excess carbohydrates. Glycogen is stored chiefly within muscle and the liver.
This molecule also possesses osmotic properties and attacks water; therefore, the more carbohydrate you have, the more glycogen you store and the more water you have (leading to more weight).
Usually, this reflection in your glycogen stores results from the carbohydrate content that you consumed (those French fries) and that you lost (via exercise) the previous day.
Glycogen is not bad, as it will assist you in aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis during the later stages of activity.
This concept brings me to my next point, ketosis.
One Reason Why People Lose Weight on Keto
When individuals start on the ketogenic diet, they often will gain an immediate loss in “weight” as they dump their glycogen stores around day 4-7, therefore losing water and weight—also, ketones. Additionally, the ketogenic diet will often increase your kidney’s excretion of electrolytes, particularly sodium.
As we stated above, more sodium loss, more water loss, more weight loss, but this is not how our first fat-burning tip and trick works.
However, over time switching to a ketogenic approach will assist with mobilizing fat storage via lipolysis and beta-oxidation. As a side note, insulin tends to inhibit these actions, and thus, by down-regulating insulin, you also drive this fat-freezing process forward. This thought brings me to tip number one fat burning tip and trick, meal timing.
Fat Burning Tip and Trick One, Meal Timing
In this article, I discussed the power of intermittent fasting for mobilizing fat. The way that intermittent fasting works are that around 8-12 hours of fasting, your body begins to use ketones as a fuel source. If you start to ingest carbohydrates (even just 50 grams) during your next meal, this process will stop, and you will switch out of ketosis and back into glycolysis.
Ketosis is the fundamental principle behind meal timing. If you are practicing time-restricted eating, such as a 16 or 20 hour fast, you can then continue beta-oxidation by ensuring your next meal is low in carbohydrates. By adding this technique to your time-restricted eating, you can drop your body fat.
Fat Burning Tip and Trick Two, Fueling Your Exercise
Another great tactic for reducing fat is using time-restricted eating, intermittent fasting, and meal timing as a part of your training program. The broscience points toward the “golden hour,” wherein you MUST eat carbohydrate and/or protein before and/or after your workout. Principles inherent to this exist to sell you pre-workout, post-workout, etc.
To answer this “golden hour” concept, let’s go to science. Fasted workouts may indeed increase post-exercise muscle breakdown. However, muscle breakdown is essential for gaining adaptation.
Additionally, the peri-workout carbohydrate and protein theory (“golden hour”) has not necessarily panned out to improving athletic performance. Does this correlate to a deficit in muscle synthesis or athletic performance?
Defining The Right Fuel for the Right Exercise
Firstly, let’s separate the type of exercise that you are trying to perform. This review shows that the conclusion fasted endurance exercise or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may not increase fatty acid oxidation. However, I would like to point out the limitation in the studies referenced with mixed design and degrees of exercise tolerance and calorie restriction added to the studied variables. On the other hand, low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise did demonstrate higher degrees of fatty acid oxidation in this review.
Another question is whether this hypothetical impact of fatty acid oxidation correlates with changes in lean body mass. This earlier review showed that fasted aerobic exercise caused similar changes in body composition to low-calorie approaches. This review, which used excellent systematic review methodology, showed small benefits in body mass, % body fat, and lean mass in women.
Fuel Your Exercise to match Your Goals
After reviewing these data, it seems vital to ask yourself what I am trying to accomplish.
If you wish to impact your body composition and become leaner, then fasted workout may lend small benefits.
Fasted workouts may cause some decline in performance if you are training at a higher intensity level or endurance, yet not for low/moderate activity and aerobic adaptation.
Gauge your workout intensity and tailor your approach to your goals. If you wish to run long distances, power lift, or become the most robust human, you may want to have some substrate circulating. Eating afterward at some point, though, can limit muscle breakdown. You do not HAVE to eat carbohydrate/protein pre-/post workout if non-fasted, thus debunking the “golden hour.”
Doc Mok’s Experience with Fasted Exercise
From a personal perspective, when I am trying to train for power, I ensure my lunch (usually after a 16 hour fast) has substrates such as carbohydrates and/or protein. On the other hand, if I am training for body composition, I usually will train fasted with proper hydration and trace electrolytes before limit fatigue or dizziness. Usually, I will then eat when my body tells me to.
Listening to your body by eating right after a workout (if you are starving) or just waiting a bit will not be detrimental. Therefore, I profess to you tip two, which is exercise without “golden hour” eating.
Fat Burning Tip and Trick Three, Move More
For my final tip, I want to introduce the concept of aggregate gains. If you ever hope to retire, you put those pennies away somewhere.
Each day those pennies grow at a percentage, and then you have pennies plus a fraction of pennies. Your savings then aggregates and grows at faster and faster rates.
When we discussed NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, we discussed how any incremental change inactivity would lead to higher baseline thermogenesis. NEAT includes things like walking, standing, tapping, and outdoor play (hiking). Therefore any tiny amount of movement you add to your day will add up over time and enhance fat loss.
Moving More, Burn Fat, Live Longer
It is well established that people that move more live longer. Hence, adding more movement to your day will help you live longer and burn fat; this effect cannot be instead of other beneficial lifestyle choices. However, it can be a part of the puzzle to reaching your goals.
Therefore I try to get in 10,000 steps daily if I can. To further boost your movement, a fat-burning machine, on off days, doing as little as 4-minutes of a Tabata workout can lead to a boost in your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Meaning, an increase in your energy consumption for up to 48 hours after the activity.
The Recovery Day Tabata as Fat Burning Tip and Trick
To perform a Tabata, pick 2-4 exercise types and do activity for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, then repeat for eight rounds and bingo, 4 minutes of fat-burning work done. I have not found that this hinders my recovery. I feel amazing for the rest of the day because I get my blood flowing, am hungry, and more awake. I also chase this with a bit of mobility work as I am on my feet all day.
Summary of Fat Burning Tips and Tricks
It is easy to get lost in the loud sea of people yelling about how this or that diet, macro, etc., is THE WAY to burn fat. It is often minor changes, added to a solid diet of eating enough, eating real food, and moving more, leading to exponential gains.
- Making your first meal of the day under 50 grams of carbohydrate and fat-centric can burn fat.
- Avoiding the “golden hour” and considering fasted exercise with food after eating around training when your body tells you to improve body composition.
- Finally, moving more, even for 4 minutes of rest days, will make you a lean, mean, fat-burning machine.