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5 scientific ways to burn more fat

“We accumulate stored fat very fast,” says Dr Pablo Enriori, from Monash University’s Neurophysiology research group. “In 15 minutes you’re going to get a lot of insulin in circulation. This is induced to accumulate fat in tissue as well as used in the form of glucose for muscles.”

“Six hours is when we start to store that body fat but if by lunch you’ve overeaten and starting to store fat you’ve still got half a day to fix it, by either going to the gym and burning it off or reducing the amount of food you’re eating later in the day,” says exercise physiologist and dietitian Matt O’Neil from Metabolic Jumpstart.

“By the next day you’ll have more body fat unless you have burnt it off the same day.”

So how to release it? Pay attention – it’s tricky.

Plie-jumps-nichelle-laus-dave-laus

CHEAT: Aerobic exercise needs to performed for 30 minutes plus.

DEETS: Fat is like the money in a high-interest linked savings account – you can’t just withdraw it. First you need to use up what’s in your direct transaction account (preferred macromolecules) – starting with creatine phosphate and glycogen.These provide quick energy for short-term, high-intensity exercise, or fuel for the early stages of moderate-intensity workouts.

The type and duration of exercise determines which macromolecule is metabolised first.

Why is half-an-hour the magic number?

When you keep busting a sweat past the halfa mark, the body switches from primarily metabolising glucose to favouring fatty acids. In plain speak, that means it can efficiently tap into free fatty acids (FFAs) derived from lipids in body fat. Tip: the brain can’t metabolise fatty acids during the first 30 minutes of exercise.

There’s also an order of events that can’t be overwritten, no matter how clever you think you are. Fat and amino acids derived from muscle protein are the last fuel in the chain after stored glycogen and residual glucose in blood.

The takeaway is that sub-30 minute aerobic exercise can prevent new fat stores but not erode the old ones (and possibly decrease muscle mass – bad). To really reap the perks of a fat-burning workout, 40 minutes is the holy grail. Then the body feasts primarily on fatty acids for fuel, reducing body fat. Bonus: since most fuel is now FFAs, muscle protein is largely spared.

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CHEAT: Do weights before HIIT or cardio

DEETS: There’s a good reason to do weights first, cardio second – and not just because exhausting yourself in sprints will undermine your strength.

Weights use creatine phosphate and glucose sequentially for fuel while in high-intensity anaerobic exercise, the body initially uses up all of the glycogen in the skeletal muscle and the liver through the glycolysis pathway.

Once it’s worked through this, and its glycogen-derived glucose, it relies on liver breakdown of proteins and lipolysis for energy. Doing aerobic exercise first exhausts creatine and glycogen reserves without burning much fat. The subsequent anaerobic session – weights or other – will then be bereft of reserves of energy needed for glycolysis. According to MedFitness, the best strategy for maximum fat burning is 30 minutes of weights followed by cardio, which will primarily use fatty acids for fuel.

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5 scientific ways to burn more fat

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