For many people, being fit equates to having a slim and slender build, or a toned and muscular body. The media influences us to believe that healthy bodies are those that are without belly fat, bat wings, or thunder thighs. And, because of the desire to attain this ideal image, more and more people are looking for ways to burn fat fast.
Unfortunately, not a lot of people know how to do it correctly. They may spend long hours in the gym, sweat it all out, and then wonder why the numbers on the scale still won’t budge. There are also those who believe that a strict diet and a tough workout are the only solutions to lose weight effectively and that nothing else could yield better results. Sadly, it is because of this mentality that people often have a negative impression of diet and exercise. And, as a result, some would be more than willing to undergo a risky fat loss surgery and to burn their wallets instead.
The Truth About Burning Fat
The truth is that burning fat and losing weight does not have to be as punishing, complicated, or expensive. Neither should it impose any danger or risk to one’s body. While participating in vigorous physical activity may help you shed some weight at the beginning, it can actually do more harm than good to your body in the long run. Not to mention the stress involved in keeping up such a rigid lifestyle.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve one’s appearance as a way to boost self-confidence. But, at the same time, one should never forget to love and care for their body first. Overall health and well-being should still be the number one priority.
One of the best ways to show your body the TLC it deserves is first to understand how it works. If you want to burn body fat, then it pays to know how it got there in the first place, how fat is burned, and what you can do to burn fat more efficiently. By doing this, you do not only have a better chance of losing weight, but you also have a better relationship with your body. If you’re ready to start burning fat the smarter and healthier way, read on below to find out more.
Why Does Fat Accumulate in Our Bodies?
Human physiology tells us that our body requires sugar, fat, and carbohydrates to produce the energy it needs to perform everyday tasks. However, it is important to note that fat tends to be the body’s last resort for an energy source. Sugar and carbohydrates are used up first before the body moves on to using fat as energy.
Early humans greatly benefited from this as it took much physical activity to hunt and scavenge for food. It also took a while for early humans to find their next meal, which required them to survive more extended periods without food. But, times have changed drastically since the prehistoric ages; the way we source our food and the way we eat is no longer the same.
The modern human eats more quantities of food in one day in comparison to their ancestors. And, thanks to the readily accessible sources of food, the modern human no longer has to wait days before their next proper meal. The advancement in technology also gives man lesser opportunities to be physically active. And, to top it all off, unhealthy food options tend to be a lot cheaper than their healthier counterparts. Nowadays, it’s more convenient and affordable to enjoy junk food than it is to enjoy an organic snack. Without self-discipline in one’s diet and exercise, it’s so easy for the body to accumulate excessive fat.
Now, you might be wondering where the problem lies in having too much fat in the body. After all, isn’t it supposed to be good news that the body has lots of energy stored within itself? The main issue with excessive fat lies in the adipocytes found within fat cells.
When there is an excess in fat within the body, these adipocytes store abnormally high rates of energy, but they also release that energy at a slower rate. Moreover, these enlarged fat cells also mess up the body’s hormones by producing a variety of them in unreasonable amounts. These hormones can increase inflammation, making the body more vulnerable to disease. This is perhaps the reason why obesity is considered to be the gateway to a multitude of other health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Additionally, excessive fat in the body also slows down one’s metabolism, causing the body to retain more fat. That being said, it is no wonder why most people view fat as stubborn and almost impossible to get rid of. But, all hope is not lost as there are a couple of lifestyle changes you can still do to burn more fat. Read on below to find out what they are.
What Does It Take to Burn Fat Efficiently?
There are many viable reasons that may cause excessive fat in the body. The culprit may be your poor eating habits or your unhealthy choices of food. It could also be the fact that you lack physical activity or the fact that you are too stressed to get enough sleep. Whatever the case may be, the formula for fat loss remains the same. Here’s what it takes to burn fat efficiently:
It’s no secret that a nutritious diet is essential to a healthy body. But, not all healthy food choices can help you burn fat. In fact, they may even cause you to store more instead.
Food choices that help you burn fat are those that enhance your metabolism. Examples of such foods are legumes, seaweed, and salmon. Protein-rich options such as meat and dairy are also said to help increase metabolism for a few hours. According to research, certain spices such as chili peppers can also help you burn fat efficiently. And, if you’re searching for a fat-burning drink, then a cup of oolong tea or matcha may help.
Apart from a healthy diet, regular exercise is also required to lose weight. And when it comes to burning fat through exercise, most fitness experts will suggest that you aim for a balance between cardio exercises and strength training.
A couple of years ago, cardio exercises were the go-to workout for fat loss. Even research says that cardio exercises such as cycling, walking, and swimming can reduce type 2 diabetes, cancer, and even depression. That being said, cardio is undoubtedly a good way to improve the body’s physical condition and to manage weight as well. However, cardio alone may not be the best solution for fat loss.
According to medical experts, doing too much cardio workouts is catabolic, which means that muscle tissue is broken down during the process. While you may be losing weight, muscle mass is also being reduced. To prevent this from happening, it is crucial to combine some strength training activities with cardio workouts.
As mentioned above, cardio alone may not be the best solution for your body when it comes to weight loss. The key is to not only burn body fat but to build muscle at the same time. Strength training and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) are highly recommended because they are anabolic. Opposite from the catabolic cardio workouts, HIIT, and strength training can help the body develop more muscle, cartilage, and collagen. Strength training workouts also require more energy to perform, pushing the body to burn more calories and fat in the process.
Tough workouts aren’t the only solution for fat loss. Sometimes, all it takes is a good night’s rest. Did you know that poor sleep is actually a major risk for obesity? According to medical experts, poor sleep can decrease your resting metabolism. Your body still burns fat while you are asleep, but unfortunately, the rate becomes slower due to poor quality of sleep. Sadly, the effects of poor sleeping habits do not stop there. It can also increase your appetite, cause you to consume more calories, and make you more insulin resistant.
Does Sweating Burn Fat?
Thanks to current trends such as hot yoga and indoor cycling, many people are led to believe that sweat equals melting fat. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Although perspiration is required to lose weight, it does not represent the process of burning fat. Fat is burned only through one’s physical effort. In short, your body needs you to use up all the energy in its storage for you to burn fat more efficiently.
Do Saunas Burn Fat?
As mentioned earlier, body fat is burned only through physical effort. Although excessive sweating may help you shed a bit of weight, it is not a long term solution for fat loss. Similarly, putting oneself in extreme heat such as a sauna may help you drop water weight; but in the end, its fat loss results are only short-lived. Moreover, regularly putting your body in such an environment may even be detrimental to your health in the long term.
Best Exercises for Burning Belly Fat
Now that we’ve learned the best ways to burn fat, let’s tackle the elephant in the room and talk about belly fat. For many people, belly fat is the toughest type of body fat to eliminate. But with the help of a healthy diet and a couple of fat-burning exercises, achieving one’s goal weight may no longer be such a distant dream. Here are some of the best exercises for burning belly fat:
Burpees, otherwise known as jumping squats, are by far the best exercises for burning belly fat. Plenty of people dislike them because it really does put the whole body to work. Burpees are a full-body exercise that combines cardio exercise and strength training – the perfect formula for fat loss! It is excellent for conditioning and also required no equipment. It can also be added to any workout routine, so it may be a good idea to throw in a couple of burpees into your regimen.
Like the burpee, the Mountain Climber exercise is a combo of cardio and strength training. It is best for improving cardio endurance and agility. And best of all, it also strengthens the core which may help you to lose that belly fat. But, in comparison to burpees, the Mountain Climber exercise is more focused on the upper and lower body and the core. Although it isn’t a complete total-body workout, it helps build strength in some regions of the body. Mix a few of these exercises in with a few burpees, and you are sure to lose some belly fat.
According to experts, more fat is burned during prolonged low-intensity activities. In short, you don’t need to exert lots of effort just as long as you keep going for longer periods of time. Running or jogging is a perfect low-intensity exercise.
Many people tend to think that they need to run faster in order to burn fat. But, in reality, you should be running at a pace where you can still keep a conversation. The key is to keep running longer instead of harder or faster. Interestingly, your body will still continue to burn fat for 2 to 3 hours after you’ve finished jogging.
Almost any gym would have stationary bikes as part of its amenities. But, only those who are willing to use it at an intense rate can benefit from this workout. Pedaling at a casual pace does not challenge the body to exert more effort and burn more fat. To burn fat with cycling, one must keep a really high rate of intensity on the intervals for a few minutes and then slow down for a shorter period of time. It is also essential to continue these intervals for a more extended period of time.
The elliptical machine is another excellent option for low-impact exercises. This workout is great for those who want to avoid wearing out the joints, and most especially the knees and hips. However, because it has low-impact on the body, it may not be the best workout to burn calories. But again, it is a viable option for those who want to protect their joints.
If you’re looking for an exercise that could help you burn arm fat, then doing jumping jacks is the best option for you. Jumping jacks focuses on the quadriceps – it’s perfect for strengthening the calves, the hamstrings, and the glutes. But if you bend your arms a little as you raise them above your head, then your biceps and triceps are also involved. The best part about jumping jacks is that you can perform this exercise anytime and anywhere. You can also increase the intensity of this workout by simply speeding up.
So many people believe that crunches or sit-ups are the number one solution to burn belly fat. However, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as spot reduction. One cannot target which areas to shed fat first. The goal is to lose fat in the body, no matter which area it is located in. Crunches or sit-ups are workouts that are great for strengthening the core. But, in the end, it still requires other forms of exercises to burn fat more efficiently.
Although they may not be the direct solution for fat loss, crunches or sit-ups help build muscle in the core which, in turn, can help you burn more calories. And, because of this, your body can also burn more fat in the long run.