How do you achieve fat loss, what exercise works best? Is a question we have received a few times from clients. It is also something I remember being very conscious about especially in early days of training, “I will do my high intensity cardio first to lose the fat and then tone up”. Not really understanding the relationship.
In the transformation pictures you will first notice I have lost fat, if you look a little bit closer though you can see what I am most proud of my posture and form. This is the aim of our programs, we focus on strength and helping mamas feel confident in their bodies. Fat loss happens as you consistently work to become stronger and is easier than you initially think, it doesn’t need to be that high intensity training sweat session.
In this blog I’ll try to summarize the thought process for fat loss, as per my understanding. There are many viewpoints and a lot of evolving research as well as the fact that we all process energy differently! This is personally what has worked for me, based on the research I have studied.
There are three main types of energy systems that we target through exercise and movement. I’m focusing on the two that we most commonly use.
By doing interval training you depends on the exertion during the exercise. Generally exercising at a high intensity, ie you could only last 80-90 sec in this speed, is anaerobic using the sources of energy (glucose) easily available to it. Walking, on the other hand, will use aerobic energy that will be derived from carbohydrates, proteins and/or fats.
Now there are two schools of thoughts on this, that the recovery of a high intensity exercise will need to use aerobic energy system and therefore brings the most benefit for weight loss. On the other hand, a steady pace of aerobic exercise will actually start to use fat not relying on the recovery.
That being said exercising in both anaerobic, in this case specifically the glycolysis system, aerobic, along with daily life movement, lead to beneficial metabolic adaptation.
For true weight or fat loss though it all boils down to laws of thermodynamics.
One part of this is the ever so popular calorie deficit, you cannot out train a bad diet. Following a consistent healthy lifestyle where you are aware of what you consume in basic macronutrients in the right portions generally should suffice. Consistency versus a fad diet that depletes energy so low that you end up needing to overcompensate. Remember consistency is not perfection, have a treat when you need it and don’t feel guilty food is more than just fuel, it is enjoyment as well. Consistency should be long term and easily achievable. Start small.
As this is specifically about fat loss you may have heard the expression “Fat burns in the carbohydrate flame”, this is because aerobic energy system generally performs better with a carbs. Everyone has different requirements, however if you are restricting carbs and feel sluggish you may want to see if an increase in the right kind of carbs for you helps. Choose the less processed, whole foods.
Second part which is often overlooked because it isn’t as glamorous however it makes the most impact is NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). This is your everyday life and how active you are. Generally research shows that this is probably the KEY to long lasting weight loss, it takes up a significant portion of your day. Tracking my steps is something I personally found really help me and not gain weight during lock down. We put a lot of emphasis on 1 hour of exercise all the while ignoring the vast portion of our day.
If you are interested in becoming stronger contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org, to join own of our signature program specifically designed for mums.
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von Loeffelholz C, Birkenfeld A. The Role of Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Human Obesity. [Updated 2018 Apr 9]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/