The nutritional and physiological keys to fat loss

Health and Fitness

Guy Leech Fitness Forum

Generally speaking, people make it harder to lose body fat than it needs to be. Shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’, which suggest you have to train at maximum intensity for 8 hours a day, don’t help the cause.

It’s a matter of understanding basic exercise physiology and nutrition. The key to optimising fat loss is simply knowing how hard to exercise.
Here is a list of some basic guidelines:

1. If you can’t talk while you’re exercising you’re going too hard.
The harder you exercise the more your respiration rate increases to deal with the additional carbon dioxide your body’s producing. To burn fat as your principal energy source, you need to keep your heart rate down.

Even if it feels too easy and you doubt the benefit of your exercise, stay with it.

2. Use an exercise physiologist to help measure fat burning.
The best way to precisely determine your fat burning exercise intensity is to track down an exercise physiologist with a ‘lactate analyser’ and get a lactate step-test done. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to target the heart rate training zone that best suits you. That heart rate zone will coincide with blood lactate levels of 2 to 2.5mm or the so called ‘aerobic threshold’.

3. Sometimes you’ll have to go backwards to improve.
If you’ve been exercising hard under the guidance of a personal trainer or pushing yourself in training, you may have already built up a reasonable level of cardiovascular ‘fitness’. However you may still be struggling to shift that stubborn body fat. To do so, you’ll need to slow down, lose some of that cardiovascular ‘fitness’ and instead, tap into your fat (rather than carbohydrate) metabolism. It’s about improving your ‘health’, not your ‘fitness’ to get leaner.

4. Try to burn small amounts of carbohydrate in a furnace of fat metabolism by undertaking extended periods of low intensity exercise.

5. Fasting gives you a head start.

After you’ve had your optimal fat burning zone identified, exercise at that prescribed intensity for at least 30-45 minutes, building up to a maximum duration that suits. Ingest about 20gms of carbohydrate (e.g. about a 1/3rd of a 500ml bottle of Gatorade) every 15-20 minutes. This will help stoke up the fat burning effect of low intensity exercise.

6. Don’t go beyond about 60 minutes before taking in some carbohydrate (i.e. a glucose solution like Gatorade).

7. Time your exercise.

Since fasting gives you a head start, the best time to exercise in order to tap into your fat stores is first thing in the morning. Exercising before breakfast will maximise fat loss.

Apply the guidelines above with appropriate dietary habits and it will only be a matter of time before those unwanted kilos start to melt away!

- Guy Leech
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