Tuesday Tip: Fat burning isn’t Fat loss 🔥
Many of you will be familiar with fitness trackers that tell you how much of your work out was in ‘fat burning’ mode etc. You’ll also see workouts and supplements marketed as ‘fat burning’. What’s important to remember is fat burning and fat loss are not the same thing.
Fat is a great energy store for the body – a a lean adult man can store around 130,000 cals in fat (enough to survive for 65 days) but of course too much fat is bad for your health. In order to lose fat those fat stores need to be mobilised and used as energy (or burnt). The fat is broken down and released as fatty acids into the blood stream, where it’s transported to the tissues requiring energy and it is oxidised to create ATP to fuel the tissue.
In simple terms fat cells have two receptors – alpha and beta which influence fat loss. Alpha receptors tell the cell to store fat, beta ones tell it to break it down and release it. Essentially the goal is to stimulate the beta receptors to break fat down and inhibit the alpha receptors so they’re less likely to store fat. Exercise (at certain levels) can stimulate the beta receptors through the release of adrenaline and related hormones. Hence the ‘fat burning’ zone during workouts. The alpha receptors are inhibited by diet, exercise and possibly some supplements.
So that’s great – you can do your workout, burn fat… but that won’t necessarily mean you also lose body fat. Because you STILL need to be in a negative energy balance (calorie deficit) to then actually lose body fat because otherwise the food you’re eating will just be stored as fat, replacing what’s been burnt. Using fat as a fuel and losing body fat aren’t the same thing. If you burn fat through exercise or some expensive supplement but are still eating more than your burn you won’t lose body fat. If you eat less than you burn you will definitely lose fat – irrespective of being in a ‘fat burning’ zone/workout or not because you’ll need the fuel.
So don’t focus on that ‘fat burning’ zone or workout – instead exercise for enjoyment and health, and focus on the food side of things for fat loss.
Happy Tuesday 🤗