How to Exercise and Lose Fat Fast
Have you got a gut that you can’t seem to get rid of? You work out constantly, but it never seems to go away? You eat healthy food and follow a good diet, but it doesn’t help? Or do you know someone who constantly exercises and can’t lose belly fat? Do you want to know how to exercise and lose body fat? There is a way.
“Lose Fat Fast” Fad Diets
Have you tried the Lose Belly Fat in 5 Days diet, the Lose Belly Fat in 1 Week diet, or what about the Best Exercise Plan to Lose Belly Fat Diet? What about the Best Foods to Lose Belly Fat diet or the 10 Foods to Eat to Lose Belly Fat diet? How about all of the exercises to lose stomach fat that you’ve tried?
There are about a million different diets and exercise plans out there that promise you that they will help you lose belly fat. The fact of the matter is that your body burns fat all over when it is burning fat. And so many diets tell you that you should eat this food or not eat that food to burn belly fat.
The truth is that it’s not what you are eating, but when you are eating it that is sabotaging all of your good efforts to lose fat during a workout.
You see, our bodies can be programmed to burn different types of fuel. We can burn all three types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Which one we burn depends on a number of factors, but timing which macronutrients (or “macros”) you eat in relation to when you exercise is the key to teaching your body what you want it to do.
It isn’t magic learning how to exercise and reduce your fat quickly – it’s just learning to time your nutrients.
How Muscles Get Fuel
Muscles rely primarily on a substance called glycogen, which is a special form of glucose that is made from carbohydrates. Muscles have their own glycogen stores that no other system in the body can access. If a person has eaten sufficient carbohydrates, these glycogen stores are full and it takes about 1.5-2 hours of intensive exercise to burn them off. Muscles can also make use of glucose in the bloodstream, but it is not nearly as efficient as stored glycogen.
If glycogen stores have been depleted, the body will turn to fat to fuel itself, but it doesn’t really like to do this unless it has had time to adjust. This is why you have to train your muscles over time to use fat as their primary source of energy. Once you have trained your muscles to use fat, you have achieved the simple trick of how to lose belly fat.
Only once glycogen stores have been depleted and the body has been relying solely on fat for an extended period of time, as in the case of starvation, will your body start to break down proteins in order to fuel itself. So, the trick here is to get your body to burn fat when you want it to, but still provide it with enough carbohydrates on a regular basis so that you do not experience a starvation response. The National Institute of Health has a great scientific article about the starvation response.
Our goal here is go get your body to burn belly fat, but stop before it starts scavenging muscle to feed itself. That is what happens during starvation, and we definitely want to avoid this. We are trying to learn how to exercise and lose belly fat, not exercise and starve yourself to death.
How to Program Your Body to Burn Fat
If you are a person who wants to exercise and lose body fat, your glycogen stores should be low before you begin your workout. The optimal time to do this is first thing in the morning, because our glycogen stores are low when we wake up.
Eating carbs prior to working out causes insulin to be produced and that limits the body’s ability to break down fat. Obviously, this is not the best way lose belly fat quickly since you can’t burn as much fat. Therefore, you will want to be sure not to eat carbs prior to your workout. In fact, you will get the best results if you eat a low carb dinner the night before your workout, have no snacks that night, and then exercise without breakfast the next morning.
As you approach glycogen depletion in your workout, your body will realize that it needs to make more glucose (fuel) and it will start to produce it through a process called gluconeogenesis (gluco=glucose, neo=new, genesis=creation). In the absence of carbohydrates, the body goes next to fat for its fuel source. Being able to switch from one fuel source to the other is known as metabolic flexibility. This is not a very effective way to produce fuel, so you will probably be feeling a bit fatigued during your workout.
This might make it tough a first when you are beginning this regimen, but studies have shown that consistent training in a low glycogen state will cause the body to produce higher levels of enzymes that are responsible for fat metabolism. Additionally, over the long-term, your body will become far more efficient at utilizing fat for energy, so it will be able to perform longer without fatigue in the absence of carbohydrates.
Many endurance athletes know this trick and use this type of conditioning to better prepare them for races. They call it “training low and racing high.” The high and low refer to the carbohydrate intake. The idea is that they get their bodies used to performing in the absence of carbohydrates, so when their highly carbed-up bodies exhaust glycogen in a race, their bodies automatically switch to fat burning and they don’t tire out like people who are carb-dependent do.
A Word of Caution
When you have learned how to exercise and reduce your body fat rapidly, your body is operating on low fuel stores. If you experience symptoms of dizziness, headache, blurred vision, loss of coordination or heart palpitations, you are likely experiencing severe hypoglycemia. If this happens to you, consume simple carbohydrates ASAP. That means you have pushed yourself too far and you need to get sugar to your body to prevent getting seizures or in very extreme cases, death.
Each person is different, so before you begin working out in a low glycogen state, be sure you have sweet food at the ready in case you find that you have gone too far. Most people are able to tolerate working in a low-glycogen state and will only notice minor things like irritability, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
As always, it is wise to consult a physician before beginning a new exercise routine – especially if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.
What About All the Stuff I’ve Heard About “Carbing-up” Before a Workout?
How and what you eat before and during your workout should be determined by your goals. If fat loss is your goal, the last thing you want to do is increase your carbohydrate intake before and during a workout, because this teaches the body that it has plenty of carbs available and that it should focus on burning them. Those are your muscles’ favorite food source, remember?
Now, if you are a performance athlete, carbing-up before and during a workout is totally the way to go. Most people who are performance athletes are not looking to quickly reduce body fat, however, as they are usually in pretty good shape already.
If fat loss is your goal, remember that working out in a glycogen deficit (where the body has had very few carbs) is the trick. You certainly aren’t going to be out-doing other people around you doing the same thing if they are carb-loaded, but that isn’t your goal. You want to lose fat, so stick with the program even if everyone around you is performing better. That is to be expected.
Once your goal is no longer to lose belly fat (and other body fat) since you are down to your ideal weight, then you can start carbing-up pre-workout and redirect your goals towards performance.
Reward Your Body with Carbs Post-Workout
After working out in a glycogen-depleted state, your muscles need carbohydrates to rebuild glycogen stores. This is a super important step to lose fat fast, so don’t skip it! Don’t worry about carbs making you fat when you eat after a workout, because they go straight to your muscle. In fact, eat as many carbs as you can immediately following your workout. The best time is within the first hour, but your body can still do a good job at converting carbs to glycogen stores for 4-6 hours post-workout.
The best foods to eat in the first hour following a workout are simple carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. Try to grab those as a snack and then follow up with a meal full of complex carbohydrates like whole grains thereafter.
Be sure to consume lots of lean proteins as well in the post-workout phase, because the carbs are stimulating insulin production and insulin helps to stimulate the uptake of amino acids along with glucose. This is an ideal time for the body to build muscle mass.
You might notice that you seem to gain a little weight when you eat a lot of carbs post-workout, but don’t confuse that with fat weight gain. In order for the body to store carbs as glycogen, a lot of water is involved. This keeps your muscles well hydrated and healthy. This is normal and will not interfere with your fat or overall weight loss.
In fact, the stronger and healthier your muscles become, the higher your resting metabolism will be (that means you burn more calories while sitting still than you would if you had not developed your muscles). Be patient. After learning how to exercise and lose fat fast – the right way – the numbers on the scale will start to come down as the fat melts away.