Although losing weight and burning fat is as simple as using more calories than you consume each day, it’s all in what you eat and how you exercise. When you use more energy than you take in from food and drink, your body burns stored fat and carbohydrates, and then even protein, to fuel your everyday activities even if you are not exercising and how much of each of them depends on your physical activity and if, or what you have eaten recently.
Your body uses nutrients in different ways. Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source and it’s the nutrient the body favours to fuel exercise, but too much can lead to weight gain. Whereas protein helps to build muscle, which in turn leads to a higher metabolism. The body also burns more calories metabolising protein than it burns to metabolise carbs or fat. And fat supports vitamin absorption and helps manufacture hormones, by weight it also contains more than double the calories of carbs and protein, so too much and the body just stores it.
Your total calorie burn will be greater when you exercise at high intensities, your body relies on both fat and carbohydrate stores for energy in relatively equal measure as intensity increases, your body turns predominantly to easily accessed carbohydrates (glycogen) for quick energy. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout performed at high to maximum intensity, with running, cycling and circuit training as the typical activities and as it is impossible to work at near-maximum effort for long, usually a HIIT session lasts anywhere up to 20 minutes. The advantage of this kind of training is that you will get the same calorie burn off in say 15 minutes that you would in an hour with a low intensity workout, good if you are short of time.
Your body burns fat stores more efficiently when exercising at low to moderate intensities, which could be any exercise you like that gets your heart pumping – a gym session, running outdoors, a bike ride, swim session, etc.
When it comes to burning fat, body composition makes all the difference as muscle burns calories more than fat, even when at rest, so the more muscle mass you hold the better. So by simply toning up and changing the balance of your unique body composition from less fat to more muscle will help with weight loss. Resistance training is the best way to build muscle and a strength training programme, specifically designed for weight loss, combined with a cardio routine will help you shed pounds and develop muscle tone rather than bulk.
Regular exercise can help you burn fat and lose weight. Not only are you burning off those calories but you are also making adaptations to your body when you exercise on a regular basis which lead directly to your ability to burn more fat without even trying. The more activity you engage in, the more calories you’ll burn, and the easier it is to create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight. So it’s a fact, if you want to burn more fat, you have to work at it. Your personal trainer can advise on an exercise and diet program to suit your specific needs.