Our bodies have a nearly endless capacity to store fat. Someone that carries 40 pounds of fat on them has over 100,000 fat calories available for fuel. Compare that to glycogen, which your body can only store about 500 grams worth (2,000 calories), and you start to see the importance of learning how to become a better fat burner.
In a perfect world, we would burn fatty acids the majority of the day until our bodies called upon the need for glucose. What needs glucose? High intensity exercise needs glycogen to function, and our brain needs some glucose to operate.
So then, how do we tip the scales in favor of burning fatty acids, and save our glucose for exercise and brain/nervous system function? The following 4 tips can help you become a better fat burner.
Eating too many carbohydrates will cause excessively high insulin levels. While you can still lose fat with moderate levels of insulin present, you will not be able to mobilize as many fatty acids as if you were controlling your carbohydrate intake to what you need.
Eating too many carbs will cause you to upregulate the enzymes needed to metabolize glucose, and downregulate the enzymes necessary for fat metabolism. Focusing your carbohydrate intake around your workouts, and managing insulin levels will start retraining your body to use more fatty acids for fuel.
You’ve probably heard that fasted cardio first thing in the morning will help you burn more fat. While there are some exceptions to this idea, exercising on an empty stomach helps train your body to more efficiently use fat for fuel. When you have low glycogen and blood sugar levels, like you do when you wake in the morning after a night of fasting, you cause your body to up-regulate the enzymes necessary to burn fatty acids for fuel. This adaptation occurs over a period of time, and is one of the reasons why long distance runners will train in a glycogen depleted state and then carbohydrate load before a race.
Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity
Being more insulin sensitive means your body has a better ability to manage your carbohydrate intake. It can metabolize glucose and store glycogen without a lot of insulin. In doing so, you keep your fat metabolism humming right along – training your body to be more efficient at using fat for fuel.
How do you increase your insulin sensitivity? Through proper diet and exercise of course. Eliminating sugar, flour, and other high-glycemic processed carbohydrate sources will make a huge difference. In addition, adding resistance training to your fitness program will help too. 16 weeks of resistance training was accompanied by reduced insulin resistance in type II diabetics .
Increase Your Mitochondria
Mitochondria are where fatty acids go to be oxidized and turned into available energy (ATP). Increasing your mitochondria helps you to burn more fat and do it more efficiently. In order to increase your mitochondria, you first need to provide a reason for your body to manufacture more of them.
You do this by pushing your energy demands up and beyond what’s available to you right now. This stimulus causes a rapid creation of these little cell powerhouses, which in return will help you more efficiently use fatty acids for fuel. Up your intensity and you will be rewarded.
These 4 ways are just a few of the steps you can take to become a better fat burner. Start making the change from being a sugar burner to becoming a better fat burner, and the fat loss results will start to show.