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Hey Life Warriors!
Let’s not kid ourselves; the pillars of fat loss remain the same (calorie deficit, sufficient protein, active lifestyle and combined strength/cardio training), but there are ways to speed up the process. All of these ways to burn fat you did not know about, are backed by science (we’ll attach links to the studies) and, while they won’t allow you to skip the basics, they will help you optimise your process. Let’s go for it!
Most of the information in this article is taken from this phenomenal podcast by Andrew Huberman, a reference in neuroscience and a great communicator.
1. Mindset / Knowledge
An interesting study by Alia Crum and Ellen Langer of Stanford University revealed the following: the mere fact of explaining to a group of female employees of a hotel chain that their work activity per se already made them meet the recommended daily physical activity requirements, and explaining to them the health benefits of maintaining this daily physical activity, made them improve, without any change in their behavior, in the following health indicators: weight, blood pressure, body fat, hip-to-waist ratio and body mass index.
In other words, understanding the mechanisms by which the body burns fat will make you lose more fat. To help you do this, we’re going to tell you some things maybe you did not know:
– The body stores fat in the form of triglycerides, which accumulate in adipose tissue. In order to get rid of these stores, we first need to mobilise them. This process involves breaking down these triglycerides into two components: glycerol and free fatty acids. The free fatty acids pass into the bloodstream and are transported to the muscle tissues for use. The glycerol will be mostly absorbed by the liver to synthesise glycogen again (in a process called gluconeogenesis).
– A great ally in the mobilisation of triglycerides is adrenaline. This hormone accelerates this process, and we can help our body release adrenaline in a number of ways, which we will explain below.
There are probably people around you who seem not to put on weight no matter what and how much they eat. They are those people who we perceive as very nervous, who never stop moving and who are usually of a very slim build.
There is a reason why these people don’t put on weight, and it’s called “fidgeting”. What is fidgeting? It’s all those unconscious movements we do such as moving our legs while sitting, tapping our fingers on the table, moving small objects with our hands (pens, balls of paper, etc.).
In this study, providing different individuals with chairs and other devices that promoted fidgeting resulted in energy expenditure increases of between 20% and 30%. In this other study, fidgeting was associated with a decreased risk of mortality associated with sedentary lifestyles. Fidgeting is something you should try 😉.
3. Soleus push ups
This part is very much related to the previous one, but perhaps goes a step further. This study showed how performing this simple exercise, (which consists of raising your heels while seated with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle) was more effective at maintaining an elevated oxidative metabolism (the way the body uses oxygen to burn blood sugar or fat) than any other commonly used method, more efficient than weight loss, intermittent fasting and, yes, conventional exercise.
But why precisely this exercise with this muscle? There is something very surprising about the soleus: Hamilton explains that, when activated correctly (for example, with this particular exercise), it uses glucose and blood fats as fuel, rather than glycogen, which is primarily used by other muscles. This lack of dependence on glycogen allows the soleus to work for hours, unlike other muscles, which deplete their reserves in a relatively short time.
Beware, this is not to say that you should stop training and just kick your heels up while watching Netflix marathons. Conventional exercise has many other benefits that you won’t get from soleus push ups, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the participants in the study performed the exercise for very long periods of time (more than four hours at a time). Of course, to get similar benefits to those described in the study, you’d have to spend the same amount of time as in the study, but don’t obsess. You can get benefits with less time. Just do it whenever you can and remember to do it.
This is a not very comfortable, but very effective way to provoke an adrenaline rush that mobilises our fat deposits. It consists of exposing ourselves to the cold in a sudden and short way: a bath in cold water or a cold shower. The aim is not to adapt to the cold, because if we do not shiver, the adrenaline rush we are looking for does not occur, so these protocols should not be performed on a regular basis.
The quickest and easiest way is to jump into a cold shower for 1 to 3 minutes. The water temperature should be cold enough to make us feel uncomfortable and want to get out of there, but not so cold that we have a heart attack…
You can download free of charge different protocols for exposure to cold through this link.
Caffeine is another good way to promote the release of adrenaline, and it is a supplement that we can access in many different ways: coffee, tea, energy drinks, pills, sports supplements…
In a previous post we explained the mechanism by which caffeine keeps us awake and alert (click here if you missed it), and it is important to keep these mechanisms in mind if you decide to use caffeine as an aid in your fat loss process:
– Taking a lot of caffeine will have a noticeable effect at first, but the body will tend to adapt and you will need more and more of it to get the same effect. It is important to take periodic breaks to avoid these adaptations from happening.
– Be careful about drinking caffeine after lunchtime, as it stays in the body for longer than we think (hours) and although you may be able to fall asleep without problems, the quality of that sleep will not be the best.
In short: now that you know how to mobilise and utilise your fat stores, if you can generate an adrenaline release that mobilises them, utilise that fat through fidgeting, your daily steps, exercise, etc. and do this while maintaining a moderate calorie deficit, the magic is likely to happen….
We hope that these five tools will help you on the difficult road to losing weight. If so, please share them with others! 😊