Tag: metabolism

What’s The Difference in Burning Calories and Fat?

In my last article I wrote about what calories are, in this one, I will explain what happens when we burn calories and fat. We hear and use the expression “burning calories” and “burning fat” all the time, but how many of you actually know what this means?

We know that we burn calories when we exert ourselves.

We know if we consume more than we burn, we will get fat.

But, when you ask people what actually happens in your body when you burn calories or fat, you will often be met with a blank stare.

When you lose weight, where does the lost body fat go?

In short, it helps to remember that fat is basically stored energy in your body. During the day when you are moving about, or even at rest, your body converts fat to usable energy for your muscles and other tissues through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes your fat cells to shrink. These metabolic processes generate heat, which helps maintain your body temperature, and waste products. These waste products are water and carbon dioxide, which are excreted in your urine and sweat or exhaled from your lungs.

Are these two women burning calories or are they burning fat?

Is there a difference between these terms?

This is a simple fact for all of us, to lose weight and get in shape you have to commit yourself to maintaining a good diet coupled with regular exercise in order to burn that unsightly body fat. The first thing you must comprehend about a physical fitness regimen is that just because you are burning through calories, it does not mean you are burning fat. It takes about twenty minutes of moderate exercise for your body to get into the fat burning stage. You will not burn even an ounce of fat until you have exhausted your glycogen stores. If you want your exercise to be meaningful to your overall health, your main focus when you exercise should on burning body fat. You simply can’t lose body fat just from burning calories.

When we exercise, for it to have much benefit we must get our heart rate into the fat burning zone for a minimum of twenty minutes before we start burning body fat for energy.  Of course our bodies will start burning calories from the start, however the calories we burn are from the carbohydrates in our system.

For weight loss, it is not enough to just burn through calories alone!

In order to burn calories from your body fat stores, your body requires the presence of oxygen. There is a certain amount of oxygen that your body needs in order to start burning fat and the only way for you to measure the amount needed for your own body is to keep up with your target heart rate during exercise. We have seen on more than a couple of weight loss sites where they allow their clients to figure into their caloric needs the calories burned through activities such as cleaning house. Unless you are huffing and puffing when pushing your vacuum cleaner around your house, these calories burned are pretty insignificant towards losing body fat. It irritates me to no end that these businesses who promote this actually do know, or damn well should know, this kind of calorie burn is next to meaningless. If pushing a vacuum cleaner did not help their clients to never gain weight, this activity is not going to help them lose that weight either.

Understand this, if you only burn calories from carbohydrates, you will lose almost exclusively “water weight”, this actually leads to a decrease in your metabolism instead of an increase.

When you begin an exercise regimen of any type your diet and exercise become a balancing act. The calories burned from carbohydrates are your energy calories. You must manage your caloric intake when you are on an exercise program to replace your burned energy calories. A common mistake that people make is when they reduce their caloric intake too far. They manage to slow down their metabolism when they actually need to increase it. This is why we advise to adjust your daily intake of calories for only a one to two pound maximum of weight loss per week. If you need to lose faster than this, you really should consider doing so only under the supervision of a doctor.

Burning Fat Calories during Exercise

When we exercise, our body goes through a few stages before it reaches the point where we are actually burning body fat. For the most part, you are only burning sugar (carbohydrates) and little to no fat during about the first 20 minutes of exercise.  You have to get your heart rate into the fat burning zone  past the 20 minute mark if you want to burn fat. And, you must increase your intake of oxygen in order to burn that fat. If you are not working out hard enough for your body to want more oxygen, or conversely, if you are working out too hard, you can”t supply your body with enough oxygen for fat burning.

When you do cardio exercise, you must move at a steady pace so your body will utilize your stored fat as its energy source. You must also bear in mind that once you have reached the fat burning stage, it does not necessarily  mean you will stay there. Remaining in the fat burning zone depends on you moving at a pace that is right for your body. Make sure that you are within your target heart rate range.

If you can speak easy, your heart rate needs to increase.

If you can carry on a labored conversation, you are in the fat burning zone.

If you cannot speak, you have gone anaerobic and need to slow down your pace as you are no longer burning fat because of a lack of oxygen to your muscles.

Burning Fat Calories at Rest

Could burning fat while at rest be any better of an option?

Sounds like a  fantastic idea for the lazy among us I would guess. However, in order to burn fat while at rest comes from paying your dues to the resistance exercise, weight training either with weights or your body weight.

The way for you to continue to burn fat calories at rest takes effort beforehand. This is possible through the anaerobic exercise of weight training.

Weight training is the key to burning fat at rest.

Weight training is an anaerobic activity that will cause you to burn more calories than aerobic exercise.

The calories that you are burning during a weight training session are mostly calories from carbohydrates. However, the calories you burn at rest afterwards are mostly from fat. The scientific and biological reason you are burning fat at rest after weight training is because it increases your metabolism which uses your stored fat as energy.  When you boost your metabolism at rest,  you will be more efficient at burning fat calories.

How is this possible?

Muscles grow through protein synthesis, which is one of the most energy consuming processes in the cell . If you’re building muscles, it is not just the workout itself but also the growth of muscles that consumes energy and burns calories. Additionally, muscle tissue is metabolically more active and burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscles you have, the bigger your resting energy expenditure, which means that your body burns more calories and fat “while doing nothing”.

Live well, Be Well!

Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone!

Ladies, Forget About Getting Bulky from Strength Training

Resistance training with weights is the best form of exercise for anyone, male or female. Yet far too often women will shy away from it. Besides maybe a lack of knowledge on how to proceed with a good strength training program, many women shun it because they are afraid of getting too bulky. News flash; You will never get bulky from lifting weights on accident. Weight training takes a considerable amount of work even for men to get bulky. The female body does not produce the testosterone to do so. If you think you will become bulky, lose your femininity, and look like a freak, it will be only because at some point you made the conscious decision to become a She-Hulk. It will never just happen. But what will happen is you will become mentally stronger as well as physically. Your self esteem and sense of self worth will increase as you begin to enjoy your new look. Ladies, strength training will improve your life in countless ways as every time you get under the iron, you will feel more and more formidable. It is guaranteed to make you better across the full spectrum of your life.

Why care about muscles?

When it comes to weight loss, many of you on on too large a caloric deficit and  lose muscle along with the fat you are losing.

This is not a good thing!

It will only serve to keep you at a high body fat percentage even if you have hit your goal weight. The loss of muscle will slow your metabolism and also make you weaker.

This is a fact.

And then, if you regain the weight you have lost without also replacing the lost muscle, your body fat will only be at a higher percentage than before and therefore your metabolism will be slowed even more. And when you yo-yo diet, you are only compounding the problem with each and every up and down cycle you take your body through this insanity. Any time you lose your lean muscle mass, you are only making yourself physically weaker. At some point there could be severe consequences from not maintaining lean muscle mass.

We all know that our muscles give us the power to lift heavy objects, whether it is a bag full of groceries or a crying baby we need to comfort. They give us the power to stroll around the zoo with our children and or grandchildren, and the ability to accomplish a multitude of fun activities. None of these activities require us to be star athletes, but they do require a modicum of strength and endurance to take part in. You need, and should desire that your muscles have the ability to accomplish the basic functions of life and then some. Yet many, lose these simple abilities that most of us took for granted before our nation’s obesity problem became an epidemic. Resistance training is of great importance for a healthy body, while hormones are directly responsible for a large portion of your metabolism, your muscles ramp up your ability to burn off unhealthy and undesirable fat, your muscles will expedite the burning of calories while at work or when at rest.

Our body’s lean muscle mass give us the metabolic ability to more efficiently burn calories every time we move. This is true whether we are under the iron, swimming in a pool, or even just getting up and pushing a vacuum cleaner around our living room. Our lean muscle is constantly burning calories, therefore, the more you have, the more calories you will burn even at rest. A simple factoid for you; Our muscles will burn 40 to 120 calories a day just to sustain it’s existence, while fat will only feed on 1 to 3 calories per day. That is a pretty stark contrast between the two components of our body’s. Just by adding about 16 ounces of lean muscle mass to your body  , about enough to fill a soda pop bottle, your metabolism will continue to increase your ability to burn off body fat.

Ladies, when you think of strength training, no matter the form in mind, forget the idea of becoming the female equivalent to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not going to happen without a lot of hours expended in the gym, and then only with the help of illegal steroids. You are not going to bulk up, but your muscles will appear fuller as your body fat decreases. This will make you look as healthy as you will feel with your newfound body.

By focusing on compound muscle groups in your workouts, and following the right workout plan, you will firm up and stimulate the amount of growth your body requires to burn more calories each day. The best thing is, you do not need expensive equipment or gym memberships in order to realize a difference. You can accomplish everything you need from the comfort of your own home while using your own body weight to get there. If you have questions about strength training, Brenda Sue would be happy to answer them. I began training her in free weights a year and a half ago. When she began, she could only dead lift about 50 pounds. She recently dead lifted 215 pounds. And she has not become a bulky She-Hulk, nor has she lost any of her femininity in the process. Despite me now referring to her as the “Beast of Bama”, she is still a proud and petite Southern Belle in all aspects of how she lives and conducts her life.