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  • The Simple Steps to Faster Fat Loss

    I love bulking.

    I mean, is there anything better than lifting weights and eating more than you really need?

    In short no.

    The downside is that although bulking offers a fantastic method of gaining muscle, it also comes with accumulation of some fat mass. And while this won't bother everyone, I am personally of the opinion that if you have built some muscle, then you want to be able to show it off.

    Which is where cutting phases enter the equation.

    Now it is important to note that your ability to lose fat is dictated entirely by one thing, and one thing alone -- the ability to maintain a notable daily energy deficit over weeks and months.

    However, while this is simple in principle, it is often easier said than done. Which is why I wanted to outline some simple steps  you can take to make the fat loss process easier.

    1.   Lift weights 2-4 times per week

    Conventional wisdom would suggest that losing fat requires hours upon hours of cardio -- but nothing could be further from the truth.

    See, the amount of energy your body needs to survive (also known as your metabolism) is heavily dictated by the amount of muscle mass you have on your body. The reason being is that muscle mass is considered “active” tissue – in which it needs to use energy to survive.

    As a result, if you maintain or increase your muscle mass (even slightly) you can maintain your metabolism and increase the amount of energy you burn on a daily basis, which will make your fat loss journey easier [1].

    Not to mention the fact that lifting weights itself is exercise, and it will also help you burn energy and get into a calorie deficit.

    2.   Eat more protein

    I understand that me telling you to eat more of something to lose weight might seem a little strange -- but hear me out.

    Protein plays an integral role in recovery after exercise, where it is used to build and repair muscle tissue. If you are lifting weights regularly, then you need enough protein available within your body to recover and build new muscle tissue.

    This will help increase your metabolism, which aids fat loss.

    Moreover, protein has the highest satiety rating of all the macronutrients you eat, which means it will make you feel ‘fuller’ for longer. This means that eating protein throughout the day can reduce hunger cravings and snaking, lowering energy intake [2].

    Lastly, it is important to highlight that protein also has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) of all macronutrients. This means your body has to use energy to break down and digest the protein you eat, which can further drive up energy expenditure [3].

    This eating protein with every meal and replacing small snacks with protein powders offer a great way to facilitate fat loss.

    3.   Sneak in 2-3 HIIT sessions per week

    High intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) simply describes a type of exercise that has you performing short bursts of high intensity aerobic exercise, which are broken up by short bouts of low intensity aerobic exercise.

    With this principle in mind, a simple HIIT session may involve 30 seconds of running at a fairly fast pace (around 80 to 90% of your sprint speed) followed by 60 seconds of light jogging. This could then be completed for 14 bouts (or 21 minutes) for a solid HIIT session.

    The reason HIIT offers a great tool for fat loss is twofold. Firstly, it is super time efficient, and secondly, it not only burns energy during the session, also but after the session has been completed [4].

    Because HIIT places your body under more stress than lower intensity cardio, it has a longer recovery period associated. This increases energy expenditure for up to 48 hours after the session has been completed.

    4.   Avoid liquid calories

    There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that people who consume a lot of sugar sweetened beverages are at an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity – and of course, weight gain.

    Things like soft drinks and fruit juice are full to the brim with sugar, and therefore provide a lot of energy per serve. However, they provide very little satiety – which means that they don't make you feel full after drinking them.

    As a result, they are a really good way to increase your daily energy intake without reducing your snacking throughout the day.

    In short, they should be avoided.

    5.   Place a premium on sleep

    Many people fail to realise that sleep is absolutely essential to optimizing fat loss.

    Poor sleep can wreak havoc with your endocrine system, causing an increase in the secretion of the hormone cortisol [5]. This has been shown to make it more challenging to burn fat for energy, and even decrease your daily energy expenditure -- ruining your ability to lose fat.

    Poor sleep simply makes fat loss very challenging [6].

    As such, you should be aiming for anywhere 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. This will not only have you feeling better, but it will also contribute to your fat loss in a positive manner.

    6.   Sprinkle in some supplements

    Finally, once you have the top five tips sorted, there is merit in pursuing the help of some supplements -- with particular focus on fat burners.

    There are a number of unique compounds that improve your ability to lose fat, which they accomplish via a couple of distinct mechanisms:

    • Increasing fat metabolism
    • Boosting energy expenditure

    Fat metabolism describes the process in which your body breaks down and uses fat for energy.

    Fat burning compounds that accelerate fat metabolism ultimately make this process more efficient. They do this by making your fat more available to be broken down for energy, and by increasing how fast your body breaks down fat for energy.

    This means that more of the energy your body expends will come from fat mass, which can expedite the fat loss process.

    But what about energy expenditure?

    Earlier on in this article I spoke about your metabolic rate, and how this can be impacted upon by muscle tissue. Interestingly, this can also be impacted upon by certain thermogenic compounds.

    In short, these compounds increase the amount of energy your body burns to maintain its normal function. This increases how much energy you burn every day irrespective of your exercise levels -- ultimately making your ability to achieve a daily energy deficit easier.

    Last Points

    To wrap up this article, I want to highlight one key point -- to lose fat, you still need to be in a sustained energy deficit.

    Very simply, an energy deficit describes a state where you consume less energy than you expend on a daily basis.

    If your daily energy requirements to maintain weight are 1500 calories per day and you only consume 1200 calories, you are in an energy deficit of 300 calories per day. It is this deficit of 300 calories that leads to fat loss.

    Now, the tips in this article will not do it all for you. You still need to pay attention to your diet.

    However, they will make getting into a deficit easier -- which is essential to ensuring sustainable and effective fat loss.

     

    References:

    1. Demling, Robert H., and Leslie DeSanti. "Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers." Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 44.1 (2000): 21-29.
    2. Veldhorst, M., et al. "Protein-induced satiety: effects and mechanisms of different proteins." Physiology & behavior 94.2 (2008): 300-307.
    3. Luscombe, N. D., et al. "Effects of energy-restricted diets containing increased protein on weight loss, resting energy expenditure, and the thermic effect of feeding in type 2 diabetes." Diabetes care 25.4 (2002): 652-657.
    4. Tomlin, Dona L., and Howard A. Wenger. "The relationship between aerobic fitness and recovery from high intensity intermittent exercise." Sports Medicine 31.1 (2001): 1-11.
    5. Song, Hong-tao, et al. "Effects of sleep deprivation on serum cortisol level and mental health in servicemen." International Journal of Psychophysiology 96.3 (2015): 169-175.
    6. Thomson, Cynthia A., et al. "Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight?loss intervention trial." Obesity 20.7 (2012): 1419-1425.
  • 4 Ways L-Carnitine Can Support Goals of Muscle, Strength, and Fat Loss

    Everyone is looking for that extra edge when it comes to their health and fitness goals. This doesn't just apply to athletes. Think about it: How would you like to burn more body fat? How about recovering quicker after a tough workout? With goals like this, it's no wonder the supplement industry has become the giant it is.

     

    While there are plenty of 'all talk' supplements, L-Carnitine has the scientific backing to warrant a closer look. Let's take a look at the 4 ways L-Carnitine may be able to boost muscle, strength, and fat loss.

     

    1. Amplifies Fat Burning

    Fat burning is L-Carnitine's most popular benefit, which is the reason you find it in so many supplements. Taken at an appropriate dose, L-Carnitine may be able to seriously amplify fat burning in your body. How's that possible?

     

    L-Carnitine, an amino acid, directly supports the transport of fat into the mitochondria of cells. Once inside the mitochondria, the fat is used for energy.

     

    1. Give Yourself a Brain Boost

    One of the less well known benefits of L-Carnitine is its ability to enhance cognitive function including perceived energy levels, mood, and cognitive performance. How's that possible?

     

    First, studies suggest that L-Carnitine is able to promote the removal of toxins that have built up over time in the body. Second, L-Carnitine may support the release of the brain chemicals noradrenaline and serotonin.

     

    Noradrenaline, more commonly referred to as norepinephrine, stimulates the central nervous system and raises blood pressure. The result is a big boost in focus and alertness.

     

    Serotonin is that 'feel good' chemical in the brain that alleviates symptoms of depress and anxiety.

     

    1. Enhance Recovery

    Who enjoys being so sore the day after a workout that they can't walk? Not many people.

     

    When you want to boost your recovery post-workout, L-Carnitine may be able to help you do it. Studies suggest that supplementing with L-Carnitine may help promote the anabolic environment needed for heightened recovery. This is especially true for muscle building and strength gains.

     

    1. Target Belly Fat

    The 'pooch' or 'beer belly' may be a punchline but its health consequences are anything but funny.

     

    Visceral fat, or belly fat, is a sign of a larger health problem waiting to happen. Those with excess belly fat have been shown to have more cardiovascular health problems than those without.

     

    Lucky for you, L-Carnitine is here to help. Studies suggest that L-Carnitine supplementation may be able to support belly fat loss. Sure, this will improve your physique but, more importantly, it will improve your cardiovascular health.

     

    References

    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.

     

    1. Malek Mahdavi A, Mahdavi R, Kolahi S. Effects of l-Carnitine Supplementation on Serum Inflammatory Factors and Matrix Metalloproteinase Enzymes in Females with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Sep-Oct;35(7):597-603. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

     

    1. Smeland OB, Meisingset TW, Borges K, Sonnewald U. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice. Neurochem Int. 2012 Jul;61(1):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

     

    1. Kang JS, Lee WK, Lee CW, Yoon WK, Kim N, Park SK, Lee HS, Park HK, Han SB, Yun J, Lee K, Lee KH, Park SK, Kim HM. Improvement of high-fat diet-induced obesity by a mixture of red grape extract, soy isoflavone and L-carnitine: implications in cardiovascular and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Sep;49(9):2453-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.06.071. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
  • Types of exercise and fat loss

    One of the biggest issues of the modern society is the promotion of physical inactivity due to the advancements of technologies and social media, which intend to restrict our movements to as little as possible with the world on your fingertips. The physical inactiveness, along with bad diet and deteriorating daily routines are the main causes of the current obesity epidemic and the increasing prevalence of a number of lifestyle related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, cirrhosis, cancers and heart diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an adult to perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise or a combination equivalent of both each week for health benefits. Recent research showed that one needs to perform up to 2-3 times the WHO minimum in order to achieve maximum benefits from exercise. Just doing the number may not be enough though. For many who want to trim, the type of exercise you do can make a difference in how quickly and effectively you can lose fat. One should always tailor their exercise regime based on their goals in order to achieve optimal results.

     

    Resistance training VS Aerobic training

     

    Research has shown that resistance training can improve lean body mass and glucose tolerance. The role of resistance training in fat loss is more debated, some suggested that resistance training could increase resting metabolic rate, hence induce fat loss. However, many of the studies to date found that resistance training doesn't significantly reduce fat mass irrespectively of the resting metabolic rate compared to the placebo. The effect of resistance training on fat mass is therefore inconclusive and resistance training is not effective for fat loss.

     

    On the other hand aerobic training (65% - 80% peak VO2, 150 minutes or 20km equivalent per week) decreases both body weight and fat mass significantly compared to resistance training and is more effective for fat loss.

     

    A combination of resistance training and aerobic training has been found to further promote fat loss in diabetic patients but not in inactive, obese individuals compared to doing aerobic training alone. However, combing resistance training and aerobic training has been found to significantly decrease waist circumference compared to resistance training alone.

     

    High intensity aerobic interval training VS continuous moderate intensity aerobic training

     

    High intensity aerobic interval training (~90% VO2) can increase fat oxidation in a very short period and can significantly reduce blood lipid levels compared to continuous moderate intensity aerobic training (VO2 65% - 75%). It also burns more calories than continuously moderate aerobic training and has a higher post exercise energy expenditure. High intensity aerobic interval training has been shown to require only 50% - 60% of the time to achieve the same gain in fitness compared to moderate intensity aerobic training. However, it is more prone to injury due to the increased intensity and harder for people to adhere to the training program.

     

    Interestingly, one recently study by Keating et al. 2014 published in the Journal of Obesity suggested that although high intensity aerobic interval training is effective at fat loss and improves fitness, continuous moderate intensity aerobic training is better at improving fat distribution independently of weight loss in previously inactive, overweight adults.

     

    Taken all the information together, the best way to lose fat and gain good body shape is to combine high intensity aerobic interval training with moderate intensity aerobic training and resistance training. Balance is key. Talk to your fitness professional to properly plan your exercise regime in order to prevent overtraining and injuries and to achieve maximum benefits.

  • Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio

    An advanced in-depth analysis of the myth surrounding fasted cardio for fat loss. Part 2 of the Myths Under the Microscope series.
  • The 10 Laws of Fat Loss

    Follow these 10 “laws” of fat loss and you are guaranteed a leaner physique!
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