Our muscles our designed to burn both carbohydrate and fat. We can alter which fuel we predominately use by changing our meal choices before training, time of day we exercise, the type of exercise we do, and certain supplements taken before and during exercise.
To increase fat burning, the following tips have been shown to work:
- Eat a meal without carbohydrate prior to exercise;
- Exercise first thing in the morning before eating breakfast;
- Develop aerobic fitness - regular low to moderate endurance-type training and high-intensity interval training will both increase our capacity to burn fat during exercise (as will being female, but let's only include variables that are within our control!);
- Prolonged training sessions (over an hour) increase our reliance on fat as a fuel source;
- In some people, caffeine, coffee and green tea taken before exercise (especially in the fasted state) may increase the amount of fat used for fuel;
- The amount of fat used is highly individual and can range between 0.2g-1.4g of fat a minute during exercise at intensities between 30-80% of VO2peak.
BUT do not confuse Fat Burning with Fat Loss
They are not necessarily the same thing.
The only way to reduce fat mass is by creating an energy deficit by eating less energy that your body needs, expending more energy than you consume (exercising and moving more) or both. You cannot lose fat mass by eating more than your body requires.
Successful strategies for fat loss over the long term must emphasize food portion control, higher protein containing foods to increase fullness and preserve muscle mass from being lost when in energy deficit, regular exercise, high levels of physical activity and reduction (or elimination) of highly processed, highly addictive junk food (refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated fats etc).
You can burn all the fat your body is capable of burning but if you consume more than your body needs over a 24-hour period, then you will still gain fat despite being a fat burner!
Click here to sign up to the BFI Level 2 Fat Loss course on 20-21 March 2014