In Nigeria, eight of out ten women who exercise do so because they want to lose weight. In this post, I want to show you two simple ways to turn your body into a fat-burning machine so that you can finally lose weight and feel good.
Two Simple Ways To Turn Your Body Into A Fat-Burning Machine
#1 Become Metabolically Flexible
One of the reasons some people are always eating/hungry is because they lack METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY.
A lack of metabolic flexibility will make it difficult for your body to metabolise fat for energy efficiently. The implication of that is, your body has to always rely more on glucose (carbohydrates) to fuel cellular activities. Even though you have tons of energy stored as fat, you don't have the metabolic flexibility to access the energy. So you eat and eat and gain weight.
One's ability for metabolic flexibility is dependently on the function of the mitochondria — the powerhouse of the cells.
If your body can metabolise fat efficiency, you will have the flexibility to switch fuel sources throughout the day. What that means is you won't always be hungry (you won't get hungry as soon as your last meal disappears from your stomach). Your body will be able to switch to the fat-burning mode, instead of relying on carbohydrates at all times.
Everyone can store fat, but not everyone can efficiently utilise the fat they have stored. The reason is that some people don't have the metabolic flexibility to burn fat once they store it. So even though these people have tons of calories stored as fat, they can't access the energy when needed because they don't have the metabolic flexibility to switch fuel sources easily. These people always have to rely on a constant supply of energy from foods. So they eat all day long and continue to gain weight.
When it comes to losing weight, your body's ability to switch fuel sources is critical.
How To Become Metabolically Flexible
Increase your mitochondrial density through specialised exercise training.
We all know that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells. Because fat oxidation (fat metabolism or fat-burning) happens in the mitochondria of the cells, the more mitochondria you have, the higher your body's ability to burn fat. The opposite is also true; low mitochondrial density leads to metabolic inflexibility.
When you increase your cell's mitochondrial density, you're turning your body into a fat-burning machine. You become efficient at switching fuel sources so that when exogenous calories are not available (calories from foods), your body is flexible enough to change to the endogenous calories (the calories it has stored as fat).
The best and most effective way to increase mitochondrial density is through Zone 2 Training. Don't let the name scare you; you're already familiar with this type of training. What you need now is to understand how it affects your body's fat-burning ability and how to use it to your advantage.
Zone 2 Training is an aerobic/cardio workout (walking, running or cycling) that you do at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate (HRmax) for an extended duration. When doing a Zone 2 training, you should be able to sustain the effort for 45-90 minutes.
During a Zone 2 training, your body is at its FATmax (the maximal fat oxidation or fat-burning rate). Because most of the energy need for this type of training comes from fat, the more you do it, the better fat-adapted your body becomes. In other words, you become metabolically flexible. What that means is that your body can switch between fuel sources easily. If no exogenous calories are coming in, you can easily tap into the energy already stored as fat. When you can do this efficiently, you don't get hungry every 1-2 hours.
Doing Zone 2 Training
The proper way to track your Zone 2 Training is by using a heart rate monitor because the training is based on heart rate zones.
The best three exercises for Zone 2 Training are brisk walking, easy run or cycling done at a sustained effort for 45-90 minutes. The keyword here is sustained.
Whether you choose to do a brisk walk, run or ride a bicycle, you should be able to maintain the workload or pace for 45-90 minutes. If after five minutes, the effort feels like, "I don't know how long I can hold this" you're training beyond your zone 2 level. And if after 45 minutes you feel like, "I can do this all day" you're training below your zone 2 level.If you wear a rate monitor, your zone 2 heart rate should be between 50-70% of your HRmax (Maximum Heart Rate).
I recommend that you wear a heart rate monitor. That way, you can adjust your pace based on the feedback you get from your device. If you don't have a heart rate monitor, you can use the RPE scale (the rating of perceived exertion scale) to determine your zone 2 effort.
Using A Heart Rate Monitor
First, calculate your maximum heart rate (HRmax)
Then calculate 50-70% of your from your HRmax to determine the beats per minutes for your Zone 2 Training.
I wear a heart monitor, and I do my Zone 2 Training at 60-70% of my HRmax.
Using The Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale
On a scale of one to ten, where one is very easy, and ten is the maximum effort, the zone 2 effort will around four to six.
If you don't have a heart rate monitor, you can use the RPE scale (the rating of perceived exertion scale) to determine your zone 2 effort
Sample Zone 2 Training
45-90 minutes of brisk walking. 3-4 times a week.
Zone 2 Training should be part of your workout regimen. If you work out 4-6 times a week, 2-3 of those should be Zone 2 workouts.
#2 Keep Your Body In Fat-Burning Mode At Night
The human body is designed to switch between fat-burning and fat-storing modes within the daily 24hour cycle. If everything is in balance, our body can seamlessly do the task, and that helps us stay within the healthy weight range. However, when the body is continuously in the fat-storing mode, we gain weight.
You may be asking, "What causes the body to stay in the fat-storing mode?"
Here's the answer: Constant supply of food!
When there's an abundance of calories coming in, our body cannot switch to the fat-burning mode. So it continues to store fat 24/7.
here's time to everything; time to feed and time to abstain from food. When the feeding time extends beyond what your body can cope with, it becomes difficult for it to make the switch between storing and burning fat. That's why practising time-restricted feeding is essential.
When you limit your food intake to the human biological day, you give your body the chance to switch to the fat-burning mode at night.
Physiologically, our body is equipped to handle food well during the day because that's when insulin sensitivity is at its highest.
As the day gives way to night, insulin sensitivity becomes low so that the body can start releasing the hormones that help us to repair, rebuild and rejuvenate. As the body enters this fasted state, it switches to the fat-burning mode.
This biological process is disrupted each time you eat at the wrong time of the day. Remember that insulin sensitivity is low at night. So when you're a habitual late-night eater, your body stays in the fat-storing and you are at risk of becoming insulin resistant — one of the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance is the inability to lose weight.
Solution: Practice time-restricted feeding. Eat during the human biological day and fast during the day night. That's how the human body is designed to work. Stop fighting against your biology.
The human body is designed to switch between fat-burning and fat-storing modes within the daily 24hour cycle
A quick recap:
In case you didn't have the patience to read the who article, here's a quick recap of the two simple things you can do to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
- Do Zone 2 Training to become metabolically flexible
- Practice time-restricted feeding to keep your body in fat-burning mode at night
If you consistently do the two things explained in the post, you'll not only lose weight; you'll also become healthier.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading and commenting.