Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and a great way to burn calories. This blog post is going to cover some ways in addition to exercise that you can burn calories and develop a leaner figure.
Number One: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a great tool for fat loss because by shortening your feeding window, you are less likely to overeat, meaning you can more easily establish consistent caloric deficit. This period of negative energy balance, combined with the switch in metabolism from glucose to ketones, promotes the mobilization of fat through fatty acid oxidation and ketones, which serve to preserve muscle mass and function (Anton et al., 2018.) A different study (Moro et al., 2016) also concluded that a fasting program in which all the calories are consumed in an 8 hour window each day, combined with resistance training, can improve some health biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance- trained males.
Number Two: Caffeine
The CYP450 enzyme system of the liver metabolizes caffeine to paraxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine, which increase the breakdown of fat. Caffeine will increase the mobilization of fat and boost ketone production. Ketones are a secondary fuel source your body uses while fasting. When paired with fasting, caffeine will boost ketosis, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure. You do not need to add MCT oil to your coffee to see these benefits.
*MCT oil = Medium Chain Triglycerides which are readily converted to ketones by the liver to be used as a secondary fuel source. They can help “kick-start” ketosis (state of elevated ketone production) though it won’t aid in endogenous (by the body) ketone production. Put simply, they can help put you in ketosis but it’s sort of an artificial way to do it, different from the natural way your body would do it. Ghee and Coconut Oil can also be used as they are rich in MCTs.
Number Three: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Following an exercise session, oxygen consumption (and thus caloric expenditure) remains elevated as the working muscle cells restore physiological and metabolic factors in the cell to pre-existing levels (Zuhl and Kravitz, 2012.) Exercise intensity studies indicate higher excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) values with HIIT training as compared to continuous aerobic training. Furthermore, an increase in the size and number of mitochondria (the “energy factory” of a cell) is becoming a hallmark adaptation with HIIT.
Number Four: Cold Exposure
Cold exposure increases the number of mitochondria in fat, which renders it brown and increases your resting energy expenditure. Brown fat generates heat, and cold exposure activates it. According to a study, increasing the brown adipose tissue (BAT) amount and/or increasing BAT activity can lead to increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure which will be favorable in preventing and managing obesity. Human BAT could be recruited even in individuals who had lost BAT, thereby contributing to body fat reduction (Yoneshiro, et al., 2013.)
Number Five: Low Carb High Fat Diet (LCHF)
A low carb, high fat diet is not the same as a keto diet. Low carb can be defined as under 45% calories from carbs while keto would be under 10% carbs and under 20% protein. According to a notable medical study (Ebbeling et. al, 2018) a low glycemic load, high fat diet might facilitate weight loss maintenance beyond the conventional focus on restricting energy intake and encouraging physical activity. Additionally, triglyceride-derived fatty acid oxidation (very low density lipoproteins or intramuscular triglycerides) plays a role in the increase in fat oxidation on a high-fat diet, but plasma-derived fatty acids remain the major source for fat oxidation (Schrauwen et al., 2000.)
Tying it Together
I recommend combining intermittent fasting with caffeine in the mornings (black coffee, green tea or matcha) after hydrating with water. Adjust macronutrient ratios to higher fat and lower carbs. Expose yourself to mild cold (cold shower, ice bath, cold plunge, etc.) before exercise, since post-exercise cold exposure can reduce the drive for muscular adaptation (hypertrophy). Include HIIT in your workout, and exercise after your first meal. This will support performance and limit the potential loss of muscle mass.
Brown Fat and Browning for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. (2016, February 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768046/
Ebbeling, C. B. (2018, November 14). Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. The BMJ. https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583
Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying Health Benefits of Fasting. (2018, February 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783752/
HIIT vs. Continuous Cardiovascular Exercise. (2012). Https://Www.Unm.Edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/HIITvsCardio.Html.
McAllister, M. (2019, March 23). Put Collagen Powder in Your Coffee! Melissa McAllister. https://melissamadeonline.com/2019/03/21/put-collagen-powder-in-your-coffee
Molecular responses to high-intensity interval exercise. (2009). Https://Cdnsciencepub.Com/Doi/10.1139/H09-046. https://cdnsciencepub.com/action/cookieAbsent
Moro, T., Tinsley, G., Bianco, A., Marcolin, G., Pacelli, Q. F., Battaglia, G., Palma, A., Gentil, P., Neri, M., & Paoli, A. (2016, October 13). Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males. Journal of Translational Medicine. https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0
Schrauwen, P. (2000). Increase in fat oxidation on a high-fat diet is accompanied by an increase in triglyceride-derived fatty acid oxidation. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10871203/#:%7E:text=Twenty%2Dfour%2Dhour%20fat%20oxidation,rest%20(P%20%3C%200.07).