Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Looking for energy

In the past, we have seen that one of the best ways to burn fat is to do cardio in the morning (before breakfast). However, there is a “risk” in this approach, which I will use as an excuse to give you the general theory.

Put simply, aerobic activities burn fat for fuel, while the anaerobic ones (like weight training) “prefer” carbs (glucose). Apart from the foods we have recently consumed, the body also maintains reserves for these nutrients. The carb storage is the glycogen found in muscles and in the liver, which the body converts to glucose. As for the fat storage, we all know where that is.

So, cardio is preferred to burn fat (through a process called Krebs Cycle). There is one issue though: fat burning doesn’t commence immediately. The body burns carbs first, and only when they are depleted, it will move to burning fat.

In the morning, all carb storages – stomach, muscle glycogen, liver glycogen, blood sugar (glucose) – are relatively empty. Thus, the body will start burning fat more quickly. Roughly speaking, this will take 5-10 minutes, so the rest of the time the main energy source will be bodyfat.

There is however an organ that can’t use fat for energy (not even the fat byproducts, called ketones). This organ is none other than the brain, which demands glucose to function properly.

The body doesn’t have a mechanism to make glucose from fat. In the absence of carbs, this glucose must be created from protein – meaning your muscles!

You can deal with this problem in two ways. First, you should limit your cardio to 45 minutes tops. Second, you should have a small protein source before exercising – for example, put some milk in your coffee, or eat an egg white.

Besides, as we have already discussed you should limit your carbs all day long. That’s why your weight sessions should be infrequent and short.

In this way, you will slowly transform your body to a muscular fat-burning machine.

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