Note to Self- Use Body Fat as Power Fuel

In these times of life on speed it gets strangely difficult to fully notice personal assets. The daily tumult makes us pay attention to anything but ourselves, and sometimes it would definitely make a difference. I’ll say “body fat” and I think I rest my case. Why, you wonder? It’s easy: don’t lose your body fat, use it!

The term “fat burning” is often referred to as weight loss. Other connotations are decrease in body fat and increases in lean body mass, and of course, each and every one of them is an advantage. What it actually refers to is the process of oxidizing/ burning fat, this way using it as power fuel. Elite runners build their workouts on the principle of fat burning, especially when the carbohydrates level lowers.

The first explanation for this process is that fat not only resides in the adipose tissue but also in the muscles. At the debut of training, fatty acids are activated this way moving from the adipose tissue towards the muscle. Runners have more of intramuscular fat and they use it as energy source for their training. Still, fatty acids are not independent. Among other elements, their transport relies on the blood supply that enables the process.

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Fat oxidation is a complex process that is influenced by a series of factors. Firstly and the most important, the intensity of your training directly influences the process of fat burning. What happens is that carbohydrate oxidation increases with exercise intensity, while the rate of fat oxidation only increases initially but decreases at higher intensities. Your conclusion is correct: it is not always indicated to train at low intensities in order to oxidize fat, although for a long time it was thought this was the case.

Another essential factor is diet. Carbohydrates repress fat oxidation, therefore a diet low in carbohydrate will lead to high fat oxidation levels. Since the input of carbohydrates right before exercise inhibits fat oxidation, it became common for endurance athletes to skip breakfast before the morning workout. This way, the fat-oxidative ability of the muscle is stimulated.

Duration of exercise is also a key factor. When workout progresses, oxidation increases proportionally. Fat oxidation can reach high values, such as 1 gram per minute during intense training.

Mode of exercise is equally important.The way you exercise has a clear effect on fat oxidation. Fat oxidation has been proved to be higher during walking and running, unlike cycling, although this is a yet unjustified process.

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