BREAKING AND BURNING FAT
Intermittent Fasting Results, HIIT workouts and Sweat
We often think of weight loss as one-dimensional process: If you sweat at the gym and eat less you will burn fat. Of course this is a more complicated subject.
The big question I want you to ask yourself is: regardless of what it is that you do in your training / diet – how do you know if you’re breaking fat or burning it? Do you have a system?
What did you think? Share it!
A couple of years back, when more intermittent fasting research surfaced, a new opportunity came about. On one hand, the conclusion showed consistent intermittent fasting results following several different protocols (some were more about aerobic training and sweat, others about HIIT workouts and some didn’t include any exercise). On the other hand, a lot of the research, while quoting many variables, was still revolving around caloric deficit – or the idea that skipping meals, would mean less calories which would lead to weight loss. This was very interesting for a very unusual reason:
We already knew what sort of intermittent fasting results we can expect, but we also knew that using calories as a system were somewhat faulty (you can see the evidence here: calories to lose weight). That opened up a unique opportunity to look at the research and conclusion with fresh eyes. What were findings, what were the assumptions and what can we conclude?
It is also worth noting that the UK’s BBC, was one of the first mainstream media to really take the research seriously. It took the world a long time to catch up and consider the studies, and the program was done years after the original publication, but they finally did it at 2012 (see: BBC Horizon – Eat, Fast and Live Longer). Personally, I had a bit of a look behind the scenes as at the time, I was training one the investigative journalists who researched the material for the program. Curiously enough, the program focused on many of the other health benefits from this method, but it did not go into the extreme weight loss aspects. As it turns out, this is due to political correctness and body-image issues (they were afraid to give anorexic individuals a reason to starve themselves so they never covered the extensive research that was relating to weight loss).
Knowing I could not rely on the base assumptions regarding calories, and knowing there were undeniable results to the method, it forced me to look at the other findings in more depth:
The Intermittent Fasting Results
- A massive improvement in weight loss, blood lipid profile and markers of longevity.
- Consistent results regardless if you’re experienced or are a beginner. That also means that a daily fast is consistently better than alternate day fasting when it comes to fasting periods.
- A significant reduction of Insulin and significant increase in HGH (human growth hormone).
- Gut repair – healing effect was noted on the intensities and digestive system.
- Increase in abdominal blood flow.
- Mitochondrial adaptions (cellular fat burning).
- An inhibition of Alpha-2 receptors in abdominal fat.
- Reduction of active cortisol receptors in abdominal tissue.
Unlike calorie restriction, which has its fair share of problems, we got a spike in all the necessary hormonal reactions to condition better weight loss past a 12 hours fasting period. Something that never happens with calorie restriction alone. Indeed, for the first time, ignoring the calorie base and looking at these amazing results, a picture has started forming: A sequence to weight loss that relies on hormonal reactions and not calorie calculations!
What does it mean?
So what is some of the essence behind the sequence?
- We must break fat (lipolysis) before burning it (free fat oxidation). Otherwise the body resorts to using primarily glycogen fuel and the attached water (2.7g of water to every 1g of glycogen – that’s a lot of water weight).
- Two of the most primary hormones that act on fat tissue are Adrenaline & HGH and neither of them plays friendly with Insulin.
- Especially with belly fat (highly relevant to skinny fat people), we have a huge level of resistance from active Cortisol receptors, Alpha-2 receptors and restricted blood flow (which is why your belly is often colder than your face). All of which happen to correlate with Insulin.
The conclusion was fairly simple, we must get Insulin low, find a way to spike Adrenaline & HGH while inhibiting Cortisol & Alpha 2 Receptors. At the same time we need to increase blood circulation and finally, if we did all of that correctly we would have achieved superior breaking of fat tissue (lipolysis). Then we simply have to burn the fat via aerobic style training that will help us oxidize those freely floating fatty acids we worked so hard to get. More is better and less equals either water loss or fatigue, but not so much as actual fat loss. If not followed, where we do lose fat, is only where the same hormonal conditions are maximized, which is almost never around the stomach, love handles or chest.
Of course this is a partial picture, we also have other hormones (for example testosterone and estrogen), as well as a better definition to aerobic and anaerobic training by understand muscle fibre type and it relative use or misuse of oxygen. But on the surface, that creates a blue print for success with fat loss, where previous working practices were misleading, to say the least.
For quite a while, using high intensity interval training was known for better fat loss, especially when done fasted (i.e. intermittent fasting). To this day, people attribute it to an increase in metabolic rate, since metabolism is the sum of all reactions, we decided to look more carefully what these type of workouts achieves so we can filter out the best while ignoring the noise (calorie and metabolism arguments being the noise). What we found was interesting!
The ultimate hiit workout works on explosive movements and short rests (whether it’s tabata workouts, sprints, burpees or anything else with short intervals). This in in contrast to a cardio workout which is done at a steady pace. Explosive movement are typically associated with type 2b muscle fibers of the working muscles involved. The same applies to a method known as eccentric training or slow and heavy strength training. It turns out that the super slow (and engaged) and the super fast, both require higher threshold muscle fibers, type 2b. Here’s the interesting part: if these are done when Insulin is low, we will get a heighten fight or flight mode (like a cheetah before it hunts – call that one serious high intensity training). This results in more growth hormone secretion and more adrenaline secretion, hormones that are associated with lipolysis (what we like to call.. FAT BREAKING).
A good way to know you’re performing an hiit workout at a good intensity is having your skin very hot to the touch (like a hot flush), being out of breath and yet relatively speaking, not breaking too much sweat (a little bit is given though). At some point, after we broke a significant amount of fat, it’s time to do something with it – that something is fat burning.
HERE COMES THE SWEAT
Even if you are not a beginner, you would know that the health and fitness industry looks at aerobic training and think about the heart working with more oxygen. Truth is, the heart is one muscle out of many. A better way to look at it is operating as much of the body as we can, in low-medium intensity. We are trying to shift from type 2b muscle fibres to type 1 and type 2a muscles fibres which are fat more suited for dealing with oxygen and fatty acids. Of course, using a fatty acid through oxidation, is exactly what we are after and it’s called FAT BURNING and when you do it correctly, you are going to SWEAT.
Through a ton of experience, and using heart-rate monitoring, weight tracking, muscles tracking and a lot of research into the finer details of this subject, we came across an interesting conclusion. There are three ways to burn broken fat in a more efficient manner than traditional “sweat gym” would preach:
- Holding a static position and resisting change (i.e. a stability challenge).
- Moving dynamically in low to medium intensity, which could be done with weights as well.
- Moving dynamically while having a stability challenge.
This will make your muscle activity much higher which will also result in body heat and therefore increased joy when it comes to perspiration and sweat glands. Combining large movements with stability challenges makes you sweat more and it makes sense. When you work in this way, you have to use not only the obvious “working muscles” to move, but every other muscle in your body to stabilize and not lose your position and alignment. This means you operate far more muscle groups at once. The moving muscles are probably working more with type 2a muscle fibers. The non-moving muscle who are working hard to stabilize, are often doing it through type 1 muscle fibers. These means a massive increase in capacity to burn fat.
The BellyProof protocol represents the next big leap over previous advancements such as leangains and the original “eat stop eat”.