How to Burn Fat As Fuel for Fitness

Fueling your fitness routine ensures a good fat burn-off. Understand the exercise war between calorie consumption and energy breakdown.

Fat takes twice as long to burn as other sources of energy like carbohydrate and protein, and when proteins and carbs remain dormant, the body stores them as fat. This storage mechanism only hurts over-eaters in developed nations where food is abundantly available. If you want to improve your body's ability to burn the fat, feed the muscle and maybe even build muscle up, you first have to understand how fat burning works.

Fat got a bad rap for hanging around on our hips for too long, and it was almost banned completely due to fad "No-fat" diets in the 90's. However, we need a little fat! Our brains are made out of fat. Women need fat to ovulate and menstruate. Healthy omega fats are necessary for skin maintenance, hormone function, organ upkeep, and more! So how can you get your body to burn the fat, feed the muscle and still keep your energy high during your fitness routine?

You can't. That's the simple answer. Unfortunately for heavy people - but fortunate for those in famine - the energy breakdown process is a well-ordered chain of events. When you first start moving, your liver release a fuel called creatine phosphate directly into your bloodstream, sending it to working muscles within 2 to 7 seconds after movement begins. Creatine is the most powerful fuel your body has, but it runs out fast because of low production quantities. Creatine phosphate supplements are taken by weight lifters to improve the supply and demand between the liver and muscles, allowing them more power while lifting and thereby achieving greater mass.

When the creatine is gone, your body goes to it's glucose (muscle sugar) stores in the muscles, shopping for all the glucose it can find. It takes about 20-30 minutes of constant aerobic exercise to use up all your glucose, depending on how much you ate during the 24 hours prior to exercise and how hard you exercise. If you do a 400 calorie-burning elliptical or running workout, but you consumed 800 calories of spaghetti the night before, 200 calories of cereal that morning, and drank a 300 calorie energy drink before exercise ... well, do the math. What isn't used, gets stored as fat.

Only after most of your blood and muscle energy has been depleted will your body begin to tap into the massive quantity of energy stored around your muscles in the form of fat. It's not as if one fuel system shuts down and then another one kicks into gear; the energy breakdown model is ordered but also fluid. As phosphocreatine from the liver runs low, glycogen takes over from within the muscles themselves. When glycogen starts to run out, energy stored as fat molecules start to disintegrate. This is the beautiful moment when you start to burn the fat, feed the muscle and lose weight!

If you want to burn more fat, you need to eat less and exercise more. Pills promise to short-cut the system. Websites wring money from desperate house wives, but the only things that really work are the two things we have such a hard time doing: Stop eating so much and be more active.

Click here for an excellent Carboyhydrate Calorie Calculator that will tell you how much fuel you need to obtain from food sources such as whole-grain breads, cereals, fruits and veggies. The site is run by the University of Maryland Medical System, and it also offers a Fat Calorie Calculator, and a Protein Calorie Calculator. The parameters are easy to input, and no personal information is requested.

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