Both carbohydrates and fat serve as an energy source for your body. These are the preferred type of fuel over protein, which can be consumed via your diet, or by breaking down muscle tissue (which isn’t a good option).
The muscles and liver keep stores of glycogen for energy, and start using it for fuel when your muscles work hard. A good example of this is when you are working out. When you need more energy than what food is providing, your fat cells will begin to break down and release fatty acids. The more stored fat cells that are released for energy, the smaller they get. That is how you move towards a leaner physique.
How to enhance your fat burning capabilities
To enhance your capacity to burn fat for energy, you will need to consume less carbohydrates (within the 50–75 gram range) with the rest of your nutrients coming from meats, veggies and fats. You will have to shift your focus to consuming carbs from your vegetable sources, so you receive the adequate nutrients on a day to day basis. Fruits should be eaten in a moderate fashion, preferably only berries, as they do contain sugar. Highly processed carbohydrates and refined grains and sugars provide no nutritional value. You should opt to eliminate these.
Another great option is intermittent fasting. During these periods, our bodies sift from burning glucose for energy, to burning ketone bodies. They are created in the liver from the breakdown of fats., Your body frequently enters a Ketogenic state during periods of fasting, as when you are sleeping, and can readily shift from reliance on carbohydrates for fuel, towards fat.
Don’t forget to weight train
Lifting weight enhances your bodies ability to burn stored body fat, due to the metabolic demands of lifting the weight. Not only does it change our body shape, it enhances our metabolism, allowing for greater caloric burn at rest, without increasing our fat cells in the process. Weight training also makes us insulin sensitive, allowing the shuttling of glucose to fuel our muscles, instead of attaching themselves to our fat cells. Our bodies become a lot more metabolically flexible, therefore allowing us, at times, to eat more carbs than what we know we should, but utilising them effectively for energy. This is what the hard work of strength training allows us to do.
To summarise the above outlines, the best way to allow your body to use fat stores is to:
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake, opting to get your carbs from veggies.
- Introduce intermittent fasting on a daily or regular basis, to induce the state of Ketosis. This will allow your body to burn fat stores for energy. To further enhance this process, consume less carbohydrates regularly.
- Strength train in order to build muscle, increase your metabolism, and tap into fat reserves for energy.