Is fat loss one of your top health and fitness goals? If so, it’s possible that at one point in time you’ve thought to yourself… ‘Can I lose fat if I just watch what I eat, or do I need to exercise?’ Well the truth is, you absolutely can lose fat with a healthy eating regime alone. But combine that with regular exercise and you’ll accelerate that process. Sound like something you might be interested in? Well let’s take a closer look at the top reasons why you should exercise if you want to lose fat:
1. Burns Extra Calories
When at rest, our bodies are in their aerobic energy system at a very low intensity. This means they burn about 1 Calorie per minute, consisting of roughly 50% carbohydrates and 50% fat. Then when we start to exercise, our bodies actually start to burn about 60% carbohydrates and 40% fat. Now this may not sound great at first as you are burning less of a percentage of fat compared to carbohydrates. But consider this:
a) If you focus solely on eating healthy, and avoid any significant physical activity, your body will predominantly be in a state of rest. After 30 minutes you would have burned off about 30 Calories (15 carbohydrates + 15 fat). Or…
b) When you exercise, your body requires more energy and consequently burns off more Calories. For example, fast running or performing a high intensity circuit can burn Calories up to 16 times faster than resting. That means after 30 minutes you would have burned off closer to 480 Calories (288 carbohydrates + 192 fat).
So even though your percentage of fat burned may be higher when at rest, you are still burning much less fat in the same timeframe compared to if you were exercising. Which would you prefer? Burning 15 Calories from fat or 192?
2. Changes Your Respiratory Quotient
So, we know from the first point that our bodies expend varying percentages of Calories from carbohydrates and fat. This percentage is known as our respiratory quotient.
Now when we regularly perform high intensity cardiovascular exercise, our heart is put under more pressure to pump blood and oxygen to our working muscles. Over time it begins to adapt to this high intensity and we get fitter. Most of this is common knowledge – but did you know that the fitter you are, the better your body becomes at burning fat? This is because your body becomes more efficient in delivering oxygen to your working muscles, allowing you to stay in the aerobic energy system (the system which uses fat) for a longer time. So, when you start to exercise, rather than your body burning about 60% carbohydrates and 40% fat, it will adapt to burn more fat, making our bodies fat-burning machines!
3. Speeds Up Your Resting Metabolic Rate
When we perform exercise that incorporates strength training, we are essentially lifting heavy things. Then if we continue to progress the load we are lifting, we will become stronger and build more muscle. Now you may think ‘what does muscle have to do with burning fat?’.
Well having more lean muscle actually increases your resting metabolic rate, or the speed at which your body burns energy or Calories when at rest. In fact, for every pound of muscle gained, your body is actually able to burn off about 50-100 more Calories per day. So not only will strength training help burn more fat at rest to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. It will also help you lose fat in the long-term, to counter any drop in metabolism that may have occurred from just restricting your diet.
4. Improves Mood and Reduces Emotional Eating
Exercise has been proven to thicken and strengthen the connections between the prefrontal cortex of our brain and other areas of the brain. Now the prefrontal cortex is responsible for our decision-making, planning as well as influencing deeper areas of the brain which control emotion and eating impulses. So, by strengthening these connections our decision-making becomes more efficient and more logical rather than emotion-based, consequently reducing our emotional eating impulses.
In addition, when you exercise your body releases endorphins which interact with receptors in your brain, stimulating feelings of happiness. In turn, this helps reduce feelings of stress or depression, so those who happen to eat when their unhappy or stressed, feel less inclined to eat.
So, all in all, if you’re looking for the fastest way to lose fat and keep it off in the long-term, get physical and exercise! Through a combination of cardio and strength training, you’ll be able to curb those cravings, burn more Calories and turn your body into a fat-burning machine! Which is exactly why our circuits incorporate both for you – to give you maximum results in minimum time!
How does exercising regularly sound to you now? Leave us a comment and let us know.
DID YOU KNOW?
When exercising, those who are unfit typically can’t inhale enough oxygen to use their aerobic energy systems and burn fat. As a result, they mainly burn glycogen from carbohydrates, and produce more lactic acid to create that ‘burning’ feeling in their muscles which makes them stop. So, push yourself and improve your fitness to being a fat-burning machine.