Whether you’ve just started your fitness journey, ended a bulking cycle, or simply are at the heavier end of the scales, you’ve surely been thinking about ways to burn fat. Not only does fat decrease our self esteem, but it impedes our daily activities as it makes us get tired faster. It is especially frustrating because all of us have areas of our bodies that seem to pack on fat faster than other areas. Making us prone to developing bigger fat amounts on the stomach, thighs, or even the face.
In the end, we’re all different, storing fat in different parts of the body. But regardless of where your body tends to store it, you are very likely to be interested in how fat loss occurs. Most importantly, you may be interested in how to lose fat. You may read through our blog posts as we already shared a lot of extremely valuable and helpful information on how you can lose fat, support your weight loss, and cutting cycle journey. However, today, we’re going to share how fat burning happens, and where the fat goes when we lose weight. In short, we’ll answer: How does fat leave the body?
How fat burning happens
So, we’re talking about fat loss or fat burning. Does it mean that we actually “burn” it? Or do we somehow “lose” it? I mean, we don’t literally burn it and the fat does not fall off. So, where does it go? To answer this question, you need to understand a few more things first.
When we’re having a bit more extra fat (extra weight), it means that we’re consuming more calories than we use. Calories are “fuel” for your body. In order for your body to “function” it needs energy. It takes that energy from the calories (foods) you eat. But when you give the body too many calories, it tends to store it away – that’s right, in the form of fat.
It is important to understand that the body uses this “fuel” (energy) in a lot of different ways, not only during strength training (otherwise, we would only need to eat if we exercise). So, the body will use energy:
- At rest. Your heart needs energy to pump blood. Your lungs need energy to breathe, your brain needs energy to process all the data, among all other organs. In short, your entire body. This is known as “basal metabolism”.
- When active. Whether you’re waking up from the bed, walking, spriting, strength training, or running a marathon – your muscles will require energy to perform all these tasks.
- When eating. Your digestive system will also need to break down the food that you eat and store it.
Food and Fat
So, without food, the body doesn’t have energy. In an attempt to protect itself against starvation when food deprived, the body shuts down various processes. That explains why we feel fatigued among others when we do not eat. But if the body doesn’t receive food long enough, death occurs, as the body has no energy to function. We won’t day immediately, of course. We can last days and weeks without eating specifically thanks to fat deposits.
However, when we’re eating too many calories, the body will deposit those calories in fat cells. The more you keep on eating in surplus, the more it will stack those fat cells. As said, for some they add up in the middle area (stomach), others thighs, face, and so on.
But what happens to fat when you are dieting (cutting)?
We call it cutting because you are “cutting” the amount of calories you eat and the amount your body needs. You basically eat fewer calories than your body needs to remain at the same weight. When this deficit occurs, your body still needs to be able to function because when you eat less, you are still living, still able to perform daily tasks, and even working out. But when you do it, the body searches for fat reserves in order to supply the energy demands. So it burns fat. That’s why one can’t be on a cutting cycle indefinitely. The fat deposits will end, sooner or later.
But where do those fat deposits go?
A small amount of fat escapes through your skin when you sweat, and through your kidneys, meaning that you basically piss it out. However, unlike popular myths, we do not burn fat through sweating. If we did, then how do people tend to lose weight without a single sweat? Only a very small amount.
We actually “breathe out” fat! That’s right. Fat escapes our body as carbon dioxide when we breathe. That’s why we don’t actually need exercise to burn fat. Maintaining a low calorie diet (burning more than we eat) will help you burn fat on its own. But that’s also why exercising is so helpful in burning fat. Besides the fact that we breathe faster (burning more fat) during our exercise, it helps boost calorie expenditure and also helps boost various processes in the body (metabolism and hormonal balance among others) that support fat burning making you increase calorie expenditure.
What’s The Best Way To Lose Body Fat?
Keep a calorie deficit! You may have heard before that dieting is the most important thing when attempting to lose weight and burn fat. That’s actually true. Exercising is a great way to burn fat, because of various factors. However, regardless of how much you exercise, you can still fail to burn fat and gain fat. Why?
Like I said before, in order to burn fat, you need to create a calorie deficit. Exercising helps increase the calorie expenditure. But if you eat even more than that expenditure, you are still remaining in calorie surplus – thus, no fat loss. You need a calorie deficit to burn fat. That’s when you consume fewer calories than your body requires to stay at its current weight. That’s why people who focus solely on their diet can still burn fat and lose weight. But those who focus only on exercise may fail to burn fat. Needless to mention that to achieve the best possible results, and the fastest possible results, you need a mixture of a healthy diet and workout plan.
So, the best way to lose fat is to pay attention to calories (you get from foods) intake (diet) and burn (exercise).
Eating To Lose Weight and Burn Fat
It may sound like a cliche, but eating healthy food options will bring a variety of benefits. Not only do they usually have fewer calories than junk foods, but they also provide everything that your body needs to kickstart the fat burning process. The body is very complex. It needs calories, but there are numerous other things we should mention such as macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). This is the reason why we shouldn’t only pay attention to the amount of foods (calories) we eat, but their quality too.
That’s why, if you stay in a calorie deficit eating junk food, you will still lose weight, seeing improvements on the scale, but you may be disappointed by the amount of fat you lose (because your body can take its energy demands from both fat and muscles) and you won’t be really healthy. So, you can still eat junk food lose weight, and even burn fat, seeing improvement on the scale. But you won’t love what you see in the mirror and you are likely not to feel too well too.
What to do? Have a healthy, balanced diet. Eat right, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Stay in a calorie deficit, but provide your body with the necessary micro and macronutrients. Also, you shouldn’t attempt a too drastic calorie deficit. While it definitely leads to faster fat burn and weight loss, it is not healthy. The body doesn’t know you’re dieting. It assumes you’re short of food. As said, in an attempt to protect itself against starvation and dying from lack of food, it stops various processes in the body. It lowers your metabolism and causes hormonal imbalance. That’s why you shouldn’t just stop eating, you need to eat right!
You need to understand that your body uses calories for fuel. It gets energy from fat, carbohydrates, and fat. It uses these sources in a variety of different ways. You need to understand how our bodies get that energy in order to find the best way to lose fat.
For example, when talking about fuel (energy demands), the body mostly looks for fat and carbs, because protein is mostly used to repair muscles post-exercise. While the muscle uses protein during exercise for its energy needs, it mostly looks for fat and carbs. Which one it burns for its energy demands depends on the exercise type.
For example, if you are doing high intensity exercise, such as running at a fast pace, your body uses carbs for fuel instead of fat. That’s because of the metabolic pathways, breaking carbs down for energy more efficiently than it breaks down fat for those fast energy demands.
However, if you are exercising at a slower pace, for longer, the body will take its energy demands from fat over carbs. That’s because it doesn’t need fast energy supplies, it rather needs longer energy needs.
This is the reason why people believe there’s a “fat burning zone”. While more research is needed, some studies do suggest that lower intensity exercise will use more fat for energy, maximizing fat loss efforts. You need the fastest of the lower intensity exercising pace. That’s the fat burning zone, which, according to studies and people, is when you exercise with a heart rate zone at about 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. That encourages higher fat loss. You can use apps, gym equipment, or smartwatches to track it.
But be sure that high intensity exercise does have its merits. The conclusion? Implement both if you want the best results!
Exercise To Lose Weight and Burn Fat
When we start to work out, our muscles will first burn through the stored glycogen for energy. Only after about 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, it starts burning fat (when the glycogen stores exhaust).
Not only exercising will help burn more fat when you work in a calorie deficit, (again, because the body does not receive enough energy from foods), but you will also gain muscle as you burn fat.
Experts suggest that adding at least 30 minutes of cardio, 2-3 times a week, while also incorporating weight lifting, at least 2-3 times a week, is going to help you burn a lot of fat while increasing your muscle mass. You can burn fat both during exercise and because you increase your basal metabolic rate. More muscle mass itself also helps burn more fat, because muscles need more energy to function. All of this greatly helps burn fat fast and efficiently.
In the end, there’s high intensity cardio, moderate intensity cardio, and slow intensity cardio. They use about 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, 70-80% of your MHR, and 60-70% of your MHR. Each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, high intensity workouts won’t help you burn too much fat simply because you can’t do it for too long. But they do offer lots of benefits such as a metabolism boost helping you hit your goals. On the other hand, low intensity workouts require a lot of time and they are not as effective.
One of the best ways to burn fat is through strength exercises. While cardio greatly helps boost calorie expenditure, weight lifting will help you build muscle and increase fat loss. Even post-training. Moreover, as said, higher muscle amounts burn more calories faster.
Strength training comes with the ability to increase afterburn calories, meaning that your body continues burning calories even after gym sessions. Needless to mention it will also preserve lean muscle mass. People implementing only cardio may have a hard time preserving lean muscle tissues. Especially with a calorie deficit diet. Weight lifting greatly helps increase lean muscle mass, or at least preserve it during low calorie diets. Moreover, strength training helps boost metabolic rate even more than cardio. Also, a diet-only approach is not the best way to burn fat because it lowers the metabolic rate. But lifting heavy in the gym will keep your muscles, and keep your metabolism high, both helping burn calories when you aim for fat loss.
We’re breathing every single minute. This means that we basically burn fat every single minute. But if you want to burn even more fat, you need to ensure you get regular exercise in your life. That’s why you need to stay on track to hit your fat loss goals. You really need to stay active. You may have noticed that there’s a guy who keeps on doing cardio for a long time without using a single pound of fat. However, others don’t know how the gym looks from the inside, yet they can effortlessly burn fat. That’s because of their diet and staying active throughout the day. Couple this with exercising and you’re sure to get in the best possible condition of your life.
Here are a few tips:
- Switch up your routine. If you struggle to lose weight, you’re doing something wrong. You need to start doing something else then. Everyday decisions we make have a huge impact on our daily exercise, not only the time we spend in the gym. You should park further from the store, be more active, go for a walk, or do an extra lap when doing cardio.
- Focus on exercise. Don’t squeeze a workout into your daily schedule. Rather schedule your day around the exercise. Make exercising a priority!
- Plan your time. Planning your time will help to focus on exercising, and will help you get more than just a short fast workout. Also, plan your time so you can be more active throughout the day. If you can take a walk to your job instead of driving there – do it!
- Split it up. Strength training and then cardio is a great way to see that fat go. But you may not have 2 hours to spend at the gym. Well, split your workout throughout the day. Strength train in the morning, and do cardio in the evening! Stay on track!
Burn Body Fat Fast!
Be sure to follow these fat burning tips and be sure you are on your way to hitting your cutting, fat burning, and weight loss goals! Now that you know how your body burns fat, it may greatly help you reach your goals.
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