When you eat, your body uses the calories it needs and stores the excess as body fat. Some fat is essential for health because it's your body's main form of stored energy. It also insulates your internal organs and is converted into important hormones. Carrying excess body fat, however, can make you feel sluggish. A few adjustments in eating and exercise can help you speed the fat-burning process.
To maximize energy and fat burning, the University of Michigan Medical School recommends completing 30 minutes of high-intensity, anaerobic training, such as weightlifting, before participating in aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercises are brief, high-intensity movements where tissue energy exchange and production are independent of oxygen. Timing your exercise this way ensures that you have the necessary energy during your high-intensity workout. Switching to a moderate-intensity workout after high-intensity exercise gives your body time to remove lactic acid so that you can perform aerobic exercise more efficiently and burn body fat more effectively.
The duration and intensity of your exercise affect the burning of fat, which is stored as fatty acids called triglycerides. According to University of California San Diego, the rate of fatty acid oxidation, or fat burning, is highest during moderate activity, such as jogging or brisk walking. Keep the intensity moderate because moderate-intensity exercise, certain fatty acids in the blood and intramuscular triglycerides -- or stored fats -- can all ramp up the rate of fat oxidation to create energy, resulting in burning of stored fat. Your exercise duration is important because after about 40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, your body uses up its glycogen sources and starts burning fatty acids for energy, reducing stored body fat.
Add green tea to your daily intake of liquids. The Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in an investigative study done to determine the effectiveness of tea in controlling body weight, drinking green tea turned on a fat-burning spigot that raises metabolic rates and increases fat burning -- or fat oxidation -- rates. Green tea contains caffeine, which raises your metabolism due to its stimulant affect and catechins that stimulate your body's natural burning of stored fat for energy, a process known as thermogenesis.
Frequent Small Meals
Eat six small meals each day. Every time you eat, your metabolic rate goes up and remains high for about five hours to perform metabolic activities such as food digestion and absorption as well as nutrient transport and storage. When you restrict your calorie intake and go for long periods of time between meals, your body's resting metabolic rate slows to conserve energy, clinging to every calorie possible and storing it as fat for future use. Thus, fat burning is negatively impacted. Space your meals about two to three hours apart.
- The College of the Canyons: Healthy Services: Nutrition Coach: Fat
- United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service: Brewing Up the Latest Teach Research
- University of Michigan Medical School: MedFitness: Timing Is Everything: Why the Duration and Order of Your Exercise Matters
- Vanderbilt University: Health Psychology: Green Tea
- UCLA: Bruin Resource Center: Student Nutrition & Body Image Awareness Campaign: Calories
- Penn State University: Boosting Your Metabolism 101
- The Lean Body Promise: Burn Away Fat and Release the Leaner, Strong Body: Lee Labrada
- University of Arizona: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: Fatty Acid Oxidation
- University of California San Diego: The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Fat Burning During Exercise: Can Ergogenics Change the Balance
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images