Weight Loss versus Burning Fat
There is a difference between losing weight and burning fat. Your body weight can fluctuate on a daily basis from so many factors. Did I lose weight because I drank less water? Did I lose weight because I have lost fat or did I lose muscle? These are the questions that all go through the mind of someone focused on weight loss. Instead, you should be focused on fat loss while building lean muscle for the ultimate summer body.
How do I burn fat while building lean muscle?
Limit your eating hours
Modern day lifestyle revolves around food. We eat across the whole day, starting at 7am for breakfast, having lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm, not to mention the snacks we have in-between. By limiting your eating hours, between 12pm to 8pm there are significant health benefits. For example, insulin levels drop, human growth hormones increase and cellular repair occurs. This has the combined effect of increasing your metabolic rate, facilitating fat burning and muscle gain as well as detoxifying our body. In fact, a study conducted by the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in Queen’s Medical Centre found that the metabolic rate increased anywhere between 3.6-14%.
Burning fat and building lean muscle is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Therefore, making healthier choices are essential in building towards your ultimate summer body. The best way to burn fat is by lowering your insulin levels because insulin tends to store excess blood sugar as fat. To do this, a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet is recommended and has been shown to be effective in reducing insulin by the CSIRO.
Another study conducted in McMaster University also conducted another experiment where two groups underwent a month of exercise with one group eating more protein than the other. The results showed that the high-protein group lost an average of 5kg while the low-protein group only lost 3.5kg. The most intriguing result, however, was that the high-protein group lost more body fat than the low-protein group.
HIIT versus Cardio
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is far more effective than cardio at burning fat and building muscle for a number of reasons. A study conducted in Canada showed that after 6 weeks of HIIT, fat oxidisation was significantly elevated while carbohydrate oxidisation was significantly lower. In other words, HIIT draws upon the energy stored in fat rather than using carbohydrates as energy, which accelerates the fat burning process.
HIIT also has a higher post-exercise oxygen consumption (also known as afterburn). This means that your body is burning more calories at rest compared to cardio as your muscles recover. To put this in perspective, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that four weeks of HIIT burnt more fat than traditional rowing. Also, HIIT is far more time efficient and convenient as it can be done anywhere at any time with no equipment.