How is Fat Stored and Burned?

When we consume fats in our diet our bodies break it down so it can go into the bloodstream. From there we either burn it as energy or store it for future energy. Fat contains 9 kcals (units of energy) per gram. More than double those of proteins or carbohydrates. Fat is stored throughout the body in adipocytes aka fat cells. The amount of adipocytes in our body is usually confirmed by early adulthood and it is rare for this to change as we age. When our fat cells store more fat they will enlarge which brings about inevitable weight gain. The way to reduce the size and storage of fat cells is to force our bodies to rely on them for energy either through diet or exercise.

Avoiding Excess Aerobic Conditioning

It is truly amazing what the human body can adapt too. Unfortunately often times our bodies adapt in reverse manners. For instance if we are severely dehydrated our bodies adapt by storing more water and passing less of it. The same is true in long excessive aerobic training bouts. When we burn calories in aerobic training our bodies begin to adapt to it by slowing down the metabolism and therefore storing more fat. So the better you get at long aerobic training bouts the slower your metabolism will become.

Don’t Ignore Your Diet

Some healthy fats are required in our diets for daily functions. Saturated fats found in animal fat, whole milk, butter, cheese etc and trans fats like those found in fried foods can raise our LDL cholesterol aka our bad cholesterol. Unsaturated fats like those in olive oil, nuts, fish, and avocados can actually help lower our LDL levels and increase our HDL levels aka our good cholesterol.

The Fat Burning Movements of CrossFit

CrossFit is designed to make you better at all activities. It covers a broad range of movements and skills that can be applied to any daily task. We train to get stronger, faster, and have better endurance by building muscle and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. Building muscle in turn burns more fat. Working in an anaerobic state burns more fat calories while sparing protein and muscle. In CrossFit we commonly use fast paced explosive movements in our workouts in order to maximize this benefit. Movements such as the olympic lifts will burn a great deal of calories and any compound movement (requiring multiple joints and muscle groups) will always burn a greater amount of calories. Some examples of compound movements include the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, lunge, etc. All of which are regularly used in a WOD.

Key Things That Will Maximize Fat Loss

The more muscle we have one our body the more fat we will burn at rest and therefore the more efficient our bodies will be overall. Each pound of fat on our body requires about 50 calories per day in order to maintain, that means in order for that pound of muscle to remain on your body it needs to appropriate 50 calories out of your daily diet to it. This is not taking into consideration the calories required to build that pound of muscle. So if you can put on 5 extra pounds of muscle your body will burn an additional 250 calories a day even at rest, that’s an extra 1,250 calorie a week!

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