While fat is a part of keeping our body alive and safe, too much fat can also come with risks. Therefore, some wish to lose that weight to maintain a healthier lifestyle. But what does fat consist of? And how can you reduce it?
What Is Body Fat?
Body fat can be separated into two parts: the subcutaneous and the visceral fat. The former is the type that insulates our bodies, while visceral fat is the fat around our abdominal organs. Therefore, fat is essential for protecting our bodies and giving us energy. Often, people will talk about body fat percentage. To be categorized as obese, your body fat percentage should be above 32%, while athletes will typically have a body fat percentage under 20%.
A high body fat percentage can be a risk factor for chronic illnesses and heart disease. This is why some opt for diet pills and supplements that burn fat to try and lose their body fat. However, there are many ways to lose weight.
Benefits of Fat Loss
When talking of fat loss and weight loss, those are undeniably linked. However, there is a difference. While weight loss defines a reduction in body weight, fat loss is only a reduction in body fat, and this doesn’t describe the changes to body composition. Because it is more specific, fat loss can be more challenging.
This can be especially difficult for women as they get older and their metabolism slows down, as Dallasnews.com describes. But losing fat around the belly, for example, can decrease health risks. While outer appearance isn’t all that matters, fat loss can also increase body confidence.
The Principles of Reducing Body Fat
When aiming to reduce body fat, knowing the basics is good. Our bodies use fat and carbohydrates for fuel. When we partake in one type of activity, we either rely on carbs or fat for fuel. For exercises like high-intensity running, our body uses carbohydrates for fuel. Regarding slower and longer workouts, fat is used more often for energy, as we even lose body fat when we sit or sleep. This means it is more important to know how many calories we burn, as we burn more calories the harder we exercise.
Exercise is also vital for reducing fat. But instead of using running as an exercise form, strength training is the better option. Several studies show that a healthy diet and strength training will reduce fat mass most effectively. At the same time, strength training adds lean muscle mass, making your body more toned. While it isn’t necessary to exercise every day, experts advise strength-training every major muscle group at least two times a week.
Getting Consistent Physical Activity
Alongside strength training, cardio exercises are also suitable for fat loss. Cardio helps burn calories, so doing high-intensity interval training is a good idea, as it can result in more significant overall fat loss. But physical activity doesn’t just have to be in a gym. NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, describes physical activity besides exercise, where doing smaller tasks like vacuuming, cooking and taking out the trash also reduces body fat.
Eating Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A balanced and nutritious diet can help lose body fat, but specific foods might accelerate it. Many foods can boost metabolism, and increasing the metabolic rate can help reduce body fat. Omega-3 fatty acids can help people lose body fat, which is found in fatty fish. Furthermore, it can reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease. Fish is also a good source of high-quality protein, so consuming two servings weekly is recommended.
It might come as a surprise, but there is another good reason to consume coffee in the morning. Even though caffeine can have some negative effects, it can also improve one’s mood as well as burn fat. In a study of nine people, people who took coffee before exercise burned almost twice as much fat as those who didn’t get caffeine. Caffeine is an excellent source to increase metabolic rate and fat loss. Caffeine can have effects like anxiousness, which is why drinking more than 4-5 cups a day isn’t recommended.
The Importance of Sleep
While reducing fat loss is all about the active choices of diet and exercise, it is also about the options of non-active things, such as sleeping. If we sleep less than seven hours per night, we are more likely to have obesity than those who get 8 hours of sleep. When we are deprived of sleep, we release cortisol, which contributes to accumulating fat around the stomach.
Furthermore, not enough sleep interferes with the appetite-regulating hormones. This is why you might eat poorly when you aren’t sleeping enough. Therefore, a good night’s sleep is essential for fat loss.