Fat oxidation ‘Fat burning’ in its simplest form refers to the use of fat as a fuel source by the body. Our bodies store fat in the form of triglycerides. In order to be used as fuel, triglycerides need to be broken down into fatty acids through a process called lipolysis. Triglycerides can be found in the bloodstream, adipose tissue (fat cells) and to a lesser extent, within the muscle mass.

What is fat burning?

Your body prioritises utilising triglycerides in the bloodstream and muscle first. Once these supplies have run low, triglycerides will be mobilised from the fat cells. This is where the fat burning equals fat loss comes from, the body is literally taking fat out of your fat cells to produce energy.

However, if you are not in a calorie deficit, fat burning will not result in actual fat loss, energy cannot just simply disappear. Fat is a storage of energy and calories are just the unit in which we measure that energy.

Calorie deficits & fat loss 

A healthy diet with an app

When energy or caloric intake is equal to total energy expenditure from daily activity and exercise, your body will not use reserved energy stored as body fat. If you want to lose body fat you have to eat fewer calories than you expend, independent of the fuels you use!

For example, let’s compare two different diets for weight loss.

Each diet is calorie matched (both 2000 calories). For this example, a person’s 2000 calories per day is their maintenance calories because their usual daily energy expenditure is also 2000 calories.

Calories in Vs Calories out

Regardless of the macros, I.e. one diet containing 100g of carbs and the other containing 300g of carbs, both diets will result in keeping the person’s weight stable because there is no caloric deficit in either.

If we reduce the person’s calories by say 400 making their intake 1600, this would result in similar weight loss for both diets, regardless of the macro split. This is because the body would be required to take the same amount from its fat storage to make up the other 400 calories. The greater the discrepancy between the calories you consume and the calories you expend, the greater the shift in body weight will be.

Again, Calories in Vs Calories out

“Fat burning” and “fat loss” are not interchangeable.

It’s simply a case of creating a calorie deficit. If you are not in a calorie deficit; you will not lose body fat.

When we remove certain food types from our diets, the most widely accepted of which is carbs, it is assumed the weight loss is because of removing carbohydrates from the diet.  And it is! However, it’s not the case that the removal of the carbs themselves is the sole reason for the weight loss, it is the calories that have been avoided by not consuming that particular food group that resulted in weight loss.  And that calorie deficit could have been made with or without restricting carbs, as long as there is a deficit, weight loss will come.

By ensuring you keep your body well fuelled with a wide variety of food groups, that you stay hydrated and avoid unnecessary fats in your daily routine, you will, in a calorie deficit, lose weight and maintain the strength, nourishment and mental ability needed to get the results that you are looking for.

We specialise in tailoring exercise and nutrition plans to our clients to target their personal needs as an overall wellness approach to fitness and lifestyle.  If you have been struggling with yo-yo dieting, the restriction of food groups or are simply mystified as to why your body is not responding to your nutrition and exercise regime, book a free consultation with us and we will give you a personal and tailored review of how to kick start your training and nutrition to get the results you have been looking for in a sustainable and safe way.