Fat Loss – Here are the details

27 10 2009

Xtreme Couture Fat Loss

I don’t know where this article came from but it is well written and informative.  If you wrote it, let me know and we’ll give you credit.  Before starting on a weight loss regimen consult your doctor  😉


It seems everyone wants (or needs) to lose weight, but with all the information out there it just gets more and more confusing for the average person to know what to do? Let’s back it up a little and start from the basic understand of how fat loss happens in a simple and easy manner. Once you can master the basics, that is probably 90% of where all your results will come from!

Fat loss first and foremost is a hormonal event, the right hormones telling the body to release the stored “energy” in the fat cells to burn off. It is also important to know that there are also fat “storing” hormones that act in the opposite way, triggering the body to store “future energy” into the fat cells. The body triggers these hormones through many different stimulus like food, drink, exercise, stress and sleep. Fat cells are just the body’s emergency storage tanks afterall. If we didn’t have fat cells, we wouldn’t have survived the famines of the past. It’s a built-in survival mechanism that is getting all the wrong signals today. The body wasn’t designed around constant intake of food, especially the processed and high in sugar kind. (as that is not something that naturally grows on trees!)

So we know that fat loss is hormonal. Also fat loss occurs when oxygen is present, what is known as aerobic. (which means “with oxygen”…don’t get all happy yet all you daily joggers) The other stage is called anaerobic (which means “without oxygen”). Anaerobic training is also known more commonly as “strength training” (which you can tell by the lactic acid burn). Here’s where people get confused when it comes to exercise. Most people think that by doing aerobics you burn all the fat you want. Well if that was the case, obesity would have been taken care of in 1986 and your local aerobic instructors wouldn’t have an average BF% over 25%. Who ever said you are guaranteed to burn fat? What about stored glycogen? Plus if you can burn fat in an aerobic state, well aren’t you in an aerobic state all day long (minus brief times of anaerobic activity) including sleeping?? So here’s the breakthrough, you have the ability to burn fat all day long!The only thing left is the hormones and whether they are saying “empty the storage tanks” or “here comes some more” to the fat cells.

The Fat loss hormones we are going to focus on briefly are insulin, glucagon, and growth hormone (GH). Insulin is a fat storing hormone, while glucagon and GH are fat burning hormones. If insulin is present and elevated, the other hormones go down (this is an important relationship to realize). Another hormone called cortisol (stress hormone) is a muscle breakdown hormone….and that is not something we want in our fat loss quest. Below are just quick and easy bullet point on how to maximize the fat burning hormones and minimize the muscle breakdown/fat storing hormones (don’t think all muscle breakdown is bad, you need to break down and rebuild the cells it’s when you have excessive breakdown and minimal rebuilding that is the issue as that will lead to a loss of muscle).

Your #1 enemy, sugar and all it’s hiding places (drinks, sauces, dressings, etc). If it has a label, read it and see what sugars you are really getting, as everything you put into your mouth counts! Why is sugar bad? Because sugar will be quickly absorbed into the blood which cause a spike in your blood sugar and with that spike the body releases insulin to take care of it (shuttle excessive blood sugar into the fat cells for storage!). So like I tell my clients, every time you put sugar into your mouth just tell yourself “I don’t feel like burning fat for the next 3-4 hours” as that is exactly the hormonal signal you are giving it. Remember also when insulin is high, glucagon and GH go down (this is important to remember especially at night)


So Let’s recap, for fat loss we want:

  • Minimal insulin levels throughout the day (no high levels/spikes except during the post workout window when the insulin sensitivity is maximum, it goes into muscle not fat)
  • Maximum Glucagon (which is directly inversely proportional to insulin levels)
  • Maximum GH (which is controlled by insulin, exercise response and sleep)
  • Keep Cortisol in check (you will have some, but excessive will lead to muscle loss)

For Insulin control ( and max Glucagon response):

  • Keep levels low by not eating sugar or foods that quickly break down into the bloodstream (processed foods, breads, cereals, pasta) Just say to yourself every time you are about to put sugar in your mouth, “I don’t want to burn any fat for the next 3-4 hours”…as that is exactly what you are telling your body with your hormonal response from the ingestion of sugar! (Already said that above but I want to drive the #1 important point home!)
  • Have protein with every meal (as that will slow down the digestion of any sugars). Also protein intake stimulates the release of glucagon.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity with glycogen draining exercise (resistance training) which will in turn reduce your insulin resistance (which is one of the biggest reasons for obesity and a serious increase of risks for many other diseases including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, accelerated aging and more!)

For max GH response: (we help this by taking IGF Force from XCAP)

  • Most of your daily GH is released in the first couple hours of sleep at night (75%) . Keep your insulin levels low (which means no big meals or sugar 2-3 hours before bed) and get to bed by 10pm to get the maximum response. So get your sleep, your body will thank you. People shorting themselves on sleep will also be hindering their fat loss efforts and may lead to more weight gain from improper hormonal responses (which can also trigger cravings!)
  • Exercise with Intensity (for fast twitch muscle recruitment, not slow twitch), whether it is resistance training with short rest periods or doing interval training like sprints. Short burst of anaerobic intense exercise (lactic acid burn) will in turn signal the body to release GH. Long aerobic activities (jogging, etc) will NOT. (The old argument of look at the body composition of a sprinter vs the marathon runner…the sprinter has more muscle and very low bf%, the marathon runner has little muscle and a higher bf% even if they look smaller)
  • Exercise in a fasted state has also shown to increase GH levels (again make sure you have enough energy to get through the workout, a small meal may be needed 1-2 hours prior if the activity it too intense)

Minimize excessive Cortisol: (we help this by taking Adrenal Balance from XCAP)

  • Keep all intense strength or cardio exercise under 45min (remember we want to increase the intensity in a short period, not the duration). Anything longer will just start wasting muscle as fuel.
  • Practice relaxing throughout the day, don’t stress out over things that mean very little in the long run (ask yourself will this really be important in 1 week, 1 month, 1 year). Get perspective on things in your life, and detach from things that really don’t matter. Smile more, take deep breaths throughout the day, get out in nature, find your passions in life, etc. We are too stressed out and our body was only meant to use stress in short bursts (fight or flight response) not all day long events.

So if you can master these small steps, you will see tremendous changes. Remember that fat loss is an all day event! So eat and live your life that way! Don’t worry about how many calories you burn doing something, because that is not the point. Worry about what you eat all day and how your hormones are going to react to it. Eat the foods your body was meant to eat and live the active lifestyle your body was designed for….and you will have increased health, look great, feel great and hopefully live long and stay active.




2 responses

31 12 2009

Hi there I am not much into reading, but in some way I got to read lots of articles on your website. Its remarkable how interesting it is for me to visit regularly.

8 02 2010
Curt Hays

The author is:

Mike O’Donnell is a professional health & fitness coach, co-editor at Fitness Spotlight, fitness expert for Hilton’s Homewood Suites brand, and author of the IF Life Revolution ebooks. Follow through his Facebook profile too


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