Loss of unwanted body fat can be a challenging process, but recent studies from the Center for Diet, Exercise and Metabolism (CNEM) at the University of Bath in the UK have some encouraging news. In a recent report, the results suggest that as you become more fit, your body burns more fat and burns the flab more efficiently.
It's often said that getting started on your fitness journey is the hardest part of the process. Hence, it is good to know that if you stay on the right track, your body will become a more productive fat burning machine.
This study, which consisted of two CNEM studies, looked at the factors that affect an individual's ability to lose body fat when participating in endurance sports. The process of burning fat is important to all of us. Research has shown that athletes quickly deplete their carbohydrate stores during intense exercise. Being able to use your fat reserves for fuel can mean the difference between success and failure. For the normal person, burning body fat is also important to maintain metabolic health, insulin regulation, and avoidance of type II diabetes.
In the first study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Medicine, 73 healthy adults (32 women and 41 men) between the ages of 19 and 63 were asked to take a bicycle test under observation. The results showed that those who had higher levels of physical fitness were more efficient at burning fat while exercising.
This beneficial relationship between physical fitness and fat burning has been noted across the board and in all age groups. However, it was particularly pronounced in women. It is not yet known why the women were better off in the trials.
The second study, published in Experimental Physiology, took the research even further. By looking at it at the molecular level, it has been confirmed that healthy muscles are essential for fat loss thanks to proteins that absorb stored fat and convert it into smaller acids ready for transport to the mitochondria. The researchers found that physical fitness protected the individual to some extent from future fat gain, but pointed to the importance of diet in addition to exercise for overall body weight management.
"Weight management is mostly about energy balance," says Dr. Javier Gonzalez from the Department for Health at the University of Bath. “To lose weight, we need to eat fewer calories than we use from our resting metabolism and physical activity. However, people with a higher ability to burn fat for fuel seem somewhat protected from future weight gain, possibly related to how fat burning affects food intake and energy expenditure. "