3 Life Hacks to Help You Burn More Fat

After you read the following article, don't forget to check out THE PRIMAL EXAMPLE PODCAST on iTunes and Stitcher (for androids) to hear more about fat loss, muscle gain, biohacks, and a Primal lifestyle!

On to the fat burning hacks ...

A common weight loss myth is that your body inherently needs extra help burning fat. In reality, your body is already hardwired to burn excess fat; you just have to create the conditions that promote biological balance, which gives your body the chance to burn fat it doesn't need!

Below are some easy, lesser-known ways to help balance hormones, which in turn allows the body to burn excess fat naturally.

1. Cold Thermogenesis

If you follow athletics or pop culture, you've probably heard of celebrities like LeBron James and Alicia Keys trying "cryotherapy" to help with recovery anti-aging.

Cryotherapy treatment involves being exposed to subzero temperatures in order to activate the central nervous system and illicit a variety of beneficial biological functions. Some health benefits include decreased inflammation, cellular regeneration, and powerful (but natural) fat burning.

Let's take a moment to dig deep into the science of how cold thermogenesis is fat-burning tool that can be easily added to your daily ritual. Behind the scenes, cold thermogenesis (exposure to cold temperatures) acts as a hormetic (hormone) stressor, as well as an epigenetic trigger, that activates several different "survivor genes". A hormetic stressor is a desirable type of stress because it follows the law "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Below are some of the powerful fat burning effects of cold thermogenesis.

Brown Fat vs. White Fat

Just as there are good and bad dietary fats, there is good and bad fat within our own bodies. Perhaps "good fat" and "bad fat" are not the best terms to use. Instead, let's refer to these fats as more desirable and less desirable.

White fat (white adipose tissue), which is less metabolically active, is less desirable fat. Located in the belly, waist, and thigh regions, white fat is present in higher quantities in obese people. This is the type of fat that we generally want to "burn" or lose.

Brown fat (brown adipose tissue) on the other hand, which is more metabolically active, is more desirable fat. Located in it's largest quantities in the upper back, collar bone, and shoulder regions of the body, brown fat has the ability to "burn off" the white fat. Stimulation of this more desirable fat has fat-burning effects comparable to exercise, which helps to burn calories.

Cold thermogenesis has been clinically shown to increase the body's ability to stimulate brown fat, keeping the white fat under control in a process called mitochondrial uncoupling. Basically, your body tries to compensate for the extreme temperature shock, resulting in metabolic upregulation, which immediately kicks you into fat-burning mode.

Adiponectin

Another benefit of cold thermogensis is that it activates a powerful fat-burning hormone known as adiponectin. The role of adiponectin is to properly manage glucose levels as well as control fatty acid breakdown. This overlooked hormone also has a nifty way of lowering inflammation and preventing oxidative stress. In other words, adiponectin has the ability to lower blood glucose and turn you into a fat-burning machine.

To learn more about this process, check out episode 28 of The Primal Example Podcast.

How to Get the Benefits of Cold Thermogenesis

Unfortunately, most people don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a series of cryotherapy sessions. The role of a good biohacker is to find a way to replicate the biological benefits of a health-enhancing technique despite being unable to utilize that exact technique for one reason or another.

Luckily, there are some biohacking techniques that you can add to your arsenal that can largely mimic the effects of cryotherapy, providing you with many of the same biological benefits. The easiest "hack" is to take [extremely] cold showers.

Turning the temperature as cold as it can go while aiming the shower head at the previously mentioned brown fatty areas is the best way to receive the benefits of cold thermogenesis. Sure, it takes some getting used to, but the benefits of cold thermogenesis are worth the momentary discomfort. Add some form of cold thermogenesis to your daily health ritual to enjoy the myriad of fat burning effects that it has to offer.

If you're worried about cold showers ruining your sex life, have no fear. Science shows that the old adage of taking a cold shower to "calm yourself down" doesn't hold much merit. Sure, an extremely cold shower will calm you down in the short term, but that calmness is short-lived. Research shows that after you recover from the initial shock of the cold shower, you actually experience a small increase in testosterone and a few other hormones that contribute to an increased sex drive.

So next time you think about taking a cold shower to try to "tame the beast", remember that the beast is only going to come back stronger and with a vengeance quicker than you expected!

2. HIIT Exercise

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best hacks you can do to enter into fat burning mode and stay there all day. One of the reasons HIIT training is such a good hack is because of the amount of time that it takes to complete HIIT workouts. Unlike jogging on a treadmill for hours, HIIT is short in duration, with the ability to gain amazing benefits in as little as 4 minutes per day.

Behind the scenes, whether we know it or not, the main reason we exercise is to induce the secretion of certain beneficial hormones and decrease the secretion of some other hormones that can be less beneficial. These hormones are what control whether the workout is a fat-burning workout, fat-storing workout, muscle-wasting workout, or muscle-building workout. Of course, we want to activate fat burning and muscle building while simultaneously deactivating fat storing and muscle wasting. This is where HIIT exercise shines.

What is HIIT exercise ?

HIIT exercise is a type of exercise that consists of short bursts of 90-100% output followed by adequate recovery time only to be followed with another short burst of 100% output followed by another set of adequate recovery time. A HIIT exercise can look like this:

- 20 seconds of burpees (90-100% energy output)

- 10 seconds recovery

- 20 seconds of burpees (90-100% energy output)

- 10 seconds recovery

- 20 seconds of burpees (90-100% energy output)

- 10 seconds of recovery

Repeat until you have completed a total of eight 20-second burpee sets and eight 10-second recovery sets

Here is our Tabata beginner workout video that you can follow along with!

That's right, you can receive all of the hormonal benefits of a workout in just 4 minutes! It's time to let go of the "longer is better" mindset and learn to hack our biology.

For decades, the mantra of weight loss has been logging hours and miles on the treadmill. Those days are gone. Modern research is now showing that not only is HIIT more effective than traditional treadmill cardio when it comes to fat loss, but that traditional cardio may even inhibit weight loss in some capacity due to it's activation of cortisol (your body's main stress hormone).

Chronic activation of your body's cortisol response is known to increase weight gain in the belly area while also eating away at your muscle tissue. A short spike in cortisol is actually beneficial and can be viewed as a hormetic stressor, which we mentioned early follows the law of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". When we chronically activate the cortisol response process, we are screwing with our insulin and blood sugar levels and locking calories into our cells to ultimately be stored as fat (triglycerides). Additionally, chronically elevated cortisol also lowers certain desirable hormones such as HGH (human growth hormone) and testosterone.

Research shows that compared to traditional cardio, HIIT has a much greater impact on body composition. HIIT has a particularly unique way of targeting abdominal fat as well as subcutaneous fat. HIIT has also shown to increase insulin sensitivity by as much as 58% in some studies. Insulin resistance is basically the last step before diabetes and a marker for metabolic syndrome, so increasing insulin sensitivity is extremely desirable. One study that involved type 2 diabetics showed that just 8 weeks of HIIT training decreased the subjects' abdominal fat by 44%.

In summary, logging hours on the treadmill in hopes of losing weight is not the mecca of exercise that we once believed. It's far more beneficial and far less time consuming to partake in HIIT training on a semi-regular basis. By doing HIIT exercise, you'll be increasing the fat burning and muscle building hormones while decreasing the fat-storing, muscle-tissue destroying hormones.

3. Swap out Vegetable Oils in Favor of Fats for Cooking

Go into your kitchen and search through your cabinets, you are bound to found a big jug of vegetable oil. Let's take that a step further. Go to your local grocery store and turn some of their products around to view the ingredient label. Vegetable oils of some sort (canola, soy, sunflower) are in just about EVERYTHING ! These oils, which were once thought to be healthier oils that don't contribute to weight gain, are now being proven to be some of the most harmful food products that you could possibly consume.

Vegetable oils mostly consist of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). There is nothing inherently "wrong" with PUFAs. The real issue is that when PUFAs are heated in the cooking process, they oxidize and become inflammatory demons, wreaking havoc on your health and waistline. Saturated fats are much more stable when exposed to heat and do not have this exact problem. This is because of the chain length of the fat. Polyunsaturated fats have longer fatty chains, which leaves more opportunity for oxygen to sneak in and "oxidize" the fat, making it inflammatory to the consumer.

On the other hand, saturated fats have shorter chains that leave less room for oxygen to find it's way into the chain to oxidize it. When we consume an oxidized fat, we create reactive oxygen species (ROS) in our bodies. These ROS run rampant through the body, causing damage everywhere they go. An overload of ROS creates a constant activation of the stress response that we discusses in the HIIT section of this article. When we are inflamed due to oxidized fats, our hormones are all out of whack, which contributes to the inability to burn fat.

One of the biggest hacks you can do to burn more fat is to STOP FEEDING YOUR BODY SUBSTANCES THAT PROMOTE INFLAMMATION AND PREVENT FAT BURNING! This starts by defying what you hear in mainstream media and go back to cooking with butter! Your waistline will thank you!

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