You may have heard that intermittent fasting can help reduce stubborn body fat more effectively than other diets can. Is that true? The short answer is “yes” – but the long answer is a bit more complicated than that.
The Difference Between Stubborn Fat and Regular Fat
Contrary to popular belief, fat is not all the same. There is a physiological difference between stubborn fat and regular fat. The difference lies in the adrenoreceptors.
There are two main types of adrenoreceptors: beta-2 and alpha-2 receptors. These receptors are found all over your body including your fat cells. What makes the difference between stubborn fat and regular fat is the number of beta-2 receptors vs. alpha-2 receptors.
Alpha-2 (a2) receptors obstruct fat burning while beta-2 (b2) receptors help accelerate fat loss.
Regular fat contains more b2-receptors than a2-receptors, whereas stubborn fat contains more a2-receptors than b2 receptors. This is one reason why regular fat is easier to burn off than stubborn fat.
Another reason that makes stubborn fat different is the lack of blood flow. Blood flow is absolutely essential to mobilize fat. Without adequate blood flow, there’s no way for the fat burning hormones to be able to reach stubborn fat areas.
Unfortunately stubborn fat is found in areas where we least want it, such as your lower stomach for example. Men will most likely find it in their lower back region and women will find it in their hips, thighs and buttocks as well.
The good news is there is a way to get rid of stubborn fat, but it’s going to take more than just regular dieting and exercise. If you want to burn off those hard-to-remove pounds, you’ve got to use a different tactic – that’s where intermittent fasting comes in.
Intermittent Fasting and Stubborn Fat Loss
Why is intermittent fasting capable of targeting stubborn body fat more effectively than most other diets? Here are the three main reasons:
- Fasting increases catecholamine levels – Catecholamine hormones bind to adrenoreceptors to accelerate fat mobilization.
- Fasting improves subcutaneous blood flow – This means that more blood is able to get to your stubborn fat areas allowing catecholamines and other fat burning hormones to attack it.
- Lowering insulin level – Lower insulin levels help inhibit a2-receptors (remember these receptors obstruct fat burning) allowing your body more time to mobilize the fat from those stubborn areas.
It’s important to keep in mind that insulin is a powerful hormone that can override your catecholamine and any other fat burning process. This makes fasting even more attractive because it’s a sure fire way to keep your insulin levels as low as possible.
How Long Should You Fast?
Although there is no definitive consensus on the optimum length of fasting time it’s thought that an ideal state of fat burning can be reached in 12 -18 hours.
Studies show that while you can burn more fat past 18 hours, you’re not burning off any more visible stubborn fat. Past 18 hours your body starts burning intramuscular fat and not subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is stubborn fat that’s clearly visible in regions like your lower stomach, low back, hips, buttocks and thighs. Intramuscular fat is non-visible fat embedded within the muscles. So for purposes of burning off visible stubborn fat, you’re better off breaking your fast between 12 - 18 hours.
How To Work Out While Intermittent Fasting?
Working out while you’re intermittent fasting can be a little tricky, but if you do it properly you can build a lean and trim physique even faster. The trick is to maintain lean muscle mass while still burning fat. Remember, insulin is your enemy when it comes to burning stubborn fat. As soon as insulin is stimulated your fat burning process completely stops. So you need to make sure that you don’t stimulate your insulin when working out. This means you can’t consume anything prior to your work out unless there are no calories, which leaves you with water, tea or coffee. The problem is that working out on an empty tank can result in loss of valuable lean muscle mass. This is where BCAA can be really helpful. BCAA (branched chain amino acids) have no calories, so it won’t affect your insulin, but it provides your muscles with the necessary amino acids (building blocks of muscle) to help prevent muscle loss when working out in a fasted state.
Intermittent fasting is a proven and effective way to burn off stubborn fat. And although it’s not for everyone, if you’ve been struggling to burn off those nagging few pounds, intermittent fasting may be your answer.
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