We know that diet and exercise are the two key components to effectively losing weight, burning fat and getting lean and fit while optimizing your health. But is there something else that can help enhance your fat burning process?
You bet! And it’s super simple and effective.
Exposure to cold temperature. If you’re not a fan of cold (...I’m definitely not!) it may not come across as very appealing. But you may change your mind once you find out the various health benefits.
Here are some of the advantages of “cold therapy”:
- Increased metabolism: When you get cold your body starts shivering in an attempt to increase your body temperature. Your body also up regulates your metabolism to make sure that your core body temperature doesn’t drop, and that means your body has to burn more calories in cold climate.
- Fat Loss: Exposure to cold temperatures also releases adiponectin, which is a hormone that breaks down fat. It also increases glucose uptake into your muscles thereby lowering your blood glucose.
- Longevity: Subjecting your body to cold temperatures can stimulate similar benefits as caloric restriction and intermittent fasting, and increase your cell’s longevity.
- More Fat Loss: When you body gets cold, it can utilize blood glucose quicker to provide energy to produce more heat. This would reduce the amount of glucose that would otherwise be converted and stored as fat.
- Even More Fat Loss Through Activation Of Brown Fat: Exposure to cold temperature can also increase your metabolism via activation of a specific kind of fat called “brown fat”.
- Regular fat is also known as “white fat”. White fat is (relatively) metabolically inactive and is accumulated and stored in your body (ie. your trouble spots) It’s used as a source of energy during periods of low activity or if the body is in starvation mode. It’s generally the last energy source to be utilized in your body since energy from carbohydrate is much more accessible, unless you’re on a ketogenic or low carbohydrate diet, in which case you’ll be able to utilize fat as the main source of fuel.
- Brown fat on the other hand is not accumulated or stored like white fat. In fact, brown fat is usually present only around the neck and clavicle regions and can’t physically be detected. Brown fat is “brown” because it has alot of mitochondria, which are your energy producing organelles needed for heat production.
- Brown fat has the ability to burn regular “white” fat to provide energy for producing heat.
- Brown fat also possesses the ability to directly transfer energy from food for heat production. This is significant since it eliminates food energy from being stored as fat.
Although this certainly doesn’t replace a proper diet and an effective exercise program, it’s a good adjunct if you’re looking for an extra boost for your fat loss.
There is no written rule to “cold therapy”, in terms of length and temperature. However, a good rule of thumb would be to start at around 10 - 15 minutes and slowly work your way up to 45 - 60 minutes while being slightly uncomfortably cold (ie. the shivers).
You can also place an ice pack on your brown fat areas - neck, clavicle and upper chest - to try and activate your brown fat specifically. Keep in mind though, that the results will vary according to how much brown fat you have, and unfortunately there is no easy way to find out (unless you get a medical imaging test) so you’ll need to experiment and determine if the process is beneficial for you.
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