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Teach the body to burn fat


Last updated 5/13/2011 at Noon

In this article I will change your paradigm of thinking about nutrition so you can teach your body to use the right foods at the right times to improve your health and exercise better. It is about adopting some very simple nutrition concepts and, most importantly, implementing them. Execution is paramount. The best plan in the world will not be any good if it is not followed.

Efficiency is a term that is we have associated with our body functions. From a nutrition perspective, being metabolically efficient simply means being able to use the proper nutrients at the right times. Specifically, use more of the almost unlimited, 80,000 or more calories stored as fat in the body and preserve the very limited carbohydrate stores, which at best range from 1,200 to 2,000 calories.

It is likely you have heard of this before. As you increase your intensity, your body prefers to use more carbohydrates and less fat (From the body) for fuel. With exercise increasing your respiration and heart rate, you can manipulate this to essentially burn more fat during exercise.

I’ve been working with athletes, recreational exercisers and clinically obese for many years. When the question is asked of them what their goals for the short and long term are, weight and body fat loss always top the list followed by looking good. While exercise is certainly important, adopting a daily nutrition shift is the predominant method in improving the body’s ability to burn more fat and preserve carbohydrate stores. The nutrients you put in your body can have a profound effect on metabolic processes.

Carbohydrates are a staple in our eating plan and for good reason. They provide the energy that is needed to fuel the body for exercise. But at certain times of the year, maintaining a higher carbohydrate eating plan can lead to weight and body fat gain. If energy expenditure is lower, (I.E .: Gym time or work time) the need for a higher calorie meal plan is simply not necessary. You may even need to look at a reduction.

Eating too much of any one macronutrient (Too much protein or Carbohydrate), can lead to metabolic inefficiencies. Focus too heavy on one, and a state of imbalance occurs. Eat a combination of foods (leans meats, vegetables, fruit), and you will remain in balance and not get thrown out of whack.

These simple, easy-to-implement nutrition steps will help in your quest to become more metabolically efficient, use more of your fat stores as energy and create a metabolic shift inside your body where it will learn how and when to use fat.

As you approach your food selection and preparation, prioritize your meals and snacks. First on the plate should be a source of lean protein. Second up is a healthy portion of fruits and/or vegetables. Then, if you have room on the plate (no more than a fourth of the plate), add a few whole grains if needed or wanted.

Stay on track with these steps 90 percent of the time and allow yourself to “miss” the other 10 percent of the time. (The 90/10 rule) Remember, you are human and life happens. Don’t stress out if you have the occasional miss (sweets, alcohol, chips, etc.). Approach your nutrition plan as you do your exercise plan, and allow some room to deviate.

This shouldn’t be too difficult. It will take preparation, execution and commitment on your part. Remember, this is a behavior change that can take weeks to months to adopt. Start now and allow yourself some times where you will take a few steps backwards. It’s all part of the process of improving your nutrition plan!

Good luck and success.

Greg the Trainer is a Personal Fitness Advisor in the Orange County and Vidor area. For more information you may reach him at 409-550-0777 or go to


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