We should all know or at least have a general idea about what fat in the body is. Most of us don’t like it. And most of us have to try really, really hard to get rid of it. That’s where “fat loss” comes in when starting a high intensity workout regimen or a specific diet/meal plan.
Before we get into why fat loss is important and how we go about doing it safely and healthily, let’s talk about what it actually is.
We store fat in tissues in our bodies — mostly under the skin, with a small amount in our muscles. Body fat is an energy storage depot. That means when the substances providing energy become sparse in your bloodstream (carbohydrates, for example), the body detects this and calls on fat reserves for backup.
Fats are stored as triglycerides in fat cells and are released via the activity of an enzyme. This allows fatty acids to enter the blood, where they circulate bound to a protein and enter muscles to be “burned.” So, fat being burned = “losing” fat.
On to the why. Why should people not want high amounts of fat in the body and why is fat loss so important? Excess body fat can negatively affect nearly every facet of life, including:
• decreased mobility
• poorer emotional health and self-esteem
• increased risk of organ failure
• poorer circulatory health
• increased risk of heart disease
• increased risk of stress fractures
• increased risk of strokes
• increased risk of cancers
• decreased sexual and reproductive health
As you can see, excesses in fat storage lead to some pretty unfortunate consequences. That’s not to say you should be 0% body fat. Maintaining a healthy level of fat in your body will keep you happy and in good shape.
Now that we know a little more about the importance of keeping body fat at a proper level, here are some points on how to maintain a low body fat and/or lower body fat:
• Exercise at least 5 hours per week
• Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues
• Sleep 7-9 hours per night
• Don’t engage in extreme diets
• Stay consistent with your habits
• Incorporate non-exercise physical activity
• Ignore food advertising
*Information curtesy of Precision Nutrition*