How hard is it to lower your body fat percentage? In most cases, it’s a lot harder than you’d think!
The human body is designed to STORE fat, just in case of periods of hunger or food scarcity. By storing more fat, the human body protects itself from starvation or long-term food deprivation. This means that our bodies are always trying to produce more fat from the food we eat, making it difficult to eliminate body fat.
The truth is that it’s going to take a long time to lower your body fat percentage. You can lose a lot of weight at once, but you can’t get rid of body fat quickly. It will take long months of healthy eating, regular exercise, and clean living to see results in your body fat percentage. But that’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s the best way to go. Slowly lowering body fat levels results in permanent, manageable weight control for years limiting weight regain.
Why fast weight loss cannot lower body fat percentage!
Anyone can lose weight quickly but losing weight does not necessarily mean a lower body fat percentage, in fact people who lose weight too fast may actually increase the fat percentage. With rapid weight loss a large percentage will come from fluid losses which are easily regained after a diet. Fluid is simply lost from cells as the body burns off the remaining stores of carbohydrates (glycogen in muscles) and then starts to metabolize muscle protein to supply the body’s energy needs.
You see, the body is designed to use carbohydrates as the primary source of energy. It leaves all the stored fat alone, using the carbs from the food you eat. Only once you’ve run out of carbs does your body turn to the stored fat. It will grudgingly activate fat cells for burning, but only a small amount at a time. All the years you’ve spent burning carbs for energy makes it much harder for your body to use your stored fat.
But don’t forget: Fat also requires oxygen to burn. Your cardiovascular system doesn’t supply your body with enough oxygen to burn fat all the time, meaning the only time you’ll truly burn fat effectively is when you have both burned through energy supplies AND increased oxygen intake. This, of course, means during and immediately after exercise.
People who are inactive and don’t do exercise rarely put their bodies into fat-burning mode, due to the fact that they rarely run out of carb-based energy or activate their cardiovascular systems sufficiently to provide the oxygen required to burn fat. This is why exercise plays such an important role in not just your weight loss overall, but specifically your fat-burning.
So, as you can see, the key to lower body fat percentage is a combination of two things:
- Reducing carb intake. This means you will have less carb-based energy, forcing your body to get accustomed to burning protein and fats for energy.
- Doing more exercise. This helps to burn through most of your carb-based energy quickly, and it increases cardiovascular function to increase the amount of oxygen consumed by the body. This can lead to better oxygenation of fat cells, ergo better fat burning!
An athlete’s body can burn more fat because the energy system has adapted to supplying enough oxygen to the working muscles. Their regular training has also helped develop many more capillaries that innervate the muscles so more oxygen can be carried to the cells. It’s the main reason why athletes are often very lean with a much lower body fat percentage than the average person!
When trying to lose weight its good practice to measure body fat percentage at regular intervals. Slower weight loss should produce a permanently low fat percentage over time! It’s going to take a long time–months or even years–to see the body fat results you want. Don’t give up it you don’t see immediate progress, or a rapid drop in your body fat. Slow and steady is the way to win this particular race!