As a personal trainer I get asked the same question over and over again.

“How do I burn more fat?”

It  may not be what you want to hear, but read on and then have a think about how you are going to improve your chances of burning fat you don’t want.

I see a lot of workouts designed for fat loss online, diets that help fat loss and it seems to me that science is being used in a way that is unhelpful for a huge section of the population. There is of course a link between exercise and the burning of fat (0xidation), however investigations so far suggest that the link is personal.
How much fat you will burn depends on your lifestyle now, previous lifestyle and genetics.
It has been shown that aerobic fitness, physical activity level, body composition and sex related differences explain about 35% of individual variation in MFO (maximal fat oxidation). It is considered that habitual and recent dietary intake also explains some of the individual variation in MFO; this area is still being actively investigated. Other factors such as hormonal fluctuations, muscle fibre type or genetic predisposition also put their mark on fat oxidation during exercise.
Evidence has been found though that predicts fat oxidation levels at rest to fat oxidation levels during exercise1 (Rosenkilde, 2010). How this impacts on health is still being investigated.
More worryingly is the connection between those with a lower MFO and higher risk factors pointing at metabolic syndrome than those with a higher MFO. (Rosenkilde, 2010).   Further investigations into the individual variability of MFO and its impact is ongoing and no firm conclusions have yet been made.
Although fat oxidation has been shown to decrease at maximal exercise intensity, the reason is still not clearly understood, (Edward L Melanson, et al. (2009). The information that ongoing fat oxidation is still increased after exercise has not been determined absolutely, and over a 24 hour period, disputed. Although it has been proved that fat metabolism is improved in muscles that have been exercised, the only way that fitness and health can be maximised with current scientific knowledge is TO MOVE MORE every day, eat for nutrition, and keep your weight in check. There is no one thing that will help everyone, no magic pill, no inspired exercise plan, no superfood, our internal genetics are as variable as our external ones. I know I keep saying it but the answer to the question “how do I burn more fat” is…………

Eat fresh, drink water, move more and get plenty of sleep 🙂

Rosenkilde M. et al. (2010) Fat oxidation at rest predicts peak fat Oxidation during exercise and metabolic phenotype in overweight men.1
Edward L Melanson, Paul S. MacLean, James O. Hill (2009) Exercise improves fat metabolism in muscle but does not increase 24-h fat oxidation2

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