What you can expect from this article:
- Approximately 1800 words
- Conveying basic knowledge about body fat in the simplest possible way
- Introduction to the concept of fat mobilisation
- You will now recognise some of the basic traps and "innocent lies" that the market is selling you
I will try to make this article as less complex as possible. I do not want to convey inaccuracies, but at the same time I wish to provide enough information without being tedious. This way you will be able to better understand how things work and remove a lot of the confusion about how fat loss works.
Body fat is divided into two main categories:
- The necessary fat. It is needed for the proper functioning of the body. This is not made up of fat cells and so cannot be "lost". This ranges around 3-5% in men and 9-12% in women and is found in places like the brain, heart and bone marrow.
- Stored fat. That which we can and do care to lose. This type of fat is in turn divided into the following categories:
- BAT: These fat cells are present in large quantities in infants and their function is to convert energy into heat. They are mainly composed of mitochondria and the average non-overweight adult has a maximum of 85 grams of this type of fat.
- Beige: (wBAT): beige fat cells are found between grey and white in small areas and are even rarer than grey.
- White (WAT): most of the adipose tissue. Most of the white fat. This has two other subtypes:
- Subdural: Under the skin.
- Visceral: Between the organs.
When we talk about fat loss, as is obvious, we are referring to white fat cells and more specifically, the loss of triglycerides from them.
Let's try not to make it more complicated than necessary though. When our body needs energy and uses fat as a source, the part of the process we are interested in in this case is how hormones signal the fat cell so that the stored fat in the form of triglycerides it contains is released. So when it is released, it becomes free fatty acids, which can go to the liver, to organs that need it for fuel or be reabsorbed by fat cells. Is this good so far?
What is the consequence of this? You'll see that if you sit down and think about it, what I said means that the fat in our body is not static. But you already knew that, right? Because you already knew that stored fat is a source of energy, so by its very nature fat can't just sit there. It's just that the advertisements of slimming salons and various sophisticates have made you forget that, because this path has some very interesting consequences.
Let's make it even clearer. Do we agree so far that body fat is not static? Perfect. However, have you seen many people who have big bellies and thin thighs one day while the next day, or even the next month, or the next year have big thighs and thin bellies? And to take it a step further, have you seen many women with fat bellies and thin thighs and many men with fat legs and thin bellies? You're beginning to see a reason for that, a mechanism, right? Let's go a little further and clear the landscape as much as we can.
Remember when I mentioned that hormones instruct the fat cell to release the triglycerides it contains? Think of the receptors in our body cells as puzzle pieces. Only the right type of molecule can apply to the appropriate type of receptor, so the cell receives the signal to do something. In adipocytes, adrenaline and noradrenaline are the molecule types that apply to the receptors (that's why they are called adrenergic receptors). Receptors are divided into the following five types:
- Alpha-type receptacles (with subcategories a1 and a2)
- Beta-type receptors (with subclasses b1, b2 and b3)
I know, very original nomenclature. I just hope I haven't bored you with the technical terms. Because this is where it gets interesting: when beta receptors are activated, fat cells start the process of lipolysis. Conversely, when alpha receptors are activated, the process stops. There they are!
Each different area in our body is made up of fat cells with different percentages of receptors. The so-called "stubborn fat", as is easy to understand now, as frustrating as that is, has more alpha receptors than beta receptors.
So it doesn't take much effort to draw a conclusion if we have the above information in mind. The distribution of body fat is therefore primarily a genetic issue, although other important factors enter into the equation, such as the ratio of testosterone and estrogen in the individual, which are basically genetic, but are also influenced by external factors.
This is why a large waist circumference in men is usually an indication of a low testosterone to estrogen ratio, while in women the greater the tendency for fat to accumulate in the buttocks, the higher the estrogen to testosterone ratio.
Have you ever seen a fat bolide-blender, especially in competition? I don't suppose you think their abs are so toned that they became bigger in volume than their biceps, do you? Although their abs shouldn't show as they should be buried under a layer of fat, it's quite the opposite because simply the testosterone in the body is at such abnormally high levels due to the substances they are taking.
Other genetic differences are that men tend to have mostly visceral fat and lose fat from the waist and torso first, then the arms and then the legs. Women tend to have mostly subcutaneous fat and lose fat first from the arms, then the waist and torso, then the legs.
The conclusion so far: You cannot lose fat locally. Anyone who says otherwise is a fraud.
But what about the lipolysis methods from slimming salons? Every few months new advertisements come out taking advantage of either the fact that the holidays are coming and you want to be thin in your social circle, or that the holidays are just over and you have gained weight that you want to lose. With heat, with ultrasound, with subliminals, with cooling, with voodoo and telepathy... Seriously though, if these methods were permanent these salons would be shut down.
All these methods do is to mobilize fat, the mechanism of which we have explained. Of course, positive results will be seen immediately after a treatment, but these will be short-term. As I explained, fat is not static. Fat mobilization is a natural process. Once fat leaves the fat cell, it will not be eliminated from the body. The fat will be mobilized either from that area to the liver and muscles, or back again to the adipose tissue, which means that the person who has just done this lipolysis method must not eat and exercise for 30-60 minutes (and after the exercise wait another 30-60 minutes before eating, as the exercise mobilizes the fat) so that the free fatty acids are not reesterified and the process has an optimal result.
Something that could be achieved by exercise alone, but of course without the ability to target the adipose tissue of a specific area, we can admit that. On the other hand, of course, just because the fat is gone from the fat cell, does not mean that the fat cell disappears. Once a fat cell is created, it stays in the body forever, it simply shrinks when triglycerides leave it through the process of fat mobilization.
In short, the next time that person eats even slightly more than their daily needs, fat will be stored in that area. The only thing this person can do to avoid re-storing fat in the area where they did the lipolysis is simply to be on a caloric balance. To wit, to see results, this person has to do what he or she should have done in the first place: diet and exercise. Only you will have to give more money and run out. I see. Sounds reasonable to me.
The only real way to lose fat locally is liposuction. But again, the first calorie above that person's daily requirements will mean the creation of adipose tissue in that area. Granted, even half a pound taken off a person's entire torso or buttocks will not be noticeable. However, half a pound will eventually become one and one, two. In short, from that moment on, that person will have to watch his diet and exercise, something he could do to lose fat from the beginning, without the extra expense and without the risks of an operation.
And before I forget, you now know that the next time a trainer gives you ab exercises, you're dealing with an imposter. Abs are not going to show unless fat is lost from that particular area (and that means a much lower percentage of body fat than the average person aims to achieve) and of course, there is no exercise that changes the genetic data to lose local fat. In the near future we will also start dealing with physical training, but until we get to that, keep in mind that almost all popular abdominal exercises work out the hip flexor muscles more, resulting in postural problems.
So in conclusion I will draw these conclusions from the above:
- Losing local fat with exercise and diet is not possible. Every now and then someone comes out who claims otherwise, but the truth is that you can't go against the rules of nature.
- The "stubborn fat" can be lost, it just takes patience and perseverance. His turn will come. The fat loss process should be a marathon anyway, not a sprint. A quick fix equals a quick fix, always and everywhere.
- Even in the case of local fat loss through an invasive method or treatment, diet and exercise will be needed anyway, something this person could do from the beginning without the extra expense and potential risks.
-Suprastratum: The authority on health, fitness and nutrition