Tag Archives: flat tummy

Ever wondered how your body actually burns fat?

By STEVEN MILNER IIST

Let’s start by working backwards, how do we get fat?

A few years ago a popular health magazine decided to try to answer that same question by reasoning that if we knew all the “tricks” to gaining weight, we could learn what “not” to do if we wanted to stay lean.

So they picked a group whose job requires them to maintain enormous stores of body fat – Sumo wrestlers. If we knew what they did we might learn what not to do so they looked at what Sumo’s did to get fat and this is a simplified description of much how they go about it.

They had a strict daily workout regime with as much rest as possible in between workouts, they took a lot of short naps and then at the end of the day, they ate their one meal, a massive calorie dense amount of food and beer that would make an all you can eat buffet at the local gastro pub seem skimpy. Shortly after this multi-thousand calorie feast they’d go straight to bed for the night.

So what can we learn from this? One reason this technique is so effective for weight gain is that it mobilizes every fat-storing mechanism we have in our body. The point here is that if you want to burn fat instead of store it, you have to learn how to turn off your “fat storing mechanisms,” and instead turn on your “fat burning mechanisms.”

So here’s the simplified biochemistry behind the Sumos’ weight gain…

When you eat a big carbohydrate rich meal, it sends your blood sugar soaring. The body immediately releases a hormone (insulin) whose job it is to control that sugar and get it out of the bloodstream and into the muscle cells. The ting is when the muscle cells don’t need it, like if you’re not moving around much and are inactive, insulin takes that sugar and shuttles it into the fat cells. No wonder insulin is also known as the “fat-storing hormone.” Insulin does its work with the help of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is kind of like the “fat-storing enzyme.” LPL takes triglycerides (fats) from the bloodstream, breaks them down into smaller parts (fatty acids), and then promptly helps store these fatty acids in your fat cells.

Once insulin is released into the bloodstream, it effectively locks the doors to the fat cells. They won’t open up and release their potential energy stores (that is, you won’t burn fat) until insulin levels come back down. Of course, the more you continue to eat that same high carb diet, the less your insulin levels go down. That’s the biochemistry put very simply, and it works that way whether you’re a couch potato or you’re a professional Sumo wrestler.

So Just How DO You Burn Fat?

You do the exact opposite of everything I just said, and here’s why …
Insulin has a sister hormone, and its name is glucagon. It’s a critical component involved in fat burning biochemistry. When blood sugar is low, and you need more energy, (but food isn’t available), glucagon is secreted into the bloodstream. Its purpose is the exact opposite of insulin’s. Glucagon goes into the cells and causes fat to be released. And it does so with the help of a fat-burning enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).

Much as glucagon is the “opposite” of insulin, HSL is the “opposite” of LPL, the fat-storing enzyme I spoke of earlier. HSL breaks down triglycerides (a form of fat stored in your cells) into fatty acids and glycerol, so as they travel around the bloodstream they can be burned for energy or excreted.  This glucagon-HSL partnership makes up part of the fat burning process.

To sum it all up and working backwards, we start to see the obvious: Fat burning (and weight loss) won’t take place unless the fat-burning components (glucagon/ HSL) are all in place.

The fat burning switch is in the “off” position as long as insulin levels are high. Insulin levels are high whenever blood sugar is high, and blood sugar is typically high in response to high-carbohydrate meals. Therefore the solution to the problem involved in “how to burn fat” is pretty simple. Keep blood sugar in a safe, moderate range where it won’t trigger an insulin spike. By keeping blood sugar (and insulin) down, you allow glucagon/HSL, the fat-burning switch, to do it’s magic.

If you want to trigger your fat-burning switch, you have to learn to eat in a way that won’t trigger excess insulin. Fortunately, that isn’t that hard to do. I’ll tell you more about how to do this by understanding the dangers posed by high glycaemic indexed carbs, processed foods and bad fats in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

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Fourteen day kick start diet to fat loss and better health

By STEVEN MILNER IIST

Fast & Simple Fat Loss with Clever Eating

It is possible to lose 15 lbs of body fat in 14 days simply by eating right.  Provided you have 15 lbs to lose. I should point out that I always encourage people to exercise but if your nutrition isn’t spot on you will still struggle to shed fat.
When you are in touch with the way your body reacts to diet and exercise manipulating your nutrition can transform your body almost overnight. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to do this; in fact it’s often easier if you’re not.  More likely than not you will have been eating the same way for years and the next 14 days will throw your body into the hyper fat burning zone. This way of eating can shed body fat and put on muscle but to also completely change your blood lipid profile.  High cholesterol and triglycerides are brought back into the normal range in less than 30 days with this nutrition plan.  This way of eating is often called “Nutrition Cycling” and is extremely effective.

So for the next 14 days here’s what you’re going to aim for and the strategies you are going to use.

Strategy # 1: Eat all the protein you want.
You can eat: Beef, Eggs, Lamb, Seafood, Pork and Chicken, Turkey or even Ostrich if you can get it.

Strategy #2: Limit your carbohydrates to 30 grams a day or less.
Although you can have any carbs you want as long as you stay under 30 a day, I’d suggest sourcing your carbohydrates from the following sources or similar.
Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage. By eating veg you can eat a large volume of food while getting your vitamins and fibre into the bargain.

Strategy # 3: Water
Drink 39 ml of water per kg of bodyweight. You can also drink black coffee, tea and any zero calorie drink but water is the best.  Buy water if you want but water is water, when you mix it with coffee it’s still water. You don’t need to be a snob about it, we pay a fortune in the UK to ensure we get good quality water straight out of the tap.

Strategy #4: Don’t drink your calories.
Stay away from high calorie sugary drinks.  They do nothing but make you fat! And that includes all types of fruit juice, yes it does!

Strategy #5: Have a splurge day.
After 14 days I want you to celebrate by eating anything you want!  This will stimulate your metabolism and also fill your muscles up with glycogen so it won’t turn to fat.

Moving forward – day 15 & beyond
By taking the carbohydrates out of your diet temporarily, it trains your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. When carbohydrates are present you body will not turn to fat stores for energy. Monday to Friday you should eat like you have for the past 14 days, pay attention to how your body responds to certain foods and if something is causing you to gain fat cut it out of your diet.  Bear in mind that the carb limit of 30 grams is a starting point and most people will do brilliantly at 30 grams of carbs a day, others will need a little more carbohydrate so pay attention to how you feel and experiment with things a little.  Most people will feel and look best in the 30 to 50 grams a day range.  Remember this isn’t a static diet like most diet plans; this diet plan should be specific to you and your unique body.

The Victory Weekend.
Every weekend following the first 14 days you can eat whatever you want for 12 to 48 hours.  You can call this the victory weekend or your splurge days.  It lets you feel human and enjoy food without looking like a diet freak!   Your body is in a constant state of physical transformation weekly with this diet, that’s why it’s important to know when to stop at the weekend. If you find that you have an unlimited appetite on weekends, that’s ok within reason but be careful. If you are eating pizza and ice-cream you may want to stop after 12 hours.  On the other hand if you are carbing up with potatoes, fruit and veg and maybe a slice or two of pizza the full 48 hours may be best.  The whole idea is to become aware of the way your body responds and adjust your food intake accordingly.

That’s why you have to be aware and notice when you start to feel bloated.  Everyone responds to food differently. I can’t emphasis this enough, keep an eye on yourself and the way your body responds.

A Breakfast that Helps to Burn Fat?

by Steven Milner IIST

Here is one of the best breakfasts for fat burning.
If your reading this you are probably concerned about bodyfat and the shape of your body, after all this is a health site. What I outline here is fantastic 5-minute recipe for a delicious breakfast to speed up your metabolism, charge your energy levels and start you burning belly fat.

If you want to pack on belly fat, here’s a foolproof way to do it:
Just eat any version of the typical English breakfast, including the utterly idiotic “low-fat” breakfast popular in the 80’s of orange juice, whole wheat toast, special K, skimmed milk and a banana that’ll guarantee a surge of the fat storage hormone insulin, and a crash of blood sugar a couple of hours later to boot. (This, by the way, is exactly why you’ll be starving at 11 o’clock and ready to kill for a kitkat.)

So what’s a good alternative? Well here is one of the best breakfasts for fat burning…
One of the best breakfasts for eliminating belly fat is a high-protein shake. Protein revs up the metabolism and doesn’t have nearly the same effect on insulin, the fat storage hormone I mentioned earlier, that carbs do. Use a high-quality whey protein that provides one of the cleanest, most powerful sources of protein on the planet.
For breakfast, mix the protein powder (you might want to get hold of a hand blender) with either water or whole milk (still legal in England). Then choose from a variety of options similar to the “toppings” section at a smoothie counter.

Any of the following, alone or in combination, is terrific:
1) A tablespoon of peanut butter: The fat blunts the impact of the shake on your blood sugar (and insulin levels) and the peanut butter is a delicious addition.
2) A tablespoon of oatmeal: The oatmeal adds some more fibre and some valuable beta-glucans, which help control blood sugar. Don’t do this if you’re sensitive to gluten.
3) A cup of frozen berries: Blueberries are low in sugar and calories and loaded with antioxidants. Plus if you use them frozen, it makes your protein shake taste like a smoothie.

For a super-charged bodybuilders breakfast shake you can also include a raw egg or two Rocky style.
Bodybuilders have been using raw eggs in their protein shakes since the days of Arnold Schwarzenegger, as it’s one of nature’s most perfect foods and one of the highest rated protein sources on the planet.

Add these two secret weapons and voila, you’re done…
After choosing one or more of the “extras” (see above), you can take it a stage further by adding a scoop of a propriety brand of fibre. Fibre not only maintains the health of the digestive tract, but it also reduces the risk of a number of diseases including heart disease and diabetes and even certain forms of cancer. It also keeps you, as old-timers used to say, “Regular.”
And if you want to go the whole hog add one tablespoon of flavoured omega-3 fish oil. It provides a nice dose of omega-3 fatty acids which lower inflammation and benefit your health in a myriad of ways. And the fat will keep you fuller longer, adding to the time that this shake will keep you away from bad snack habits. All this should take less than two minutes to prepare.

Why is this shake perfect for trimming ugly belly fat?
The reason this shake is perfect for trimming belly fat is simple: it won’t cause your fat STORING hormone, insulin, to rise. When your blood sugar goes up quickly and stays there, insulin rises in response. This effectively turns off the hormone glucagon, your fat BURNING hormone that has the exact opposite effect of insulin.
If you want to burn belly fat, you’ll want your fat-burning switch to be turned “on” and your glucagon to be flowing. So you want a breakfast that doesn’t send insulin levels skyrocketing. It’s that simple.

Here’s the recipe in case you were wondering.
Here’s a sample recipe for a “belly-fat eliminating” breakfast shake. Feel free to vary to taste.
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup whole milk or water
1 cup frozen blueberries (any berries will do)
1 tablespoon oatmeal
1 raw egg (optional)
3 ice cubes (optional)
1 scoop fibre (optional)
1 tablespoon flavoured fish oil (optional

If you come up with some interesting variations, let me know!
Meanwhile, be ready to be surprised at how good you feel, how much energy you have and how easy it is to start dropping waist sizes.

I get my protein powders from a number of sources such as SK Sports or the shop at the shop in my gym Ultrafit Nutrition

Working the Transverse Abdominals

transverse abdominalsWorking the Transverse Abdominals

by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

Ladies, ever wonder why you never seem to get that flat stomach when you’re relaxed?  No matter how effectively you work your abs typically you will be working them in just one direction, up and down, or, more properly along the length of the rectus abdominus. But what about the abdominals that go from side to side? Can we exercise those?  Well, yes you can, the transverse abdominals (TA) flatten the tummy from side to side, so read on because I’ve got some information to share with you about working your Transverse Abdominals.
The TA complex belong to a group of core muscles that lie below the rectus abdominus and are often neglected in standard ab routines. Typically most abdominal exercises target the vertical rectus abdominus largely ignoring the horizontal transverse abdominals. Even crunches, the staple of most abdominal workouts, do nothing for the transverse abdominals. This group of muscles connect to both the lower back and the rectus abdominus to form a powerful support for the entire abdomen. Any routine aimed at flattening the stomach should include the transverse abdominals as a focus. Using the following exercises, you can target your transverse abdominals and really make progress towards that flat tummy.

Transverse Abdominal Crunch
Lie face up on a mat and plant your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart, maintain contact between the mat and the small of your back. With the fingers of both hands find the tips of your hip bones on either side of your tummy. Move your fingers inwards slightly towards your centre line just off the hip bone, don’t worry your hip bones are easy to find even if you’re carrying a lot of fat. Now this is an easy exercise to master once you know how to “feel” the transverse muscle working, here’s how, press down slightly with your fingers and cough! You will feel the transverse abdominal wall tighten and jump beneath your fingers. To use the exercise, first cough to initiate the contraction and then hold for a count of ten and relax, repeat for sets.

Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back on a flat surface, such as a mat or a bench. Roll a towel to cushion the small of your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis off the floor,  hold momentarily, and lower under control. Repeat for sets. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise, use your abdominal muscles not your body’s momentum to do the work. Be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout to target the transverse complex.

Crunchless Crunch
This exercise is fairly simple but can be difficult to master. In a nutshell we’re going to try to pull our belly button in towards our spine, this involves muscles which you may not be accustomed to working, it can take time to make the mind muscle connection. Start by either lying on your stomach or supporting yourself on hands and knees. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible; use only the lower abdominals to try to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. You should aim to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it anymore, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, release the contraction and relax.

Scissor Kicks
Again start by lying on a mat or bench, place your hands under your backside and try to keep the small of your back pressed down. Start by slowly raising one leg to a height of about ten inches, then slowly lower it back to the floor, as your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this movement for reps and sets. Keep disciplined, focus, don’t let momentum rob you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.

Transverse abdominals aren’t show muscles but if you want a flatter tummy vitalising these muscles will take you a lot closer to your goals. Exercises like these are key to any tummy flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant and postnatal women.

I wrote this post originally for my bodybuilding blog but it applies equally well to both men and women who want to feel better in their clothes and themselves.