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  • Working off fat

    author Tomasz Szczepański

    If you were to count, how many litres of water people sweated out in the gym trying to lose weight, it would probably account to the amount of water of an average lake. Everybody wants to get ripped and have an eight pack but not many know how to properly undergo a reduction cycle.

    There are dozens of myths concerning burning fat, which have resulted in damaging health of many people and losing their interest in exercising. Here, on MNBBC.COM, we fight against these myths and provide you with simple, yet extremely sufficient, solutions helping to lose fat safely.

    Let’s look a little bit closer at the issue: What are the most common problems with losing fat, which we encounter here on MNBBC.COM? I’ll allow myself to comment on those most frequent ones and then briefly present the typical tips our coaches give.


    Myth nr. 1 – “Not everyone can have a slim physique.”

    This is the most popular excuse for those, who are to lazy to really care about their health. Very often you hear something like: “my parents were fat, my grandparents were fat, so I’m in a way condemned to obesity or at least overweight“. Obviously genetics do affect the majority of our predispositions, but to tell you the truth, most of the so called „genetic problems“ are hugely overrated. We like to blame genetics for failures but in fact it has a little impact on our looks. A couple of weeks (not to mention months) of regular exercising and sticking to diet will improve our hormone profile significantly.

    Notice, that we don’t receive only genes from our parent, but also habits. If one was brought up in a house where unhealthy food was eaten and he was a couch potato as a kid - this is probably the reason why he’s overweight now. It’s not the genes. Habits, however, do have one, wonderful feature - they can be changed!

    If we suffer from an illness that hinders losing weight or we have to take medicaments whose side effect is obesity we, in fact, have a problem and should consult a specialist. While taking certain medicines , burning fat can be a really difficult challenge, but let’s make things clear - it’s still possible! Those are very rare cases, though. An average, healthy (even relatively healthy) person can have the physique they desire. Now, notice that „desire“ is not enough - you have to stop complaining and get down to serious work!

    Myth nr. 2 “I don’t have to stick to the diet to lose weight, as long as I work out.”

    First of all, everybody sticks to some diet – if someone didn’t, it would simply mean that they didn’t eat anything at all and were starving. In many cases however, our diet is based on sweets, small breakfasts, plentiful suppers, and coffee. This is also a diet – however, improper one.

    Secondly, whether we’re losing or gaining weight depends not only on the quality of food we eat, but also on quantity. Every day we provide our bodies with food. The question is: Do we eat exactly as much as our body needs at a particular moment?

    Of course, the amount of food we need depends on many factors, not only on our lifestyle, type of activities or trainings. It also depends on the current hormone profile. Many people trying to lose fat, don’t take into consideration their hormones, especially their variability, and utilizye sophisticated patterns describing energetic balance. It doesn’t have anything to do with the reality, as by changing the lifestyle, diet or trainings, our organism plays a trick on us and puts the hormone profile upside down. The real fat burning process should be based on calibrating the diet, trainings, and working on improving the hormone profile. In what way can it be achieved? We’ll get to know it in a minute.

    Myth nr. 3 – “I don’t have to exercise to lose weight, as long as I stick to the diet.”

    Well, there is some truth in this. By eating less than the body needs, while lying or seating (and assuming we don’t exercise at all) we will undeniable lose weight. Why exercise, then?

    When we eat less than the body needs - it burns its own tissues (which serve as energy reserves). One question appears though: Which of them will be burned first? If we don’t exercise, muscles will be consumed at first. Thus, we might lose few kgs, while still looking in the mirror and seeing a lot of fat. Exercising “informs” the body that muscles are essential and not to be burned. This way, the body won’t have a choice but to burn fat.

    Analyzing the opposite process, gaining mass, will give us some helpful information. When we eat more than the body needs, the surplus is accumulated in the tissues. If we don’t give our body any reasonable idea what to do with it, the fat tissue will be chosen as the first beneficiary. On the other hand, if we give a stimulus to particular muscles, the body will notice that the muscle tissue is the one needing extra nutrients. This way, we can point precisely what needs to be built.
    When there are too little nutrients, we don’t have where to take the energy from. If we exercise, the organism sees the need to build muscles. To produce energy, it needs to burn certain tissues - it may be either muscles or fat. Obviously, it wants to build muscles, so it’ll burn fat, thus the main reason for exercising during reduction is protecting muscles. It also concerns women, whose physique gets significantly worse, when they lose a lot of muscles and fat simultaneously. A slim woman won’t look lanky if she keeps muscles.

    Myth nr. 4 – “I don’t have to neither exercise, nor stick to the diet if I have fancy fat burners.”

    This is probably the most terrifying myth. Unfortunately, many trainees agree with this statement! Why? Because people like to believe in „magic pills“, which won’t put their lives upside down and don’t require changing eating habits and exercising. Usually, we dream of „the magic thing“, which will solve our problems without significant effort. Most often, this is the way all these fat burners are advertised. People are told they can lose weight easier and faster. We have to face the brutal truth though - such things don’t exist! I feel almost as if I was telling some kid that Santa Claus is a fairy tale...

    What are these magic supplements then? Usually, these are preparations slightly influencing the endocrine system and causing an increase demand for nutrients. If the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, it starts burning fat - at least that’s the theory. What does the reality look like? In most cases, the effect will be either minimal or temporary (and it will soon disappear completely). In addition, the body will be supplied with unneeded substances. A person using the fat burner will be so excited with the fact that they’ve started losing weight, that they’ll be eating less and less. What will happen in the next two, three weeks? We’ll get rid off all the glycogen reserves in our body (it means losing even 1,5kg). The body will become dehydrated, since we’ve been drinking not enough (notice that water binds glycogen and that means another 1-2 kg). We’ll burn muscles, which are always the first victims because of their weight (so standing on scales you’ll see another 2-4 kg less). The fat tissue however, won’t be burned. It might even increase a little bit, since a person didn’t have enough energy (remember „eating to little“?) to do any exercise (this means +1kg). However, all in all we’ll lose more than we’ll gain. The scales will show we’ve lost 4-5 kg’s, so we’ll be satisfied with the magic substance. After 2, 3 weeks of such drudgery we won’t be able to function, with so little food provided. Then again, if we have the magic thing, we’ll lose weight even while eating more, right? Another 2, 3 weeks and we’ll regain part of glycogen and water reserves and thanks to eating more, we’ll enlarge the fat tissue, so please say „welcome again“ to 4-5 kg’s. This is the moment we will realize that we’re back at square one. Then, “experts” will try to persuade us to buy a more expensive „magic supplement“, which will be better advertised and look more attractive in a colourful package. If we do so, the state of our body will be getting gradually worse.

    Myth nr. 5 – “To lose weight, you have to exercise all day long.”

    Obviously, by exercising much (hopefully not too much) and picking the right training, we can achieve quite nice results. Such relationship works only if we comply with certain conditions:
    a) Our body is used to a certain way of training, and we train using proper technique.
    b) We choose the exercises very wisely
    c) We don’t get overtrained and we don’t burn muscles - check the meaning of „common sense“ in a dictionary
    d) We stick to a healthy, wisely chosen diet
    e) We’re sure we have enough time for regeneration - proportionately to the amount of physical effort.

    If any of these conditions is not fulfilled, we risk our health. Newbies, who’re jest beginning to take care about their health (automatically - also about the fat tissue), definitely shouldn’t exercise all day long! Both, too intensive and too long physical effort are harmful - especially among those who yet don’t know what their organisms reactions are.

    Myth nr. 6 “The less I eat, the faster I lose weight.”

    If a trainee knows that eating too much causes gaining weight, consequently a certain idea can appear: What if I eat very little or nothing at all?

    When we eat only slightly too little than we really need our body will start to gradually lose weight. After a couple of days, it will adjust to the smaller food rations. The hormone profile will slightly change, thus we’ll need another small reduction of food quantity, which will give us another few days of losing weight. We can go this way for a very long time, enjoying the vanishing kilos of fat.

    Myth nr. 7 – “I can lose fat in 3 weeks if I stick to a special therapy.”

    Have I mentioned that Santa Claus doesn’t exist? There are NO special therapies either. If we do something which leads to a 5kg loss in a week, we can be sure that it’s : dehydration, loss of glycogen, burning the muscles, decreasing the level of fluids because of a woman period. Take into consideration that you might have weighed yourself with a full stomach, then with an empty one etc.

    We can be almost sure that the weight loss had little to do with the level of fat in our body. Be patient, be persistent and be consistent.

    Myth nr. 8 – “During fat burning cycles, there no use in exercising with weights - I have to do some aero exercises.”

    Actually, I’ve discussed it in one of the points above. The main reason why we exercise during fat loss cycle is securing the muscles. This can’t be done by running or jumping around to the music. Now, I’ll allow myself to mention three basic fat-burning systems.

    a) Fat-burning during an endurance or density cycle. It’s a very interesting system, where the majority of exercises supports losing fat to a large extent. There is one disadvantage though. The endurance training itself may prove to not provide a sufficient stimulus to muscles in order to prevent them from being burned. Of course, muscles will be burned less than the fat tissue. Moreover, density training is a stimulus strong enough to build and thus secure muscles. Such training however, demands huge intuition while choosing its parameters.

    b) Fat burning during a mass cycle. Mass cycle is the strongest muscle-building stimulus, so theoretically, it should secure muscles the best way possible. On the other hand, certain dangerous phenomena connected with so called overcompensation might appear. Keep in mind that mass training causes microdamages in muscles, which should be repaired. If we provide too little nutrients, full regeneration may turn out to be impossible. What is more, if we start to exercise without having achieved a full muscle regeneration, it may cause heavy injuries, inflammations and other serious problems. Thus, a mass cycle must be well balanced and relatively short. Providing the organism with nutrients after such cycle brings tremendous gains, since the body is in the compensation state. One, who exercises this way will not only secure their muscles during fat reduction, but also gain some mass after finishing the cycle.

    c) Fat burning during a strength cycle. It appears that strength training is a great stimulus which secures the muscles from being burned. Above all, it gives a stimulus for CNS development, and muscle fibers don’t require as extensive regeneration as in the previous case.

    Myth nr. 9: “I have to sweat a lot to lose weight.”

    If we put lard on a heated pan, the fat will start to melt. Some people think it’s the same with human body - they believe they’ll burn fat just by warming up. Let’s make things clear: we heat the lard - it melts, we warm-up - we sweat. Sweat is mainly water – it eliminates body fluids (essential for proper functioning of the body) from the organism. We usually sweat while exercising to avoid hyperthermia, thus we should replenish fluids during training instead of trying to lose it as much as possible. Notice, that eliminating water from the body (dehydration) causes catabolism - it means less muscles. Less muscles = less “machines“ to burn fat, so the effect is completely opposite to the intended one.

    Myth nr. 10 : “I want to lose fat from my abs and legs.”

    This is the last myth I’m going to focus on in this article, but this one is extremely stupid. This is what encourages poor people to do thousands of sit ups and other exhausting exercises, hoping they’ll lose fat from one, chosen part body part. Here is some bad news - it is the body who chooses from where the fat will be burned - not we. When it comes to muscles, we can very precisely pick the place where we want to gain some mass. When reducing the fat tissue - it is ALWAYS reduced in the whole body, keeping the proportions which are characteristic to each of us.

    The improper hormone profile may indeed be the cause of untypical build-up of fat in certain body parts but it is possible to improve it.

    Let’s differentiate two phenomena:

    - taking care of health (avoiding illnesses, healthy life style, diet, exercising, regeneration) - it is the straight way to a proper hormone profile and to change the tendencies of our body. It can result in e.g losing the stomach fold.
    - reduction diet along with proper workouts - it’s an overall fat burning process without picking a particular place from which it should be burned.


    We’ve discussed a lot of information concerning how we SHOULDN’T approach the fat reduction. So, what is the way we should? It’s a good question. It cannot be discussed in one article. This one was supposed to warn you of the most common traps we fall into.

    If you want to start a real, healthy and, above all, effective process of losing the fat tissue, feel invited to use the training programs presented here, on MNBBC.COM under the supervision of the best bodybuilding coaches. Thanks to it, you’ll avoid many mistakes.