Friday, September 14, 2012

Training Your Body To Burn Fat Part 1

During my trail run with Ro-lance last Saturday, i experimented with a condition. Ultra runners and long distance athlete will call it "running on fumes". Not to be mistaken with running in the middle of a polluted city during peak hour, it simply meant that you are running on empty. It was not intended to be that way and my advice is that whoever read this (and know i do exercise on fumes aka empty) will not do it unless they know very well how to manage it.
Forced to eat during Sabah Adventure Challenge 2011.
Most that know me know that i train only on water. Even during races, i do not usually take any food or gels. Only reason I am eating was for continuous energy and sustenance. It was never a "live to eat" moment during race. In fact, during my Ironman races, there was real food in the homemade energy gel i made and heck, i even hard boil eggs!
Don't. Choke. On. Food.
Reasons why I am training this way aka with only water and no food? It is to "teach the body" to burn fat as the primary fuel.
Here is how.
Step 1
Many Malaysians eat three square meals a day and snacks all the time. Hands up to those munching on something while reading this. Your body is like a furnace that requires constant fuel (or energy) to function. Eating three big meals a day not only choke the system up, but it will force the digestive system to work overtime. 
Carbo-loading needed? From experiences, unless you are doing anything more than 10hours...skip.
It is often best to spread your meals to five or six smaller meals a day to allow for constant fuel going into the body for energy. By doing so, you keep the metabolism high and reduces the hunger pangs. We tend to eat more when we are hungry - and that is the reason why we are getting heavier and lazier. Know your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR and how it effects you. An average man needs only 1,600kcal a day for normal body function, that could easily be attained in two serving of banana leave rice. Believe it.  Watch your portion too, as "my one serving" could be "your two servings". 

Step 2
You are what you eat. Avoid and eliminate junk food, fried food, sugary food, sugar drinks, processed food and anything with "transfat" or "hydrogenated fat" no matter how "healthy" the label claimed it to be. You do not put Diesel into a Petrol engine, do you? 
Sustainable eating.
Likewise, putting in junk food including fast food (highly processed, sugar laden and with fats you never know existed) will just choke up your system. There are ways to eat healthier and it does not take too much effort. Know what your local food carries per serving here. 

Step 3
Water. The essence of life. It not only hydrates you, it help your liver to flush out toxin and regulate your body temperature. Along the same line, drinking enough of water (recommended 9 glasses for women and 13 glasses for men - according to Mayo Clinic) is essential for normal body function. However, be aware of a condition known as Hypoatremia where too much water can kill you - and i am not talking about drowning. More here.
Read the Overhydration Leading to Hypoatremia posting.
Step 4
Get enough and quality sleep. It is when the body repairs itself. Adequate sleep and good quality sleep is two different end of the spectrum. A well rested body will manage stress better. You be less cranky. You will think better. You will be more focused. All these will translate to you being less potentially to be "binge eating", or eating due to stress. 
Rest Well.
Step 5
Exercise. You do not burn fat by sitting down watching sports. Enough said.
Climb baby, climb!
Assuming that you get the above 5 steps done correctly, your body is now prepped to burn some fats as energy. Stay tune for Part 2.

1 comment:

  1. Very true and good words of advice. That's exactly what I'm doing as an overweight doctor. The diet in SE Asia can be very unhealthy with lots of sugar, refined carbs and being deep-fried. THere is also this unhealthy culture when breaking the fast to overeat with these unhealthy foods. Watch out.