OK, so as promised I’m going to tell you the exact process of how fat is burned and tell you the correct training principles to maximise fat loss and prevent re-esterfication. If you read the previous article I explain what exactly I mean by re-esterfication and why it’s crucial to avoid this happening. 

For the majority of us, fat burning is one of our top fitness priorities - why leave it down to guess work? Fat Burning happens in three stages:

  • Mobilisation 
  • Transportation 
  • Oxidation


First then is mobilization. In the most basic terms this simply means taking out the energy stored in fat cells, in the form of free fatty acids (FFA), to be utilised elsewhere. To release FFA from the fat cells requires the stimulation of a hormone called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). While many different hormones have an effect HSL is the one that concerns us in terms of acute fat loss - adrenalin and insulin. It is really worth noting that, even the smallest presence of insulin will blunt HSL activity. Put simply if you have any carbohydrates in your bloodstream you will not use the energy from your fat cells. You will not burn fat. Fat burning requires your blood sugar levels to be low, so don’t eat right before you train. The Key point here has been that we require adrenaline for effective mobilization of free fatty acids which is essential for the most effective fat loss.


Through the process of mobilisation we have now released the energy from our fat cells in the form of FFA – free fatty acids. But these FFA’s now only sit outside the fat cells walls. We then require them to be transported evenly throughout the body via the blood stream. The amino acid Acytle L Carnitine transports free fatty acids to the muscle cells. Acytle L Carnitine stimulation is increased through high intensity training and the release of Adrenalin. So we can begin to see how again adrenalin and blood flow plays a key role in fat loss.


To contract our muscles we used a stored energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Through the process of oxidation FFA’s are converted to ATP within the muscle via the Mitochondria to be used as energy. The more muscles contracts we force our body to make the more we require ATP, and so the more FFA’s we burn up.


For maximum fat loss we really need to clearly lay out our time for each stage of the fat loss process, so here is an example how you can apply the science to your training and begin to get seriously shredded for the summer.

First Mobilization, if we look back to the first stage we can see that the best way to release FFA’s is the release of adrenalin. This requires us to work at maximum capacity. A short 5 minute HIT session or 10 minutes of HITT will definitely do they job. But you must remember if you don’t go all out you will not get an effective release of adrenaline. Whether its up a hill or on the treadmill, I like to do sprint intervals on a gradient. Run as hard as you can for 30 seconds followed by 60-90 seconds to recover and repeat this 7 times.

Next is the Transportation stage. All this requires is keeping your heart rate at a steady beat allowing those newly released FFA’s to be transported around the blood. This is a good chance to allow your self some time to recover ready for the next stage. I like to just do a little LSD for 10 minutes on the treadmill keeping my heart rate about 140bpm, if your not in the gym or don’t have a heart rate monitor, just run for 10 minutes but there is no need to allow yourself to go into a heavy breathing pattern.

To finish, Oxidation. Now this is the reason why people keep going on about weights for effective weight loss and believe me there is no better way to burn up ATP then lifting heavy weights. However, its not as simple as standing in front of the mirror with your 5Kg dumb bells doing a few bicep curls, this will get you nowhere! We are looking to create the most muscle contractions as possible. The best way to do this is to recruit our largest muscle groups through compound exercises. You want to work the full body giving priority to the bigger muscle groups. Try this - its basic, but fast and effective.

  • Back squats 2 sets 15 reps
  • Chest Press 2 sets 15 reps
  • Lat pull down 2 sets 15 reps
  • Close grip seated row 2 sets 15 reps
  • Deadlift 2 sets 15 reps 
  • Clean and press 2 sets to failure

Keep rest times to 1 minute or less between exercises and sets to keep the tempo up and the heart rate high. And if you’re comfortable making 15 reps increase the weight.