Although fat loss is relatively straightforward – just eat less and move more – stubborn fat is unfortunately not the same. The fat on your belly, thighs, hips and butt that just seems not to go away is known as ‘stubborn fat’ because however hard you diet or work out it just does not seem to move.
Guys often struggle with their stomach area, especially their obliques and lower part of their abs, while girls tend to be bothered by their belly, hips, thighs and butt. So if you are finding that some of your body is lean but then you also have areas of stubborn fat, read on and find out how to get rid of it.
A Closer Look at Fat
So why do we have stubborn fat in certain areas anyway? The best way to explain this is to look at it scientifically and find out what fat is and how it is stored and used. When you eat, your body breaks the food down into different substances, one of which is glucose, also known as blood sugar.
Your body releases a hormone called insulin which tells your muscles, fat tissue and liver to take the glucose out of the blood and store it. The glucose is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, and your fat calls store it as triglycerides. Storing glycogen expands your muscle cells, while storing triglycerides expands your fat cells. The more your fat cells expand, the tighter your belt is going to get.
In this state, your body is not burning fat. The glucose in your body is used for energy, and what your body does not need is stored for later. This state can last for several hours depending how much you eat. As the nutrients are absorbed, however, your insulin levels go down, and the body can tell the energy it got from your last meal is running low. It will then start to burn fat stores to get energy if no food is immediately forthcoming. Every day the body juggles between storing nutrients for later use and burning stores when its supply runs out.
To burn fat your body makes catecholamines, a type of chemical which travels through the blood to attach to fat cell receptors. This triggers the release of the energy stored in the cells so it can be burned off, or mobilized. There are 2 kinds of catecholamine receptors – alpha-2 and beta-2. The beta-2 receptors speed up fat burning while the alpha-2 ones hinder it.
The Difference between Regular and Stubborn Fat
So now you know how the body uses energy, and how it stores and burns fat, why is some fat in some places harder to lose? The answer is fat which is easy to lose has more beta-2 receptors than alpha-2, while stubborn fat has more alpha-2 than beta-2. This receptor ratio in individual fat cells is what determines how easy or difficult it is to burn the energy that is inside.
Getting Rid of Stubborn Fat Quickly
Although women usually find it harder than men to lose fat, most of the time all you need is a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as the patience to see the process through. If you want to speed up the process though, there are strategies you can use to get rid of that ugly, stubborn fat much faster.
BCAA and Fasted Training
When insulin is at a baseline level and your body relies on its stores for energy, your body is in a ‘fasted’ state. It takes 4 or 5 hours after eating a moderate sized meal for your body to get into this state. If you exercise while your body is in a fasting state, fat loss will be accelerated.
Weight training done in a fasted state is effective, and research shows weightlifting in this state results in a better anabolic response to a post-workout meal. Also, blood flow around the abdomen increases during fasting so the catecholamines can get to the stubborn fat more easily and therefore burn it more easily.
There is another benefit to doing fasted training first thing in the morning, because fasting for more than 6 hours will increase the ability of your body to burn fat. There is one drawback to this type of training, and that is accelerated muscle tissue breakdown. Don’t worry though, because there is a way to get around this.
Supplement with BCAAs 10 to 15 minutes before you train, and this will suppress muscle breakdown while you work out. Now let’s take a look at some of the best supplements to boost fat burning and weight loss.
Green Tea Extract
This herbal product is derived from green tea leaves and it is rich in catechins, which are responsible for many of the health benefits in tea. They also help to accelerate fat loss when you exercise by degrading an enzyme which burns catecholamines. The longer catecholamines are in your blood, the more fat they can burn. In addition, studies have shown catechins help to reduce abdominal fat especially, so if you are bothered by stubborn fat around the belly, this is an extract you might want to consider.
Green tea extract is a perfect supplement for stubborn fat loss. Research shows between 400 and 600 mg of catechins a day is the optimum dose for fat burning and weight loss. The average green tea extract contains about 150 mg of catechins per tablet.
This substance comes from the pausinystalia yohimbe plant. In the body it acts as an alpha-2 antagonist, interfering with the function of alpha-2 receptors in your fat cells. Alpha-2 receptors block fat loss, so blocking their activity means your body can burn the fat more easily.
Studies show that 0.2 mg of yohimbine per kilo of body weight is enough for this purpose. It is important to know that when your insulin spikes after a meal yohimbine will not work, so you do need to use this supplement in a fasted state only. Research has shown that this supplement can raise your blood pressure, so it is not recommended for people who already have high blood pressure.
Not only does caffeine improve muscle endurance, strength, anaerobic performance, and give you stamina, but taking caffeine before working out will increase your production of catecholamines, which means more fat burning. You can get caffeine from coffee of course, but pure caffeine, the type you get in powders and pills, is more effective to improve your performance, so take caffeine pills or a caffeinated beverage before exercise.
You cannot get rid of stubborn fat overnight and depending on your circumstances and genetics it can take longer to burn off that you want. Some people find it easier than others, but if you are struggling to lose those last few inches, you might want to consider supplements, because research has shown these can help you lose your love handles and achieve the body you want.