10 Things You Didn’t Know About Burning Fat

riding bike

Source: iStock

Those go-go-go workouts at your gym may be doing more harm than good. Ditto for your 12-mile runs and your fat-free diet. Turns out burning fat is a lot more complicated than you might have thought. As the co-author of the best-selling book Fat-Burning Machine: The 12-Week Diet, however, it’s safe to say Gale Bernhardt knows a thing or two about shedding fat. With that in mind, we asked her to give us her exclusive list of the 10 most common fallacies she has come across relating to losing fat.

1. Killer workouts don’t burn fat 

Very high, sustained workouts that are popular at most gyms force your body to burn up easily available sugars – not fat. These workouts make you uncontrollably hungry within a few hours no matter how much willpower you think you should have.

2. Long and slow LOSES the race

If you think that a routine of long, slow, steady workouts is what you need to become a Fat-Burning Machine, you’re wrong. You’re busy and don’t have time to do this kind of workout and there are more efficient ways to burn fat.

3. Adding Miracle Intervals to your workout improves fat burning and performance

Miracle Intervals are short bouts of speed play that are 10 to 45 seconds long, followed by generous recovery time that varies in duration. Studies show that this type of workout is more effective at improving insulin resistance (which affects fat burning) than steady workouts.

4. Do some workouts on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning

Athletes have known for years that workouts done first thing in the morning, before eating, enhances fat burning. You can use the same strategy on select days.

5. Eating good fats on a daily basis allows more fat burning in workouts

Recent studies have shown that by eating good fats every day, your body will burn more fat during workouts.

6. Alcohol consumption turns off fat burning

Beer Pub, bar

Source: iStock

Studies show that fat burning and metabolism are affected for 24 to 48 hours after alcohol consumption. If you’re looking to burn fat, reduce or eliminate alcohol.

7. Omitting fat from your diet makes you fat

By taking fat out of your diet, you replace it with non-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. These foods go directly to fat storage, particularly for people that are insulin resistant.

8. Sport bar snacks before workouts destroy fat burning

If your goal is to burn fat, having a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar snack before your workout defeats your goal. These easily available sugars are the first ones the body accesses for fuel, there’s no need for your body to access fat. They’re also not a good idea after the average workout.

9. Fruit smoothies are sugar bombs

A smoothie that contains 1 medium banana, 1 cup of strawberries, 1 cup of watermelon, and ½ cup of mango blended with shaved ice packs a whopping 43 grams of sugar. That’s 10.75 teaspoons of sugar! Sugar bombs cause fat storage, particularly if you are insulin resistant.

10. Energy drinks zap energy and build fat 

One 12-ounce serving of a popular energy drink packs 38 grams of sugar and caffeine. The combination of nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar and caffeine causes a short-lived high and then an energy crash. This is quickly followed by uncontrollable hunger, making you crave – and be addicted to – the wrong food. More sugar. Science has found that sugar is addicting and much of what we eat goes directly to fat storage. Drink water.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: