The Fat Loss Trick (BURN!)
By Phil Kaplan

I've created my BURN! formula to help those people on my programs ingest enough protein during those select periods within my programs aimed at "Fat Liberation." This is inherent in my Best You've Ever Been, the TRANSFORM! program, and the 17-Day ANSWER! program. The nutritional strategy that kicks fat loss into high gear might be considered a trick, but if implemented carefully into an overall program, it's a trick that can have lasting and thrilling results. Before, however, you consider using BURN! as a supplement, I want you to understand the actual strategy. Read on . . . .

Fat Loss

It's the most common goal among our masses, and it's no wonder. 2/3 of our population now falls into the overweight category with near half of those people categorized as obese. There certainly isn't any shortage of products claiming to rid the body of fat, but if you take a look around, if you view the profiles of Americans walking through malls, airports, and even health clubs, it's pretty clear these wonderful miraculous products fail miserably.

A product is not going to be a fat loss solution. At best it's an aid. In order for an aid to play a role, it's important to understand the foundation. There are some important pieces to the fat loss puzzle. The old simple formula says calories out must exceed calories in, but that simple formula has its flaws. All calories are not created equal.

Suppose you were to consume ice cream cones, nothing but ice cream cones, for an entire year, and every day you made absolutely certain to get 2250 calories worth. Do you believe your body would look and feel the same as it would if you ate natural foods, supportive blends of lean proteins, natural vegetables and complex carbohydrates, and ample amounts of essential fats to the tune of the same 2250 calories per day? Common sense, very applicable in this case, reveals that the natural food outcome would be a far cry from that of the ice cream eater.

There are several issues that affect the calorie equation. The first is, blood sugar.

Blood Sugar Spikes - Fat Release Shuts Down

When we spike blood sugar, we alter the insulin / glucagon balance. Insulin is a hormone that transports sugars from the bloodstream into muscles and into the liver, and the pancreas manufactures insulin based on the body's momentary need. The pancreas also manufactures glucagon, and while insulin is in essence a storage hormone, glucagon is a release hormone. Put in simple terms, glucagon is the hormone that allows you to release fat, and in order to burn it you first have to release it from the adipose cell (fat cell) where it's comfortably resting.

Any time you ingest a simple sugar (as in ice cream) or refined carbohydrates (as in the waffle cone) you spike blood sugar. That means for the moment you have high blood sugar which stimulates the pancreatic hormonal shift. Insulin is cranked out at an amplified level, and in order to facilitate that insulin rush, glucagon production is diminished. That means, if you consume simple sugars and refined carbs, you're doing a pretty good job of locking in fat.

If you're burning more calories than you take in, but limit fat release, your body is likely to begin to breakdown muscle tissue to use amino acids as an energy substrate. When you break down muscle, you slow metabolism. Muscle is the physical location where fat is burned, so when you facilitate muscle loss and its inevitable metabolic slowdown, you literally cripple the body's fat burning machine.

The second issue relates to TEF, an abbreviation for a scientific term, The Thermic Effect of food.

Eat Thermic Meals

Any time you contract muscle, any time you move, any time your body exerts energy, calories are burned. If you understand that, you'll recognize that the act of digestion burns calories. Some meals are simple for the body to digest. Meals high in fat require very little work, thus, they require a very modest caloric burn. The body easily breaks down fat so for every 100 calories of fat that you ingest, your body will likely only burn 5 to do the work of digestion. Meals made up of refined carbs are made up of foods that were processed. A machine did much of the work your body was going to do, thus the simplicity of digestion makes the caloric requirement extremely low.

Conversely, when you eat raw foods, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates your body works hard to digest and assimilate the nutrients. For every 100 calories of complex carb that you ingest, your body will burn 10 calories, twice the metabolic requirement of fat digestion. Proteins require a great deal of work as they are made up of chains of amino acids which ultimately have to be reassembled to synthesize cells. For every 100 calories of protein that you ingest, your body will burn 20 - 25!

The "calories out" part of the equation is affected significantly by what the "calories in" are comprised of.

The real trick to burning fat, at least from a nutritional perspective, is eating frequent thermic meals (thermic means heat-generating and a calorie is a unit of heat). Protein is the most thermic nutrient, but you want to make certain you also consume a balance of complex carbs for energy, fiber for optimal digestion, and essential fats for optimal health. A thermic meal would include a lean protein, a starchy carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate. Eat a thermic meal every 3 - 3 1/2 hours, and minimize or avoid simple sugars and refined carbs and your body becomes quite efficient at burning calories. The frequency of the meals allows blood sugar to remain stable as the complex carbs are slowly broken down preventing a need for an insulin spike. This allows you to burn fat virtually all day long.

The exercise part

We know exercise fits into the "calories out" part of the equation, but many people are misinformed. They believe that aerobic exercise is "fat burning exercise." The reality is, if you do more aerobic exercise than your ingested fuel allows for, and if you are on a blood sugar roller coaster as most Americans, that aerobic exercise can tap into muscle. In other words, do too much aerobic exercise, and not unlike the calorie restrictive dieter who inadvertently slows metabolism, you sacrifice that vital calorie-burning tissue. Muscle.

You can burn fat any time you're in an aerobic state, and "aerobic state" is not limited to the treadmill. Aerobic means with oxygen, and an aerobic physiological state is a condition in which you can meet oxygen demand. Translated, any time you're meeting oxygen demand, you can burn fat. Guess what . . . you're meeting oxygen demand when you drive, when you sleep, even when you sit on the coach with the remote control. Nutritionally stimulate your body to release fat and you'll burn fat all day.

You want to do aerobic exercise, but for a reason that eludes most people. It optimizes the efficiency of the nutrient transport mechanism. We deliver nutrients to cells via the bloodstream, and when fat is released from adipose cells, it relies upon the bloodstream for transport to be burned. Aerobic exercise optimizes the efficiency of the heart and lungs, so it's vital, but moderate aerobic exercise is sufficient.

If you want to optimize fat burning, burn calories by contracting muscle, and do so in a manner that increases the size, power, and efficiency of the fat burning machine. Muscle tissue. If you want to lose fat, you must train intensely with weights, training not a specific body part, but rather the entire muscular system. You'll also want to do your aerobic exercise session immediately following your intense resistance training. You can read more about the training strategy best suited for fat loss in an article I wrote titled The Ultimate Fat Loss Solution. I'll include a link to that piece at the end of this article.

The Secret - Carb Manipulation

First, some relevant points:

  • Muscles hold glycogen
  • Glycogen is the fuel for muscle contraction
  • In an anaerobic state the body can only burn glycogen
  • In an aerobic state the body can burn glycogen and/or fat

Now I'll explain the trick.

Manipulating carbs can effectively contribute to fat loss, but the "trick" should not be employed for more than four consecutive weeks. I've coined a term, Protein Days, to represent days during which your caloric intake is reduced just a bit, starches are eliminated, but protein intake is increased to make certain if the body is going to burn amino acids for energy needs, there is an ample supply in the digestive tract and bloodstream (muscle preservation). On "Protein Days" it's vital that you eat a meal with protein and fibrous carbs (vegetables) every 3 hours. This provides a continuous supply of amino acids. The vegetables do provide some carbohydrate. Remember, energy is burned in the act of digestion, so the carbs will be utilized, not stored. The "trick" is to do three consecutive protein days, and of course these are days during which you exercise. I'll try to explain, in a manner that's simple to understand, why this "works" to increase fat release.

Normally, you move and you expend energy. Your muscles release glycogen which allows for the energy needs to be handled efficiently. Every time you eat, assuming you normally ingest some carbohydrates, you refill glycogen stores, so there's a balance. You "spend" glycogen, and you replace it.

On the first Protein Day, when carb intake is restricted, you "spend" glycogen, but it isn't replaced. Resistance training works to deplete glycogen stores, and when glycogen is depleted, the body will turn to fat for fuel (especially during the aerobic session). The second Protein Day, your glycogen stores are running low, and you may feel a bit spacey (the brain feeds off of glucose - carbohydrates). This means throughout the day your body needs to tap into fat stores to meet energy needs. Ditto for the third Protein Day.

So why not keep it going? Well, three days of carb manipulation can be a good thing, but if you stay depleted, some metabolic shifts can occur including the adjustment of thyroid hormone production (to slow metabolism) and the cannibilizing of muscle tissue. The day after the third consecutive protein day, return to eating normally, but go high carb. The muscles are waiting for fuel, and you'll find you feel amazingly repleted. This reassures the body that there isn't any need to compromise metabolism. Finish the week with three days of supportive eating (thermic meals) and the following week do another three consecutive Protein Days.

Be certain on the Protein Days to consume at least 1/2 ounce of water for every pound that you weigh, ideally you'd drink more than that. You'll also want to supplement with flaxseed oil to provide essential fats. I've written on article on the supplements that can aid in fat loss. I'll include a link at the end of this article.

This is not intended to be a complete course on applying this strategy. It is outlined in depth in my programs, but this should help you at the very least understand how this strategy can serve as a valuable "trick" to kick things up a bit. After four weeks, it's best to return to supportive eating, attempting to maintain the reduction in fat. Eight weeks later you can employ the strategy again.

In the real world, it's difficult to get to a meal every 3 hours, and BURN! was created specifically as an aid for those applying this fat loss "trick." While it can be used as a delicious protein powder at any time, it has only 9 grams of carbs (to be used for the "work" of digestion) and 32 grams of highly thermic protein in a serving. It also contains 2 grams of essential fat and a small amount of caffeine, just to compensate for that spacey feeling during the reduction in carb intake. Caffeine, used sparingly, is an ergogenic aid with the ability to further increase fat release.

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