MF CAR­DIO EX­PERT Can I burn more fat by train­ing out­side?

Cold weather can make your body’s me­tab­o­lism speed up for a greater calo­rie burn – but that doesn’t mean it’s an ef­fec­tive fat-loss trick

Men's Fitness - - Experts -

Your body has to work harder in the cold to keep your tem­per­a­ture sta­ble, and that can have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on fat loss – but, cau­tions coach and sports sci­en­tist Richard Bren­nan, that doesn’t mean you can sim­ply head out on a chilly day and ex­pect the fat to melt away.

n cold en­vi­ron­ments, it’s a lit­tle harder for your body to reg­u­late tem­per­a­ture. This causes ex­tra strain, which in turn causes your body’s de­mand for all calo­ries to go up. Log­i­cally it fol­lows that train­ing in the cold is bet­ter for fat loss. As with so many things in life, though, there’s a lit­tle more to it than that.

Blood runs cold

En­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions re­mov­ing heat from your body causes what’s known as ‘cold stress’ and, like other types of stress, it pro­vokes phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­ac­tions. The key one for fat loss is that it speeds up your me­tab­o­lism, which means you burn more calo­ries.

An­other re­ac­tion to cold stress is that your body di­verts blood away from the sur­face of your mus­cles in an ef­fort to keep it­self warm. This means it’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant to hy­drate your­self fully be­fore you train out­side so your blood vol­ume is at op­ti­mal lev­els.

In truth, though, the in­crease in me­tab­o­lism speed caused by cold can be over­stated. As a mat­ter of fact, the big­gest im­pact the cold has on your me­tab­o­lism may be the in­flu­ence it has on what you wear. Wear­ing heav­ier cold-weather kit forces your base meta­bolic rate up be­cause your body is forced to work harder. Cold it­self isn’t a re­li­able, ef­fec­tive fat loss tool.

Slow burn

If you re­ally want to burn fat as a fuel dur­ing your work­out, a much bet­ter tac­tic than try­ing to freeze your­self is to struc­ture your work­out to pro­mote fat burning. This means do­ing long, slow train­ing as the base of your fit­ness. In ad­di­tion to do­ing more com­plex, tough rou­tines such as in­ter­vals and hill sprints, do lots of nice and easy, low-heart-rate stuff – at the end of the ses­sion you should feel, ‘I could prob­a­bly do that again at a push’.

Peo­ple who ig­nore this slow-run­ning base will not pro­duce suf­fi­cient slowtwitch mus­cles fi­bres, which are full of mi­to­chon­dria. Th­ese are the pow­er­houses of the cells and hav­ing lots of them helps to max­imise your fat burning.

My ad­vice? Get your slow-twitch mus­cle fi­bres sorted, get the mi­to­chon­dria in there, and you’ll be burning calo­ries 24 hours a day, re­gard­less of whether you’re train­ing in Aberdeen or Ali­cante. Richard Bren­nan is man­ag­ing direc­tor of Sports Science Con­sul­tants and is a Hu­man Race coach ( hu­man­

If you want to burn fat, there are more im­por­tant fac­tors than

the tem­per­a­ture

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