Men's Fitness

Ask the Expert

Fire up New Year fat loss with this scientific blueprint for a leaner physique


How to burn body fat, fast

“Fasted training can increase fat oxidation by 20 per cent”

Whether you want to torch some Christmas blubber, or shed some weight for a New Year tness challenge, body-transforma­tion plans can feel like a mythical quest, full of setbacks and pitfalls. But it turns out the the many profession­al athletes coached by physiologi­st and nutrition consultant Richard Tucker have exactly the same goals as you.

“Athletes often talk about weight loss and fat loss,” says Tucker. “But they’re actually two di erent things. Athletes may have to cut weight before an event, but at times they will also want speci cally to burn fat to improve body compositio­n or gain performanc­e bene ts.”


Fat loss depends on one simple scienti c formula. “e energy balance equation is always the crucial factor,” says Tucker. “If the amount of energy (kcals) you expend is greater than the amount you consume, then fat loss will occur.”

To tilt this equation in your favour each day, Tucker recommends three golden rules. First, keep your satiety-boosting protein intake consistent, at 1.6-2.2g per kg of bodyweight, and spread that intake throughout the day. Second, limit your fat intake to 0.5-1g per kg of bodyweight. And third, manipulate your carb intake from low (under 100g) to high (over 400g), depending on the length and intensity of your training.

Winning this energy battle each day is the key to sustainabl­e weight loss, which is why food-logging apps, exercise trackers, scales, food diaries and wearable tech are your fat-loss allies. CUTTING CARBS However, to turbo-charge your success, Tucker suggests adopting a low-carb diet – just for a month – to slash your calorie intake and enhance your weight loss. “A low-carb diet means eating less than 100g of carbs per day – which is about one to two mediumsize­d baked potatoes, one to two cups of cooked oatmeal, or one to two cups of cooked brown rice,” says Tucker. “In most cases, a sustainabl­e, moderate de cit of 500-700 kcals per day would elicit a weight reduction of 0.25-0.5 per cent of bodyweight per week. Any weight loss above 1.5 per cent would be classi ed as aggressive and unsustaina­ble.”

By following a low-carb diet for a short period of time, you can hit that sweet spot whereby you burn fat and maintain your energy levels. It will also prevent your blood sugar from spiking, thereby reducing hunger pangs, and help to induce ketosis: the process by which your body uses fat for energy. FASTED TRAINING Remember that some of this weight reduction will be from a loss of water. “Every 1g of stored carbohydra­te in the body – either in the liver or muscle – is attached to 3-4g of water,” explains Tucker. at’s why athletes use this method to make weight before an event. So to ensure you’re cutting fat, and not just weight, add in some fasted training, with a low-intensity run or bike ride in the morning to torch your stored fat. According to Northumbri­a University, fasted training can increase fat oxidation by 20 per cent – and light winter training, when you’re trying to nudge up your aerobic tness, is the perfect time for it.

“Calories in versus calories out is still the deciding factor,” says Tucker, “but fasted training means that you are now breaking down fat for energy instead of carbohydra­tes. From a performanc­e perspectiv­e, fasted training can also improve your energy e ciency, whereby you become more fatadapted and therefore burn more fat at a lower heart rate.”

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 ??  ?? Richard Tucker is a physiologi­st and nutrition consultant who has advised elite rugby players, boxers, MMA fighters and cyclists. He’s also the founder of The Human Performanc­e Lab (humanperfo­
Richard Tucker is a physiologi­st and nutrition consultant who has advised elite rugby players, boxers, MMA fighters and cyclists. He’s also the founder of The Human Performanc­e Lab (humanperfo­
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