I am really angry.
I have spent my entire career firmly planted in the field of sports nutrition, where the goals are performance-based. In sports nutrition, weight-loss is an outcome of enhancing physical performance, not a goal unto itself.
Because the goals of performance are mostly objective, athletes and active clients depend on science-driven evidence for advice about training and diet regimes. Personally, I have stayed as far away from the diet world as possible, where creative writing reigns, and science takes a back seat (and frankly, often doesn’t have a seat at all)!
Even more frustrating, sports nutrition marketing has historically been very male-centric and unappealing to active women. In addition, there is limited scientific data on the needs of active women. On the other hand, the diet world has been marketing to women for over a century, and knows how to make messages appealing to women, despite a lack of evidence.
This void in data about the needs of active women, in combination with the diet world trying to make big bucks, has allowed the diet world to swoop in and masquerade as sports nutrition for women.
This leaves a host of active women vulnerable to marketing and misinformation about their dietary needs.
To put it simply: the diet world has invaded my sports nutrition space, and now I’m pissed. That’s why I wanted to write about the 3 biggest myths perpetuated by the diet world in regards to the best ways to burn fat for active women. Make sure that you understand these, and be a light of truth, spreading the word of evidence-based sports nutrition to all the active women and girls you know!
Also known as submaximal exercise, or training at 45 to 65 percent of your VO2max, this moderate exercise intensity depends on a mix of about 55 percent fat to 45 percent carbs, and requires a moderate amount of total calories per minute of exercise.
While you certainly burn more fat than carbohydrate during the exercise session, the total calorie burn is primarily dependent on the duration of the training session. There is not much post-exercise elevation in metabolic rate, or “after-burn” of calories.
On the other hand, high intensity exercise, 70 percent and higher of your VO2max, requires at least 72 percent of the total calories burned to come from carbohydrates, and the higher the intensity, the more your body depends on carbohydrates, rather than fat, for fuel.
In fact, without enough carbohydrate on board, you can’t reach this level of training intensity and work output.
More to the point of this discussion, high intensity exercise leads to a highly elevated post-exercise metabolic rate, or after-burn. And that after-burn can last for 24-36 hours, and is typically fueled mostly by fat. This is where body sculpting happens. By exercising in the higher zones that depend on carbs, not fat, you increase your total calorie and fat burning for many hours after exercise. You get the best training effect, enhanced performance, and a lean physique by burning the most carbs during exercise, and that’s the science of it!
You just learned in Myth #1 that it’s training in the carb-burning zone, not the fat burning zone, which really drives fat loss.
If you don’t fuel your body with enough carbs to drive high intensity exercise, you’ll perceive that you’re training very hard, but in reality you won’t be anywhere near that level of intensity; it just feels like it. So to really burn off fat, you must fuel your training with the carbs you need to achieve high intensity ranges of exercise, and then refuel for recovery to train hard again later that day, or the next day. You don’t have to eat a low-carb diet to lose fat effectively, In fact, to lose more fat, you need more carbs to fuel your training.
This has been the advice of the diet world forever, but you know as well as I do that it doesn’t work that way.
Some weeks you lose a pound, some weeks you lose half a pound, some weeks you don’t lose anything! And over time, you plateau. Why? Because your body is a dynamic organism, not a static machine!
Research has shown that a deficit of more than approximately 300 calories/day sends signals to your brain to slow down your metabolic rate, just in case the world is running out of food.
Your body begins to conserve fuel, and slows the rate at which it will allow you to burn it. However, the same research showed that you can fake your brain and body out if you keep your energy deficit to only about 300 calories. This keeps you burning calories at a higher rate.
So, if you eat only 300 calories less than your needs you will lose more weight than if you lowered your calorie intake by 500 calories. You really can eat more to weigh less. Not to mention having enough energy to train hard, and benefit from the increased fat burning machinery that is your body.
In summary, following the truths of science rather than the myths of the diet world will fuel your body, mind and spirit. Pass it on!
Provided by Dr. Kleiner
Bouffant N, et AL. Nut Hosp 2014;29(3):635-643
Burke L, et al. J Sports Sci 2011;29:sup1, S17-S27
Burke L, et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2010;20(Suppl2):48-58
LaForgia J, et al. J Sports Sci 2006;24(12):1247-64
Borsheim E, Bahr R. Sports Med 2003;33(14)1037-60
Melby Cl, et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002;12(3):294-309
Phelain JF, et al. J Am Coll Nutr 1997;16(2):140-6
Churchly E, et AL. J Apple Physiology 2007;102:1604-11.
Cooper E. The Metabolic Storm. Seattle Performance Medicine, 2014.
Fleming J. et AL. NEMESIS 2003;13:466-478.
Haft G. Ch. 14, In Antonio J. et AL. (Eds). 2008:299.
Katz D, Mueller S. Ann Rev Public Health 2014;35:83-103
La Bounty P, et AL. J Int Soc Sport Nut 2009;6(Suppl 1):P13.
Leiper JB, et al. Scand J Gastroenterol 2000;35:1143-9.1.
MacDougall JD, et al. Can J Appl Physiol 1999;24:209-15.
Mero et al. 2010 JISSN 7:4
Moore DR, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:161-8.
Personal Communications: SMK, 2014.
Piehl Aulin, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol 2000;81:346-51.
Stephens FB, et al. J Sports Sci 2008;26:149-54.
Volek JS, Forsythe CE, Kraemer WJ. Br J Sports Med 2006;40(9):742-748.
Witard OC, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99:86-95.
Wurtman RJ et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(1):128-132
Phylain paper is EPOC, but here’s more. These support high intensity and increased EPOC. My practice/anecdotal data extends the times to 24+ hrs.
Melby CL et al. 2002. Int J Sport Nutrition Exercise Metabolic 12:294-309
Borsheim E, Bahr R 2003 Sports Med:33:1037-60
LaForgia J et al. 2006 J Sports Sci 24:1247-64
Did you know that in some countries up to 81 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies? Women all over the world struggle with feeling comfortable in their bodies and at peace in their skin, profoundly affecting how they live their lives and show up in the world. The worst part is that they don’t even know it’s possible to feel differently. We are committed to changing that. That’s why this week we’re giving away a FREE copy of our blueprint where you’ll learn:
Actionable strategies to start healing your relationship with your body (or helping your clients do the same!)
The good news? It’s simpler than you think!
Whether you’re woman or a health and fitness professional who works with women, we’ve got you covered. Select from the options below to receive your free blueprint and get started today!