How to Become a Fat Burning Machine – Part I

I’ve been getting a ton of crap from various readers regarding how I always Twat (passive tense for posting a Twitter update for those ain’t in the know) my daily workouts and then turn around and post recipes and photographs from my latest baking sessions.

They say I shouldn’t contradict my health and fitness preachings with photos of my baked goods.

They say I set a bad example.  They say I’m a tease.

Well, I say I am a tease… but I also say since I bust my ass training, I can eat whatever I want. I encourage you to do the same instead of sitting there and complaining about me.

So, I’m gonna help you out and kick down a little knowledge on how to effectively turn your body into a fat burning machine. I’ll first give you some educational background info because I want you to understand why and not just be a lemming and do as I say. Then I’ll give you the info you need to design your own cardio program that will help you become a fat burning machine!

Train your body to use fat for energy... lord knows we all have a ton of it.

Train your body to use fat for energy... lord knows we all have a ton of it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I got me a belly. If I didn’t eat the way I do, I’d be rockin’ six pack abs and would go everywhere shirtless. But I don’t give a damn about getting a six pack and I obviously love food way too much to even try. More than anything, I hate running! Why?  Because it’s super tough on your body.  Roughly 3-5 times your body weight goes through your ankles, knees, hips, and back from the impact of each footstrike on the ground.  Don’t even get me started on muscular imbalances, improper walking/running gait, and stride contributing to the pains associated with running.  That’s not saying that I don’t run… I just don’t do it often.

Sure, burning fat doesn’t require running but aerobic training is the most effective way of doing so.  With that said, let’s get down to business…

What is Metabolism?

The term metabolism gets thrown around all the time but how many people really know what it is?

The technical explanation is your body is in a constant state of breaking down molecules from the foods that you eat (catabolism), resulting in the release of energy.  The synthesis of larger molecules from smaller molecules (anabolism) is accomplished using this energy.  This constant state of breaking down and rebuilding is defined as metabolism.

Basically, metabolism is the process your body goes through to use the foods that you eat to help you sustain the body that you have.  The efficiency of your metabolism dictates how fast or slow your body releases and uses the energy created. This is where we get the terms “slow metabolism” and “fast metabolism”.

So how do you go about increasing your metabolism?  As stated before in a previous post, there are only two ways to do so: increasing your muscle mass and eating more frequently.  Why?  Try and visualize the relationship:

  1. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to maintain this muscle.
  2. These calories come from the foods that you eat.  Your body can only utilize a certain amount of calories in any one sitting, any calories that are not used for energy will be stored as fat.  Thus, the importance of eating several smaller meals throughout the day.
  3. Your body goes through a catabolic state to breakdown the food.
  4. Your body goes through an anabolic state to use the breakdown of this food for sustenance.
  5. This constant state of breaking down food and using it for energy equates to a higher metabolism.

Energy Systems

I won’t confuse the hell out of you and go in depth with energy systems so I’ll break it down to you real simple.

Your body has immediate energy stores (i.e. carbs) and long term energy stores (i.e. fat).  Your immediate energy stores are used for high-intensity activities and your long term stores are used for low intensity activities.  Sprinting, for example, will tap into your carb stores for energy whereas a slow walk or jog will tap into the fat stores.  No matter what you are doing though, your body will always be burning carbs for energy, even in low intensity exercises.  The goal is to train your body to increase the amount of fat it uses.

Since we have so much fat on our bodies just waiting to be used, don’t we want to tap into those fat stores instead of diminishing our precious immediate (carb) energy stores?  Trust me, when you’re being chased down by a big pitbull, you’re gonna wish you had those carbs!  I’m glad I do when hot girls are chasing me up and down Hollywood Blvd… wait, those weren’t girls? Even more reason to save those carb stores!

This advertsement in Guatemala by Gatorade says it all, “¿está en ti?"

This advertsement in Guatemala by Gatorade says it all, “¿está en ti?"

Eat More to Lose Weight

As I’ve mentioned before, eating more frequently is one of two ways to increase your metabolism.  Based off the relationship I spelled out above, can you see how eating one or two meals a day is counter intuitive? Your metabolism slows down when you don’t eat around the clock. You are essentially tricking your body into thinking that you’re starving, therefore any foods you eat will be stored as fat instead of being used for energy.  Again, this goes back to my previous post that touches on evolutionary biology as a reason our bodies store fat.  Body builders actually wake up in the middle of the night to eat a meal to keep their metabolism up, otherwise their muscles will start feeding off itself.

Since we’re not bodybuilders and aren’t waking up in the middle of the night to eat, breakfast plays a crucial role in our metabolism.  If you’re getting 8 hours of sleep, that means you’d have gone for 8 hours without any food… which means your metabolism has slowed down.  Now can you see why the whole “I don’t eat anything after 7pm” diet is ridiculous?  I heard Jillian Michaels say on TV the other day that you CAN eat before bedtime, just don’t eat any carbs.  And to that, I’d like to tell her she’s a dumbass because we all know that if we don’t have carbs, we can’t burn fat.  We all knew that right? You all know how critical I am of Jillian and Bob and this is but one of the bajillion reasons why.  They’re idiots.

See these photos of Olympic athletes to compare body compositions, caloric needs, etc.  Keep in mind, most people require 1800-2200 calories per day.

Part II will layout the actual workout. In the meantime, re-read and digest all of the above info.

show hide 11 comments

The Dixshow Commander - This is a bad ass post right here. We were talking about how to blow shit up and make $ off this – this is the kind of post to do just that…

Now start dropping brand names, etc…

Angela C. - Hey, Quoc!
I’ve read and digested this article! :)
I love the NY Times photos and stats. That is amazing!
I have a long way to go, and this is excellent information to keep in my arsenal.

cindy - i’d pay you to train me! family discount right? :)

Robert - Starting a new program with the Master Q

Erin T - Keep it comin’ Quoc! I hate running too…I ran on Friday and hurt my foot. Back to spinning today. That’s where it’s at! I need to get better at eating something right when I wake up. It’s usually a few hours before I have anything. This was very informative, but it’s not going to keep me from watching Biggest Loser!

yeahmanh - Hell yeah! My rate is $100/hr but for you? $90!

Ken Duong - This was a very informative and educational post. The facts are accurate and simplified so that beginners can understand the concepts.

I enjoyed the fact that it dispels the “cannot-eat-at-night” myth, which many people live by.

I will attend one of your kettlebell training sessions when I move back to Orange County permanently in mid-July.

Cam on Quoc.

P.S. You charge $100/hour? That is more than attorneys, I need to go back to being a personal trainer then.

Marcus - Awesome article, Quoc! Thanks for sharing the info.

Cindy - As a person who works out primarily so I can eat whatever the f*ck I want, I love this post.

» Blog Archive » How to Become a Fat Burning Machine – Part II - [...] Part I of How to Become a Fat Burning Machine, we touched on metabolism and energy systems and how we can manipulate it to our advantage.  In [...]

» Blog Archive » WYWS – Mailbag, Fitness Gimmicks… Ranting - [...] to questions that readers have asked since my posts on “How to Become a Fat Burning Machine, Parts I & [...]

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