“BURN FAT” A Huge Red Flag in Fitness

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You cannot burn fat directly. To reduce fat, you have to create an energy deficit. Some factors affect your ability to create an energy deficit, but no supplement will address this. In this article, I will discuss a few reasons why the term, “fat-burning”, is something to look out for (in a negative sense) when finding new aspects to implement into your health and fitness routine.
‘Fat-burning’ is an incredibly misleading phrase. Think of energy as money and fat as your savings account. You do not directly spend money from your savings account. When you expend energy, your available energy does not come out of your energy stores (aka, your fat cells). To “burn fat” you have to be in an energy deficit. In other words, you are using more energy than you are consuming. In terms of finances, you do not need to dig into your savings account unless you deplete your available funds. The body works the same way for energy.
Many fitness professionals market using the term “fat-burning”. We can attribute this to intentionally misleading marketing. From a marketing perspective, the term, “fat-burning” can help attract clientele and potential buyers. The issue is that it is disingenuous and gives people the wrong impression. I do understand that transparency is typically not a priority when pushing your products. I try to be transparent and so do many other fitness professionals worth their salt. When a workout is said to reduce fat directly, it may be misleading, but it is ultimately a part of the process of reducing fat. It could help build more muscle which will burn more calories passively. And of course, the workout itself will burn calories anyway. Unfortunately, these so-called fat-burning workouts do not burn nearly as many calories as some professionals would like to push. For reference, running a marathon only burns about 1000 to 2000 calories. And the more in shape you are, the more calories you can burn within a workout. So, if you want to lose weight more efficiently, you have to get in better shape, not just do these workouts.
In addition, many fitness professionals push stop reduction. Spot reduction is losing fat in a certain area of the body. Everyone has a spot on their body they want to lose fat. Maybe you want to lose your gut or your love handles. Having said this, you cannot force your body to lose fat in a specified area. When you are on your fat loss journey, your body will lose fat where it wants to. The best you can hope for is to lose enough fat that you start to lose fat in the location you want. The downside is that sometimes that might come at the cost of an area that you may not want to lose fat in. For women, sometimes their breasts become smaller because they are losing fat. For men, you may lose some inches around your arms because fat is stored all over the body in various amounts.
If you read my article on red flags in fitness, I had a significant section on “if it sounds too good to be true, it is”. That phrase applied with anything labeled fat burnings. People do not want to undergo the long process of losing weight healthily and sustainably. They always want to find a way to lose weight as quickly as possible without cutting out the things they like. The combination of hard work and patience is not something that attracts clients. Laziness and impatience make the marketing strategy of claiming a product to help “burn fat” so appealing.
Possibly one of the hardest pills to swallow when it comes to fat loss is self-responsibility. The reason you may be overweight or obese boils down to your own choices. We live in a culture that advertises fast food all over the internet and television, and where most jobs involve sitting for hours and hours on end. The modern world certainly does not make it easy to avoid obesity, but whether or not to eat healthily and be active ultimately falls on the individual. While many people view this notion as depressing and demotivating, the notion is quite the opposite! It means YOU have control. If you want to get rid of fat and get healthier, it is in your power. YOU can hire a personal trainer or coach to guide you. YOU can learn how your body works to maintain optimal health. YOU can get up every hour at work to move around for a few minutes. It is in your power to live a healthy lifestyle. When advertisers proclaim that hormones control whether you gain or lose weight or other reasons you are obese that is not your fault (to sell you a product), they remove your agency from you. Of course, there are factors contributing to your health and fitness you have no control over. You may require surgery to help you lose weight and improve your health. I am saying that you have the power to change your life for the better and do not listen to the people who insist you do not have the agency to do so. And with great power comes great responsibility. We are all responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Losing weight comes down to creating an energy deficit. Of course, certain health conditions may play a significant role in your ability to create an energy deficit, but an energy deficit is what is required to lose weight. No supplement, silly movement, single workout, or hormone will enhance your ability to lose fat more than improving your daily habits.

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Quentin Washington

Quentin Washington

I am an exercise physiologist and online fitness/nutrition coach. If you like what I write here, check out my website: https://greathammerfitness.webflow.io/