Everyone walking on the face
of this earth has an abundance of fat cells throughout
their bodies. In fact, if you’re a healthy adult with
normal body composition, you have approximately 30
billion fat cells. This is an astronomical number when
you think about it. Did you ever wonder why you have so
many? Have you ever wondered what those fat cells are
||The answer is, fat
cells are part of our genetic code and they allowed us to
use stored energy when food was scarce. This survival
mechanism is very much the same today as it was 10,000
years ago. However, today our needs have changed. There is
an abundance of food in modern society today. When you
consume too many calories, your body goes into storage
mode for that “rainy day,” so to speak, but the “rainy
day” does not happen. So your body simply stores those
extra calories as fat
When you eat less calories then
your body demands your cells release stored fat for
energy. Pretty simple equation, however it does not
appear that all fat is the same.
The placement of fat deposits on our bodies varies
depending on each person’s genetic influences, lifestyle
choices and nutritional intake. Men tend to store their
body fat around their bellies and chest. Women tend to
store it around there hips, buttocks, thighs and back of
their arms. A complete discussion of hormones and fat
storage would be beyond the scope of this article, but
let it suffice to say that certain hormonal process do
determine body fat distribution.
There is one major factor that many people do not
realize when they are attempting to lose body fat and
this can be a stumbling block in anyone’s long term
success. Many people approach fat loss and fitness with
great enthusiasm and determination. With this attitude,
they lose body fat and feel great, but even so, they
just do not seem to get rid of ALL they fat they want
to. They lose fat successfully for a time, but
ultimately get stuck just before all of the fat is
This is commonly known as a plateau and this plateau
phenomenon causes many people who were previously
successful to lose their enthusiasm and return to their
old ways. When old habits take over again – and this
happens to the majority of dieters - the body fat comes
back with a vengeance. This is due to programming of the
fat cell. Each time you try to lose body fat again, it
seems to take longer and require more effort.
So what is the real solution? It’s simple – you must
understand how fat cells work and how to get past the
plateau phenomenon and defeat this last bit of body fat,
that we often call stubborn fat.
I have worked with many clients and I would say most of
them have a good amount of stubborn body fat. This fat
is literally “programmed” to be very difficult to lose.
It seems to remain on our bodies no matter what we do,
hence the word stubborn fat. Modern diets and weight
loss programs almost all seem to work in the beginning,
but then they never really address this crucial part of
fat loss – the last bit of stubborn fat.
Stubborn fat develops when your hormonal pathways are
broken down. Age does play a role in this: Fat deposits
increase and become more resistant to fat loss methods
as you get older. This you have little control over, but
some things that lead to stubborn fat development are
under your control. Yo yo dieting is one of them. Losing
weight on crash diets and then regaining it – often
known as the “rebound effect” – will only increase
stubborn fat in the long run. A decrease in exercise and
activity level also compounds the stubborn fat problem.
This is why people who crash diet on low calories and
refuse to exercise and move their bodies, often have the
worst stubborn fat problems of all.
Our ancestors really never had to deal with this problem
because they moved and engaged in physical labor as a
regular part of daily life, whereas technological
conveniences and the modern lifestyle have caused many
of us to become lazy and inactive.
Stubborn fat is metabolized extremely slowly and is
resistant to the hormonal process that takes place while
the fat burning process is started up. To burn fat, the
adrenal hormones better known as adrenaline and
noradrenaline, attach to the fat cell receptors and
essentially “open them up” so the fat can be used in the
energy pathways. There are two kinds of receptors in
your fat cells: one is alpha and the other beta. The
beta receptors are much more active and respond to
adrenal hormones. To lose body fat, the adrenal hormones
switch on and the body begins to use fat as energy.
However in the case of people with stubborn fat, this
does not occur, so no body fat is lost.
According to my good friend and colleague Ori Hofmekler,
author of the warrior diet, "stubborn fat” has a lower
ratio of beta receptors to alpha receptors" Therefore,
your body’s hormonal “fat dissolver,” adrenaline, will
not be able to enter the fat cell and open the door. Ori
also points out that “to make these matters worse,
stubborn fat has more estrogen receptors which cause
even more stubborn fat.”
If all this sounds bad enough, what makes it even worse
is that if you indulge in the typical modern diet and
sedentary lifestyle, this often results in reduced
insulin sensitivity (read my past article on Insulin
Sensitivity for more information). Added on top of
everything else, your fat tissue becomes so incredibly
resistant to your attempts to lose it, it seems like you
will be stuck with it forever.
Diets fail because they only look at the caloric
reduction side of the equation. You need to understand
the other variables in the equation – exercise and
lifestyle. You need to understand the deeper issues you
are really dealing with. Getting rid of stubborn fat is
not nearly as simple as just slashing calories and
dieting. Stubborn fat is the result of a complex
interplay of biological and hormonal processes – all of
which are affected by how you eat, how you move and the
type of lifestyle you lead.
Now that you understand why you have stubborn fat, right
down to the hormone and receptor level, the question is
“How do you alter your nutrition, exercise and lifestyle
to get rid if this resistant body fat?” The answer will
be found in part two. Stay tuned.
David Grisaffi has been a sports enthusiast his entire life. He participated in football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and baseball, and excelled at wrestling. His love for sports led him into a career in sports conditioning and fitness training.
David majored in physical education and holds multiple certifications including three from the prestigious CHEK Institute: Level II high Performance Exercise Kinesiologist, Golf Biomechanic,
and health and lifestyle counselor.
He also holds certifications from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
as a personal trainer and specialist in performance
David has been a high school wrestling and baseball coach and is currently an independent trainer and strength coach. He has been sought after by some of the top athletes in professional sports including world champion boxer Greg Haugen and professional golfer Michael Putnam.
David’s ebook, Firm And Flatten Your Abs
is an online best seller which teaches you how to lose body fat, develop “six pack abs’ while improving strength, function and athletic power at the same time. You can contact David or learn more about his programs at www.FlattenYourAbs.net