Not a month passes without a new diet book appearing on the shelves. Americans are increasingly obese, and increasingly hungry for answers. Yet the answer isn’t in a new diet or new diet products. The answer is in your hormones, and a tiny switch in your body that you can throw to increase your ability to burn fat.
When you optimize your hormones, you boost the production of a little-known enzyme that your body already produces. The enzyme is called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), and is breaks down fat cells. In conjunction with insulin, HSL governs how quickly and well our bodies shed fat. The exciting news is that you can train your body to produce more HSL by following certain eating and training schedules.
Here are the ways you can establish a weekly routine to boost the production of HSL and increase your metabolic rate:
1. Intermittent Fasting
You have probably heard you should never skip a meal, and some diet plans even encourage eating six small meals a day. But scientists now know you can increase longevity and lower inflammation, as well as burning fat, by eating within a specific limited time frame.
During fasting, growth hormone (GH) in the body is increased while insulin decreases. Insulin is the hormone responsible for fat storage in the body, so lowering insulin assists in fat burning. When you establish this hormonal environment, HSL is triggered, which signals fat to be released from your cells and burned as energy.
People are using several intermittent fasting in different ways. You could skip breakfast and eat your first meal of the day around noon, then eat again at 7 p.m. This would provide an eating window of seven hours a day. You could also use alternate-day fasting, in which you would feast one day, then restrict your eating to 500 calories the next day. You may need to experiment to see what works for your particular metabolism.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
In HIIT you alternate periods of high intensity exercise with short periods of rest. The exercise might be sprints, circuit training, biking, running, or even fast walking. During the activity, go all out in your effort; this is your “burst” phase. Plan on a total of 15 to 30 minutes of exercise.
As an example, exercise at maximum effort for 30 seconds, recover for 60 seconds, then repeat. Continue for 15 to 30 minutes. If you are just beginning, build up your activity time gradually.
It sounds simplistic, but HSL can actually be stimulated by standing for the majority of your day, rather than sitting. That is because HSL release is very limited when you are inactive. When activity is increased, your muscles are contracted, and the release of HSL is facilitated.
Try using a standing desk at work, or spend some time standing while you watch television.
These three simple methods will increase your body’s production of HSL, and give you an enormous edge on burning fat efficiently.