The Calorie Burn
Many people believe that controlling body fat boils down to controlling the number of calories eaten. While there certainly is a lot of truth to that, it is a little more complicated. That’s only half the story. “Calorie” is the technical word to describe an amount of energy. Just as gasoline fuels an automobile, calories fuel the body. Unfortunately, if you eat too many calories (more than your body needs in a day), a lot of that extra energy is packed away into body fat storage. Therefore, if you eat fewer calories – or burn more calories through exercise, you will get leaner. What is not often conveyed is the fact that stimulating muscles – through the right type of exercising – not only burns calories, but also and more importantly, creates a “pulling” effect where muscles demand fuel for repair and recovery.
This pulling effect puts a huge demand on calories derived from the food you eat. The short of it – stimulated muscles – performing proper hi-Intensity weight training as I advocate in my HIT3 exercise system “magic pill” workouts, pull energy derived from the food you eat, into muscle cells. That effect starves fat cells of energy, making you less likely to store body fat from the foods you eat. HIT3 workouts not only require calories to perform the exercise, but they also require energy to keep up with the recovery demand of the workouts. Metabolic active muscle cells use up more calories (glycogen) and can also pull energy from fat stores when additional energy is required and extraordinary demand is placed on them to perform HIT3 workouts.
The Muscle Cell
Our muscle cells drive our metabolism. The calorie-burning process is highly dependent on the use of energy in our muscle cells. About 85% of the foods we consume are used by our muscles. The other 15% are used by our brains and organs (if we overeat, and the rest is stored in our fat cells). The more active your muscle cells are, the more calories you will burn on any given day. Men have more muscle cells; therefore, they have more muscle size potential. This is one reason males can, generally, eat more than women, yet gain less body fat. Active muscle cells are metabolic fuel-burning engines. Because of this, any exercise that causes muscle cell hypertrophy is truly the best “fat-burning” exercise and thus, the “magic pill.” Increasing the size of muscle cells significantly upgrades the calorie-burning potential in our bodies. Therefore, it makes sense that exercising the whole body is an essential part of ensuring that every muscle cell possible is hyper activated to burn calories.
Many people complain about having a slow metabolism. Although there are various factors that can play havoc with a person’s metabolism (for example, an inactive thyroid gland), the greatest reason may be that the person is not doing the right Hi-intensity exercise to hyper-activate muscle cells and boost their metabolism. For this reason, aerobic exercise, although good for cardiovascular heart and lung health and for calorie burning while you do exercise, does little to increase the amount of metabolic-boosting muscle cell activity in the body. Only high-intensity (HIT3) weight training can do that.
The Carbohydrate Pull
What happens when you eat excessive carbohydrates? Depends on your “magic pill” status. If you are sedentary and do not exercise, you will require fewer carbohydrates (glycogen) for energy. If you eat more than your body is expending, the unused carbohydrates will end up being stored in your fat cells. On the other hand, if you perform Hi-Intensity (HIT3) exercise that places energy demands on your muscle cells (during the performance of the exercise, and up to 96 hours proceeding when your body is in the repair/recuperation phase), substantially more carbohydrates and energy will be used up (taken in by the muscle cells) and will not get stored in your fat cells.
Weight training, when performed in a high-intensity fashion as prescribed in my HIT3 principles, depletes your muscle cells of their stored carbohydrates (glycogen) during the performance of the exercise. Glycogen is the final byproduct of carbohydrates broken down to their usable form, and serves as energy for our muscle cells, especially during Hi-Intensity exercise. Weight training workouts properly performed not only utilize muscle cells’ stored glycogen, but if the demand is such that more energy is needed to perform the exercise, the muscle will also pull in glucose from the bloodstream, liver and fatty acids from fat storage to fuel the exercise needs. The harder you exercise, the more energy you need. Therefore, if fat loss and lean muscles are what you’re after, the harder and smarter you exercise, the more food you can eat without worrying about increasing the size of your fat cells.
HIT3 exercise helps pull carbohydrates (glucose) into the muscle cells, shortchanging fat cells of the energy required to make each fat cell larger. What is of particular interest is that not only are you burning carbohydrates while you’re exercising, but your body will also require carbohydrates to replenish itself and recuperate from the strain placed on the muscle cells. The higher the intensity of exercise, the greater the expenditure of muscle glycogen and muscle glucose restoration (how much a muscle has to feed itself from glucose available in the bloodstream). This is called muscle glycogen repletion. It will take your muscle cells up to 96 hours to restore their glycogen level by taking glucose out of your bloodstream. The effect of HIT3 exercise on muscle cells is to increase metabolically active muscles. The greater the intensity of exercise over time produces more active muscles, which in turn use more glycogen. A metabolically more active muscle cell is healthier and is able to access glucose and amino acids better to heal itself after hard HIT3 workouts. If you cease exercising for as much as one week, your level of carbohydrate (glycogen) requirement will dramatically decrease.
Muscle Cell Sensitivity and Type II Diabetes
One of the most prevalent health problems today is Type II diabetes, where the body is no longer able to properly use carbohydrates for energy. The main factors contributing to the rise in an increase in fat storage levels among the population (obesity) are unhealthy eating habits and the lack of proper exercise. Type II diabetes is the result of when muscle cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin acts essentially as the key that opens the door (pores) in muscle and fat cells that allows carbohydrates (glucose, which is converted to glycogen in the muscle cell) to enter the cell. A person who has Type II diabetes still produces insulin, however, when the insulin comes into contact with the muscle cells’ peripheral tissues (special pores), instead of allowing the glucose to flow in the cell, the peripheral membranes block entry due to the muscle cell not needing any energy because of inactivity. This gives rise to an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels that are higher than normal, which becomes an unhealthy situation. Unable to enter muscle cells, carbohydrates (glucose) essentially will be transported to fat cells as a storage Elevated insulin and glucose levels in the bloodstream will increase the fat storing process, as the glucose has to be cleared out of the bloodstream for the body to survive.
HIT3 workouts increase the muscle cells’ need for glucose. During exercise when glucose is depleted in a muscle cell, the cell will feed itself with glucose in the bloodstream (muscle glycogen repletion). Insulin is the key that allows glucose to enter muscle cells. Therefore, intense workouts place a demand on the muscle cells to use energy. The muscle cells, in turn, become more sensitive to insulin and signal insulin to open the pores to allow glucose to enter the cells at a faster rate. This reduces the level of glucose (blood sugar) in the bloodstream. By exercising for as little as one week, a person with Type II diabetes will increase insulin sensitivity and their metabolic rate, therefore controlling the blood sugar level. Exercise enhances glucose metabolism. When viewed under a microscope, a muscle cell that is being exercised as opposed to a muscle that has not been exercised will show an increase in a number of capillaries. With an increase in capillary density, more blood is able to flow into active muscle cells, thereby improving cell activity and increasing glucose metabolism. It is obvious that by performing HIT3 exercise, where we demand muscles to perform hard contractions, a great deal of blood is pushed into the muscle cells. This is the key to controlling Type II diabetes.
The right “magic pill” training coupled with the right nutrition program will quickly lead to increase in muscle cell size, higher metabolic rate, less body fat storage and a healthier life. These immense benefits that can be realized through weight training are not only for the weekend warrior looking to achieve the best shape of his life, but also for the diabetic who suffers from a lack of energy and many sideline health issues brought on by the disease.
John Robert Cardillo Is a Canadian Bodybuilding Champion, Workout expert and Fitness Entrepreneur. Cardillo is regarded as a pioneer of Hi-Intensity training and developed the HIT3 workout system, and the proprietary SHREDDED NUTRITION diet program. He also sponsors various Body Building competitions and is a weekly columnist at www.muscleinsider.com
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