If you have a weight loss goal for the New Year, add a new word to your vocabulary: mitochondria – a scientifically proven component of torching fat.
What Are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are microscopic organelles in our cells that use oxygen to strip electrons from the food we eat to create energy and heat, and plays a key role in fatty acid oxidation (fat Loss). So the term “fat burning” is an appropriate analogy as that is just what’s happening.
How Do Mitochondria Work?
Where do new mitochondria come from? Exercise!
Getting your body to create mitochondria requires a stressor, literally, a change to the system. When you start to exercise, you place pressure on your system to produce high amounts of energy.
The mitochondria respond by becoming better able to take oxygen from the blood and use it to make energy. That energy literally burns fat, slows the aging process and helps your body fight off disease.
Turn On Your Furnace
For a long time, researchers thought that only aerobic exercising could increase mitochondria and was the best way to burn fat. However, recent research has shown that interval and strength training also increases mitochondria.
Recent research out of McMaster University has shown the effectiveness of interval training. Test subjects used a single-leg cycling protocol: one leg was used for interval training, the other for continuous cycling.
The interval leg saw bigger improvements in the mitochondria compared to the continuous-cycling leg. That fits the theory that intensity is what triggers improvements in function, debunking the myth that it is the volume of training, since both legs completed the same amount of work.
It’s All In The Science
If your goal is to increase your fat burning capacity, focus on endurance training, strength training and high intensity interval training. Hard and fast science beats fly-by-night fads every day.