The Right Way to Burn Stubborn Fat: 3 Simple Steps

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

October 10, 2019

As you most definitely know, body fat has mass and it is measured in kilograms. Even though you hear the term “burning fat” everywhere, few people actually understand what happens to the fat we are trying to get rid of. Studies show that, through pretty complicated biochemistry, we exhale it as invisible gas in a proportion of 84% and eliminate the rest of 16% as water. It basically converts on its way out from solid-state to gas and water. We breathe out the fat through the mass of carbon dioxide and urinate or sweat the rest. 

Unfortunately, we can only exhale a tiny fraction throughout the whole day. That is why aerobic training can help in this matter. Let’s say you want to get rid of 10 kilograms of fat. That becomes 8.4 kg of CO2 and 1.6 kg of water. Knowing this, do you still believe in magic fat loss pills or supplements that do the job without any effort? 

Now, maybe you are wondering why are we even talking about training when you can just breathe away the fat. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t breathe out the extra poundage by sitting still, in your chair. You have to help the process. Let’s dive into specifics!

First Step: Do More Cardio-Based Training

It makes sense to get involved in physical activities that make you breathe more, and here, aerobic training wins the ground. HIIT, strength training, or SIT (Sprint-Interval-Training) are based on a short burst of high-intensity work. You don’t need oxygen to exercise as you catch your breath after. With aerobic training, on the other hand, you continuously need and utilize oxygen.  

You burn fat during low intensity, aerobic workouts, but the benefit from high-intensity exercise occurs predominantly after the workout. At a high-intensity rate, you burn more sugar than body fat because it is easier and faster to provide the required energy.

Cardio training fits best in these circumstances because the body burns fat as fuel, once you have gotten through the available sugar. Therefore, you have to do extended cardio sessions of at least 40-50 minutes. If you are unable at the moment, then build it up through constant training. One of the best aerobic exercises you can do is: running, hiking, swimming, and cycling. But there are many others, find your own.

Until the age of 29, I went through 4 body transformations. Every time I wanted to drop in weight, get rid of stubborn belly fat, or shred my musculature, I had more success with cardio but in combination with calisthenics. 

Remember this: Spot reduction doesn’t exist! According to Wikipedia: “Spot reduction refers to the claim that fat in a certain area of the body can be targeted for reduction through the exercise of specific muscles in that desired area. For example, exercising the abdominal muscles in an effort to lose weight in or around one’s midsection.”

Skinny-fat or extremely overweight, each one has to continue to drop in weight until the belly is flat. Is the skinner-fatty guy going to become even skinnier? He will get thinner, but he will also get rid of his belly-fat too, and it’s the best he can do before growing lean muscle. Stubborn belly fat doesn’t exist either. You metabolize the macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) and use their provided energy for the brain, metabolic functions, and physical activity. But there is a possibility to store what’s left as body fat, depending on what you do.

Overeating, incorrect nourishment, insufficient training, the lack of it, or just inappropriate exercising can lead to this outcome. Match in every single box, and over time, it can lead to obesity. Genes play no role. There is an exchange that happens in nature. It is inappropriate to say, but you eat energy from the sun. You gain size unless you burn it all out, and it requires some years to get fat; it doesn’t happen overnight. Losing weight is a reversible process, but it takes time. We measure fats’ energy in calories or kiloJoules. When calories-in versus calories-out equals 0, then you are maintaining the current weight.

Second Step: Train Correctly!

Stamina, muscular endurance, body adaptability to training are all built as you go through. It is in our nature to crawl first before walking and running. Then we swim, do strength training, etc. Respect the natural inertia and development, and you will be rewarded eventually. For instance, I firstly swam 1k and built up to 5k in a matter of months. I went from running 6k throughout the streets of my city to running +30k on the mountains with an elevation gain of over 1300m. 

You need volume, extended training sessions, intensity, and a very high frequency. If you ride the bike, then do it a lot every day and build to hundreds of kilometers per ride. Regardless of what activity you do, don’t stop. You need continuous movement. If you run and the elevation or speed is too high and intense for your cardiovascular system, then walk until your heart slows down a bit. 

I started running on flat terrain 3 times a week for no longer than 30-40 minutes per session. In a couple of months, I found myself running for 1-2 hours every time. As I got more adapted and better at training, I lost kilograms of body fat in the process. Moreso, I burned even more fat after I started to run on trails. 

My recommendations:

– Do cardio training 3-4 times a week

– Each session has to be of at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours

– Try to also do bodyweight circuits or HIIT and SIT

– Use elevation for when you run, hike, or ride the bike. If you have no hills or mountains nearby, then use the stairs

– Do sports in nature where you find plenty of fresh air

– Drink at least 1L of water before your workout for hydration only

– Wear proper shoes or equipment. It can make a difference. If you can’t afford, do it either way because the biochemistry doesn’t care about that. 

I said that I also did anaerobic training. It is true, I never stopped training with calisthenics during my fat loss journey. It as a great way to preserve the pure muscle mass and focus on burning fat only. By doing mixed training, you cover a higher spectrum and get more benefits. During this summer, to shred my body, I concentrated my workouts around 70% on cardio and the remaining to calisthenics. Because I also knew how to fuel my body, I became really jacked.

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I looked better and fitter in the summer of 2016 compared to my form from 2018. As humans, we very often face a difficult time in our lives and it challenges us in all aspects. I think that when we go through tough periods, we learn how to manage things better, we evolve and mature . Even if I do conduct business around fitness and health, you can see that I myself, cannot stay on the right track always. The wisdom I got prior to the loss of my form was enough for me to restart and become a lot better than ever before . If there is one thing I've learned in this life on my own is that we have to think macro-scale. It doesn't matter if I lose myself and shift from my goals for 2 years because I will be back, committed and disciplined, for the next 10-15 years, or a lifetime . I don't exaggerate. I've already been through 3 body transformations, the last being the best [2019] and I'm only 28. I've been in sports and different kind of fitness activities since I was a kiddo. I am curious how I will end up in 10 years from now. I am optimistic . The reason why I say these words is because it is my job to boost your motivation, to make you more self-aware and to help you, if I can and you allow me to . In order to get my last form, even if many would consider 2018-form pretty awesome, I had to put in almost 12 months of constant work, in which I used all of my knowledge and experience. I could do it faster, but I do everything naturally and follow no strict diets . So I lost 10 kg (22 pounds), around 800 grams a month. I'd say that you could lose those 800 grams every two weeks, a lot faster. . Now I want to tell you another thing I learned from life, that we have to be PATIENT. Are you short-term oriented or do you think macro-scale? If you adopt the right attitude and commitment, then over time, you will have epic results. DONE‼ . #bodybuilding #bodybuildingmotivation #oldschoolcalisthenics #adorian #fitnesstransformation #fitnessmotivation #motivation #calisthenicsbody #calisthenicstraining #calisthenicstransformation #beforeandafter #beforeandafterweightloss #leanbody #fatlosstransformation

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Third Step: Eat Right!

I don’t know whether nutrition is more critical to get fit or training. But I do know that once you fuel and train correctly, results are right across the corner. And counting the calorie intake isn’t sustainable in the long run. It is also easy to calculate wrongly. Instead of that, you make little adjustments to your usual meals:

Stop frying in oils or butter, I don’t care if it’s extra-virgin 

Don’t use anything for cooking that will add more calories. Sauces or oils can double the amount, and you will end up eating 1000 kcal instead of 500. Those 50-100grams of the fat you add for taste or for frying will provide hundreds of calories.

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Part of the reason why I get so jacked from a week to another, aside from training, lies in my meals . 1⃣ I started to cook or prepare my own meals based on my goals (to get lean). By that, I get to control what kind of cooking method I use and also how fresh and qualitative foods are . Hence, I got the eggs, cucumbers, and tomatoes from local farmers -these foods are as bio as they can get, making them richer in nutrient content. Besides that, tomatoes have their season now. I used no sauces or wrong cooking methods. Instead of that, I steamed the sweet potatoes and boiled the eggs . 2⃣ I eat the best carbs possible and that is why I chose sweet potatoes. They have good calories from complex carbs, with a low glycemic index, and plenty of fiber content. Because they are rich in water too, they aren't calorie-dense. A great source of potassium, vitamins, magnesium and even calcium. I could say they are more complex in nature . 3⃣ I choose the best protein source possible and that often leads me to eggs. They are extremely rich not only in proteins but also in many other nutrients . 4⃣ I make sure to add veggies, not too many but enough to complete and stabilize the balance . This is what eating right and balanced mean‼ Generally, you grow lean muscles by eating clean, with a few exceptions on occasions . #eatright #balanceddiet #nodiet #bodybuilding #quickmeals #healthymeals #fitnesstransformation

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Try to cook your own meals

It is time-consuming but I got the best results once I prepared my own food and ate it warm. You can’t eat better in a pretentious restaurant, regardless of how much you pay. When I prepare the food, I can control the ingredients, quantity, and quality. I am always trying to buy the best products: whole wheat, corn pasta, beans, chickpeas, brown rice, fresh fruit, and vegetables, etc. 

Where in the city can I eat steamed sweet potatoes with various vegetables and scrambled eggs of 5? That’s just an example. And even if it was, it contained oil either way. Whole wheat pasta can provide 3 times more fiber, protein, and other nutrients. It also has a lower glycemic index and slightly fewer calories. On top of that, when I cook pasta, I don’t add oils or cheese to it. 

You can’t overweight when you do it right. Food of higher quality is poor in calories and offers various other essential nutrients at optimal levels.

Stop eating everything containing sweet sugar or junk food

Limit the amount of table sugar and junk food you eat. Instead, learn how to snack. Here is an example of how to do that successfully:

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You often ask me what I snack with between my meals or late in the night before falling asleep. Well, here is a comprehensive image compiling all of my usual snacks. I want to explain why I do it and how . First of all, my main goal is to avoid getting too much saturated fat and especially refined sugars like sucrose. I respect this principle with my main meals and snacks altogether. So most of my energy comes from complex carbs that can usually be found in starchy food and from simple carbs that are more natural like fructose . As you can see, I eat plenty of fruit, some higher in calories than others. Nonetheless, they keep me full and eliminate my sugar craving entirely. If I don’t want to eat fresh fruit, then I drink a fresh-made of various types of veggies, green leafy vegetables, and fruit . I also have 3-4 cups of black coffee every day (no added sugars) and plenty of water. Everything I eat or drink goes along with water for me. I keep myself very hydrated throughout the day and this is how I am able to run 2 hours of mountain trails, with high elevation, without drinking or eating. Snacking with fruit provides me with essential micronutrients I then utilize into my training. Fruit also has a considerable amount of water too. To top it all, they are rich in fiber . What about dark chocolate? Well, it is rich in calories but it isn’t an empty calorie type of food (depends on the product too so always check the nutrition fact). The one you can see in my image has plenty of fiber, proteins and no sucrose. It’s cocoa!!! I never eat one big tablet in a single serving, but I take a few pieces just to level up my energy . I guess you won’t need to drop on carbs altogether to get fit. You need to learn which ones are best and to control the quantities after all. I don’t know about your goals, but I want a diet easily sustainable in the long run. This is one piece of advice that I think deserves a share. Thank you! . #nutritionfacts #nutritionfactsorg #carbcravings #sugars #dietplan

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What is your current fitness level? What are you looking for in your journey to get fitter than ever and what do you think could help you get in the best shape of your life?

I can perform calisthenics and cardio (jogging, skipping rope) pretty well, but I struggle with the fat covering my body and especially my abs. I am looking for workouts and nutrition tips to get rid of it entirely. I want to be fit, lean and strong. I need to finally see my 6 pack!

I am just looking for a place where I can discuss my struggle and journey, put out questions and find answers to. I need weekly workout challenges and nutrition tips!

I want to grow my muscle mass, get leaner and more performant than ever before. I’m not new to calisthenics as I can perform pretty well. However, I really need more challenging workouts that are based on high-volume calisthenics. I want to improve my aesthetics and strength with results similar to coach Adorian, if not better!

I am always very busy! I need assistance with my training and nutrition. I have little time to process, think and plan but I can put in the work if a coach helps me out directly. I want to feel and look well every day, but it would be much easier with Adorian in my corner every time.

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