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No one wants a FAT BODY. The most common fitness goal today is to lose BODY FAT. Let’s discuss 5 important questions surrounding “BODY FAT”.

 What are the different types of body fat?

Fats can be classified according their cellular structure or their location within the body. Based on cellular structure, fats can be classified into brown fat and white fat – brown fat is mostly found in newborns and is responsible for generating heat while white fat is the fat seen in adults and is responsible for storing energy and insulation. Fat is also classified into Subcutaneous and Visceral –  Subcutaneous fat is stored under the skin while visceral fat is stored around the organs and in the abdominal cavity.

Which fats are more harmful & Why?

Visceral fat is doubly toxic because it’s capable of causing inflammation and can interfere with the body’s normal hormonal functions. – causing the body to enter a vicious cycle of storing excess fat. Visceral Fat is also linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Subcutaneous Fat is easily visible and can be unsightly but it is definitely the safer fat to carry around.

Do you have excess visceral fat in your body? How can you measure it?

A few simple metrics can indicate if  you are overweight and at a risk of disease. The BMI (Weight/Height^2) can give you an idea of whether you are overweight (BMI > 25) or obese (BMI >30). However, it cannot give you the idea of how high your visceral fat levels are. The best indicator of visceral fat ratio is to measure your waist to hip ratio. A ratio greater than 0.8 for women or 0.9 for men can be a cause of concern.

Can targeted fat loss be achieved or is it a myth?

If you want to lose belly fat, is doing abs crunches the best solution? The answer is NO. Exercising a particular muscle group can help tone that muscle but it cannot help target and lose fat around that muscle.Fats are complex molecules and cannot be directly metabolized and used by your muscles. The areas of your body which accumulate fat or lose fat are genetically determined and cannot be altered by targeted exercises.

What is a more effective way of burning fat – cardio or strength training?

Losing weight is simple arithmetic, you need to burn more calories than you consume. A cardio session would burn more calories during the period of exercise. Is cardio the better solution then? NO. Lets consider a few more factors. Firstly, the after burn or the calories burnt in the 24-48 hours post your exercise session is much higher for strength training. Secondly, strength training increases muscle mass, which leads to higher BMR. A combination of cardio and strength training is thus better suited for fat loss.