Fat 101: Burning Fat in a Healthy Way

In order to understand how to get rid of body fat, you must first understand what exactly it is. The first assumption we need to break down is that not all body fat is bad; white body fat might be the first type of fat you immediately think of, and this type of fat is made up of white cells under the skin which is usually stored around your organs, arms, butt and thighs. A small percentage of white fat is good for you, but too much is harmful and can lead to many health issues later on in life.

Why do we store body fat?

We need body fat in order to function; we store it in our bodies for energy and it is responsible for protecting certain organs. Fat actually helps to keep us alive.

You can also get brown fat, which is typically found in babies and its primary function is to keep you warm. Other fats include ‘brite’ fat and essential fat which is found in your nerves, brain and membranes which protect your organs. These fats are, as the name suggests, essential and you want to keep them. They regulate your hormones, and facilitate key functions such as vitamin absorption and temperature regulation.

Calculating Body Fat Percentage

If you want to lose body fat, the bad kind, you must first calculate your body fat percentage to ensure you are somebody who is in fact within the realms of losing fat which is not needed. Men and women need different levels of body fat in order to be considered healthy. The advice varies, however, it is generally considered that whilst men need 2- 4% body fat, and anything over 25% is considered to be a sign of obesity, women need a much higher percentage of body fat, 10-13%, to be healthy. Anything over 32% is considered to be overweight.

You calculate how much body fat you have in relation to the rest of your body, such as your muscle mass, bones, and water weight. There are a range of methods you can try to get a reading of your body fat percentage. The easiest method would be to pick up some measuring tape, measure your waistline, and take your hip measurements then subtract your neck measurement to get your circumference value. You can add these into a calculator online to do the maths for you.

Another way of measuring your body fat is by investing in a body fat scale. These are devices which look much like household weighing scales, and they use a technology called bioelectrical impedance analysis to measure your body fat. It sends a current which travels from one foot up to your leg and down to your other leg to take a reading.

Other methods include ‘air displacement plethysmography’ which is said to be extremely accurate. This is where you enter a ‘BOD POD’ which uses technology to determine your body density and volume to calculate your body fat percentage. There are a multitude of ways to measure your body fat, it boils down to preference and accessibility.

Reducing Body Fat

If you want to burn fat, high protein diets, more sleep and cutting out alcohol are just a few of the ways you could start. Cutting out alcohol might not be your most favoured choice, but many alcoholic beverages are packed high in sugar and calories which you do not need. You don’t need to cut out all the fun though, if you are heading for a night out, there are healthier options - for example opting for a vodka soda will serve you much better than a sugary mix such as coke and rum.

Increasing the amount of time you spend on cardio is another great way to burn fat fast. Taking the time to regularly go for a run, walk or swim are just a few examples of the ways you can shift some of that unwanted body fat. Other than that, it can also help you to build muscle and help you to shape your waistline.

Another tip is to drink coffee. Whilst caffeine traditionally has a bad rep when it comes to wellness regimes, it does have the ability to fasten your metabolism and temporarily increase your energy expenditure.

This might be surprising but ensuring you are getting the correct amount of rest can be of utmost importance when it comes to burning fat.

Back in 2011, the NHS examined research – and subsequent media coverage – showing a link between poor sleep and weight. The American study investigated the relationship between sleep, stress and people’s attempts at weight loss.

Many studies have shown that there is an intrinsic link between weight loss and sleep, showing a direct link to poor sleep and obesity.

Intermittent fasting has been practiced across cultures for centuries. It allows your body to rest, detox anything which shouldn’t be in it and cleanse. Multiple studies have proven over and over again this is not only beneficial for your body, but for your brain too. It also just so happens to be one of the best ways to burn fat.

Intermittent fasting is when you go through periods of eating, then pausing on food for a period of time. This means you will eat fewer meals, but during this time your hormone levels are also enhanced which helps to promote weight loss.


There are a variety of ways to burn the fat you don’t need. Most importantly, you need to do it in a healthy and sustainable way. Keeping track of your progress using one of the body fat methods suggested above, eating healthily and even getting a personal trainer or nutritional advisor to help you along your journey are all good first steps to reaching your goals.

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