Fun Fitness Friday #5

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, August 08, 2008

Wow, I've done five of these already? And you guys are still awake? Maybe I'm not a terrible teacher, or you guys are just awesome students. I'm also thinking the fact that we are obsessed with eating food, learning about food, and looking at food helps quite a bit too right? Today is a going to be a fun one today folks... a super fat filled fun day :)

I'm glad everyone liked the protein post so much. I appears many of you are not getting enough protein, which could be very possible. Remember protein serves many functions that are vital in the body (healing, hair, nails, muscle), but if you are increasing your protein consumption, increase how much water you drink. If you have normal functioning kidneys, you shouldn't have any problem as long as you are hydrated, and keep eating the veggies... remember we want to balance our pH.

Alright... here comes super debate #2... FATS. Oh man, there are tons of questions out there. How much fat should I eat? Does fat make me fat? What about high fat diets? Low fat diets? What the heck is an omega 3? The possibilities are endless. I'll start you out slow and give just some basic information. We'll touch a little on fat burning and losing weight too.

Fat, just like protein... does a bunch of different things in your body. It keeps your skin healthy, it keeps cell membranes (think of like a wall or force field around each cell) healthy, and it helps create hormones and steroids (important steroids, not meathead ones). Probably the most important role of fat... and something that is often misunderstood, it 's role in energy production. Fat is a very dense energy source, and a very little bit can provide your body with a lot of fuel.

The "excess" weight we have is exactly that... stored up energy. Think of your body as a car for a minute. So you turn the key, and you're idling right now. While you are sitting there, you are burning both carbs and fat, sort of equally, but only a little bit, because you're sitting. They are both your gasoline source right now. Now press on the gas a bit (start jogging)... to get up to 60mph, you are using mostly carbs now. Carbs are the preferred source to do quick, fast, intense movements... like acceleration. Now, as we enter the highway, and you stay steady at 65... we switch to primarily fats. Nice... we want to use fat.

Fat is used for endurance activities, which includes more steady state running, jogging, walking, anything you can keep doing for at least 20-30 minutes. If you incorporate sprints into your walking or jogging routine, your body will switch into burning carbs for those quick bursts. We call this interval training, but once again, that's another post :)

Without getting too complicated, it's due to how much energy can be produced per unit of fat vs. carb. A unit of carbs can only generate about 4 ATP (a unit of energy) compared to 36 ATP when using fat. That's a huge difference right? Yes, it is... 9 times more. So, the easier your body can switch into a fat burning mode, the happier it will be. It will be getting more bang for it's buck. Our bodies are actually like a sloth... (no the animal sloth not Goonie sloth), and want to use as little energy as possible to do anything.

So in order to burn fat, you need to keep doing an acitivity for at least 20 mintues... and it's probably better to shoot for 30 minutes. The amount of time needed to switch from a carbohydrate burning pathway to a fat burning pathway shortens as you "get more in shape". It's the bodies way of adapting to routine exercise. It learns that Laura runs to the Rent soundtrack everyday, and goes ,"Oh man, here it comes, I better switch up to using fat, I'm waay too lazy to use carbs for this". The great thing about training this pathway is it's effect AFTER exercise. Studies have shown that fat is burned exclusively for ~4 hours after 30 mintues of moderate intensity exercise. Cool right? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Now with that out of the way. Let's answer some common questions:

What's an omega-3 fat?
- Numbers like 3 are based on the fat's chemical make up, and the amount of hydrogen bonds it has to carbons. Omega-3's are better for your body, because while they provide energy, they also decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), and decrease inflammation. American's do not get enough omega-3's, and often eat omega-6. The 6's are found more commonly in food, such as animal fats, peanuts, and processed food. They can cause inflammation, so the more you avoid them, the better. Omega 3's are found in olive oil, flax oil, and fresh fish.

Does eating fat make me fat?
- Not really. The problem with fat is that it is very energy dense. It has 9 calories per gram, as opposed to carbs and protein, which only have 4. So it takes less fat to measure up to the same amount of calories. Fat gain is due to a surplus of total calories, regardless of it's source.

So do I need to eat fat?
-Yes, absolutely. Healthy fats are important to keep your body functionally normally. Always shoot for omega-3's if you can. Good sources include almonds, types of nuts, soy products, flax seed, fresh water fish, certain eggs, and olive oil. If you can, try to avoid trans-fats at all costs. These are fats that have been altered in a lab to have a long shelf life. Because of the alteration, they are not digested by the body easily, and have been linked to disease. If an ingredient list has somthing that says "partially hydrogenated... (some kind of oil)" it has trans fat. It doesn't matter what the labeling says. Anything with 0.5 grams or less can be marketed as zero grams in America.

I think that might be enough info for today, guys and gals. I always get afraid of info overload, especially with the weekend coming. Today is a great weekend for me, because in case you haven't heard, or don't keep up on sports... Brett Favre - the best quarterback of my generation... is now a NEW YORK JET. I can't even explain how this affects me on a sports and personal level. The Jets have always been an underdog... a team often forgotten... so this is huge. If you are an underdog, much like myself, and the Jets... root for them this year. Awesome. Next week I'm going to put all this past info together, and talk about exercise. You're going to have more fun than a winning a lifetime supply of chocolate and bubble solution. Alright I have to lift weights and eat sushi... mmmm omega-3's and protein :)

Comments (29)

Time does fly - pretty soon you'll be on your 100th blog post!! :0)

Hooray for healthy fats!!

Enjoy the fabulous weekend that you have planned!!

I love my fats, too. Especially when they come in the form of olive oil. Oh, and I just did my 60 minute routine of exercise, so I will be burning fat for the next 4 hours. YOOHOO! You are so knowledgeable :-p

YAY for fats! I love my olive oil, olives, avocados and omega 3 fishes! In fact,I am a bit of an omega 3 addict! :)

Love your fitness Fridays. Good info! Hate to do this but... Go Giants! I live closer to Eagles territory so I am forced to cheer for them but the Giants is what I grew up with. And I am not so sure I like the whole Brett Favre retirement fiasco...sorry :)

Bwahaha, meathead steroids!

Okay, when during the distance running do we switch from using glycogen to fat stores? I do know that lsds (long slow distance) runs burn fat whereas interval training relies on carb stores, but since we first use the glycogen stores reserved in the body, are the fat stores being utilized along with the glycogen?

HA you mentioned me in your blog, I've never felt so awesome (nice attention to detail too.) Very interesting stuff, especially about the roles of fats and carbs in producing energy. That's cool about the Jets dude, I love an underdog team :)

Great info on fats!

Oh, Lisa is cruel. That's like a slap in the face. I'll root for the Jets - I don't have anyone else to cheer on.

As for fats, I enjoy them immensely. That's why my hair is so shiny.

IN the beginning you touched upon balancing your Ph; you are so right, that is so vital in the body to aid in a lot of things especially losing weight.
I know I'm so guilty of not getting enough Omega 3's.
This was a very informative post...I always look forward to these. Thank you!

"Obsessed with food"? Who? Us? Where did you get that idea from?
I'll be interested in knowing more about that interval training that you mentioned, that sounded very interesting. I'm happy to know you're happy about yout Jet's new player. Have no clue who is he but I'm happy for you anyway!

Yo, Adam! These Friday Fitness segments are great! I love the analogies and it didn't seem like overload at all!

I love fats a little too much. Good thing I spend about an hour in the gym each day :)

I'm diggin' your blog, so I passed on a little blog award to you. Please visit my blog to collect your surprise!

Jets, who? What? I'm kidding (a little). I live in Malaysia, but I do watch TV and I'm happy you're happy :)

When I was working out - 5 days a week, for an hour. I bulked up. We're talking running on the treadmill, and light weights with lots of reps. I generally weigh 42kg (chill, I'm 5'2") but after 6 months of working out I weighed about 44kg. I understand that muscle weighs more than fat, but I also looked larger. Any idea why?

Adam, now I'm worrying about you. Somehow fitness and fun seem somewhat diametrically opposed and I can't even imagine using them in the same sentence. :0
I know, I know - I need to focus more - weight bearing is a must for women to prevent osteo and the treadmill gets it's workout but frankly, I'd rather just be swimming.

Omega 3's - I don't think it's possible to get the required amount of Omega 3 simply by diet - am I misguided?

Fat is the bomb! Im loving your blog by the way! It not only motivates me to eat, but to move my butt too!

Veggie - Thanks a lot! I have a feeling 100 will come sooner than I think.

Ben - Haha awesome bud. I'm glad you learned something. Keep up the fat burning.

Jenn - That's great Jenn. You could be the omega 3 spokeswoman :)

Lisa - That's ok. I was very happy the Giants beat the Pats. I have no hate towards the NFC team.

Christina - Excellent question. Both sources of energy are used during exercise, it just comes down to which side contributes more. Glycogen is used the most initially and probably for the first few minutes, and then switches to fat. The better trained you are, the faster the switch over.

Laura - I knew you would like that :) I'm happy you're digging everything, and that you're an underdog lover too :)

Kev - Thanks buddy.

Em - Ya know I've never been slapped before... I'm on a good streak. Thanks for cheering with me, the more the better :)

Dawn - No problem workout buddy. You are very right on pH. Spread the good word :)

Cookie - They don't know Brett Favre in Portugal? Well I don't know any of there football players either, so I guess we're even :)

Antonio - Thanks alot man, that's good to hear. I don't want to spin anyone's head around.

RecipeGirl - I checked it out. Thanks a ton. I'm very lucky, and I enjoy your blog too.

Dee - Whew you almost had me there. I wrote you on your blog, let me know if there is any confusion.

Giz - Swimming is great for strength because the water adds resistance. You just need some weight bearing exercises is all. I would say yes, unless you make a conscious effort, it might be difficult to get enough omega-3's without a supplement. The problem is that we eat too many omega-6's which blocks the pathways for 3's to be used.

Lina - Thanks, Lina, glad I can help. We'll get into butt moving stuff in a little bit.

Hi, I just gave you an award: Have a good day.

Adam how all I love some FATS!! but I know so much is dangerous but are delicious my friend!!!!(chocolates,butter,some oils etc.)

(You always have good information man)

Pork skins - pork rinds, same difference. Chicharrones in Spanish. Nopales do have their own unique flavor. It's certainly a Border kind of dish. My dear Adam, so glad you came by to visit. Is it my imagination or is the forum a bit on the quiet side? Anyway, did you hear about Isaac Hayes? I'm so sad. Oldies like me really felt cool with Shaft. And that voice of his - something else. Come visit anytime sweetie.

AND the most important thing is that FAT IS FLAVOR. Even just a teeny weeny amount can long way to creating a dish that is satisfying AND delicious.

Great post.

oh fatty foods..i grew up in a family that adores fatty food, the fatty it is the more we love it! i remember those days that i eat pork fat everyday LOL anyways, thiis another great post Adam, useful info to live a healthier and a tastier life :-)

Thats a nice post..since you are so much into health and fitness Yahoo published a very nice article for people who aim to lose weight..I wish I can find it link..cant get it off-hand though..Wud try and get it for you :)
Sam !

Great information, Adam, as always! Congrats to you guys for getting Favre. I was just glad his self-made drama was over, hehe.

I have so much to learn! So far I've just tried to do what is 'instinctive' with nutrition, but I think I may need to start subscribing to your more scientifical methods. I smell a new sidebar friend...!

Adam, this is a great read!

I was looking forward to a FFF on fat. I've come accross many people who tried losing weght by completely eliminating fat out of their diet and well I believe that is just dumb since our body needs fat in order to function well. Sure you need to look at what kind of fat you eat and that's pretty important, it can make a world of difference.
Ditto Cookie on the Jets stuff :D

Its hard to see Favre in any other uniform than Packers, but I guess Jets fans must be going crazy :) I will cheer for the Jets this year although from a more objective viewpoint playoffs dont seem likely, thanks to a strong AFC and the Pats who have ruled that division for a few years. But yes,

Jets, Jets, Jets :)

Super and informative post! Keep up the good work.

Hi, late and last for the FF post, as usual! Before I get to your post, let me explain. Your Fri-day is Friday night for me, and I am sleeping. When I wake up, it's weekend, which means I am hardly online and end up visiting your blog on Monday/Tuesday. So, I miss FF hot and fresh:-( Anyway, this one is too good. I love the way you explain that fat is necessary:-) Omega-3's are best, and fish is always best! I wish I could get used to Olive oil (We use it for a body and hair massage!) in cooking. It is the best, but we used refined vegetable oils (read bad trans-fat?). Will include soy and almonds in my diet to compensate. Thanks! And yeah, I am the non-sports person. Waiting for the exercise post...