5 Reasons Some Burn Fat So Well

 In Blog

While a diet, supplement, or fitness coach can promise to turn you into a machine that will burn fat, the process is a little more complicated than you think. However, there are some people out there who have the genetic advantage. Here’s’ why that annoying friend of yours can eat a large pizza and still burn fat like it’s nothing.

As it’s been said before, some guys have all the luck. I’ll even peel the curtain back here at UEFP: I train in the gym four days a week. I also train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai for at least four hours a week, if not more sometimes. I measure my food, rarely eat out, and I make sure to put a pad lock on the pantry in our kitchen that houses the stockpile of Pringles.

I consider myself relatively lean with low bodyfat. Yet I know others who put in half the effort I do and yet are way leaner than me.  They haven’t stepped foot in a gym since the Blackberry was a thing but those pesky abs of theirs still have veins. It’s a little unfair, so it makes me wonder….what gives?

Well, the answer is slightly complicated. On a long enough timeline, sitting on the couch and living off of Doritos will catch up with anyone, regardless of how good their genetics are. But these lucky souls will also have an easier time than most of us when they decide to take things seriously and hit the gym. Here’s why.

However, before we begin, let me be clear: this doesn’t get anyone off the hook. If you want to lose weight, you need a calorie deficit. Want to gain mass? You better be in a calorie surplus. However, the things we’re going to talk about it can make it more difficult to achieve a calorie deficit.

  1. Muscle Mass

Individuals with more muscle burn more calories. It’s active tissue that requires energy to maintain itself. No one agrees on the exact science, but Dr. Wayne Westcott has some numbers he’s developed during his studies. He believes that your body can burn an extra 35 calories for every pound  of muscle you gain.  That doesn’t sound like much, but packing on 5 pounds of mass can give you an extra 200 calories per day to play around with….that’s an extra 5,600 calories every month! If you want to eat more, gain mass.

  1. Insulin Sensitivity

Leaner individuals are what we call “insulin sensitive.” This means that the body does a better job of storing food where it should go (and not around your waistline). These are the lucky souls who can throw down burgers on a Friday night and wake up the next morning still looking like a swimsuit model.

Here’s how insulin sensitivity works: your organs and muscles have little receptors on them. These receptors can then receive nutrients from insulin. Think of it like an office: if everyone gets along, life is good. But insulin sensitivity plummets down with inactivity and a poor diet.

Of course, genetics play a role in how insulin sensitive you are, but we know other things helps. Resistance training, when you eat your food, what you eat, and things like fish oil/vinegar can make your insulin more potent.

  1. Brown Fat

We can break down your body fat into two broad categories: white fat and brown fat. Trying to lose weight means you’re attempting to trim down the white stuff; it’s the stuff we’re all fighting tooth and nail to get rid of. Everyone has more white fat than brown, but the brown stuff is where things get interesting.

Brown fat has something called mitochondria; these are little powerhouses that can consume energy. Mitochondria are found in your muscles cells too. Your white fat cells don’t have mitochondria. While brown fat can actually help burn calories, white fat is kind of like that one family member that won’t take out the garbage or clean the kitchen – they just take up space.

No one is going to have a ton of brown fat. But if you’re carrying around 50 grams of the stuff, that could potentially burn an extra 300 calories a day. That’s like doing a hard 30 minute run on the treadmill without actually having to put forth the effort. Naturally leaner individuals tend to have more brown fat.

  1. The Thyroid Complex

I’m going to tread lightly on this one. Most people are very trigger happy to blame their thyroid for weight gain, but the situation is far more complicated than most make it out to be. I say “thyroid complex” because things go beyond just the gland itself.

Sure, you can have an underactive thyroid. But you could have other issues. For one, there’s more than one thyroid hormone and some are more potent than others. It’s your body’s job to take one kind of thyroid hormone and convert it to the stronger (sometimes the body can’t though). You also have other hormones – like TSH and TRH- that are supposed to kind of “rev the engine” on your thyroid. Once in a while those hormones don’t do their job and the thyroid gland never gets the signal to do it’s job.

Lastly, like insulin, you want the tissues of your body to be receptive to the stuff your thyroid pumps out. If they’re not, metabolism can get a little sluggish.

Your lifestyle playa a huge role, but some people just have a thyroid complex that does a great job communicating with itself.

  1. Muscle Mass, part 2

Once again, we’re going to tout the benefits of gaining muscle. The more muscle on your body, the more storage compartments you have for food. A 160 pound male can probably store about 400 carbohydrate in their muscles (that’s around 1,200 calories), Those are calories that won’t be stored as fat. Build more muscle, and those carbs can climb up to 500.. This is a good thing. In a way, more muscle means you can eat more – that’s what we call a win-win.

These are five things can work for you, or possibly against you. Some people did hit the genetic lottery and this gives them an advantage to burn fat. Make no mistake though, you can’t outrun a bade lifestyle. Hard work and consistency will always outperform good genetics.


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