Hierarchy of Fat Loss Made Simple

The majority of the clients I work with have some type of preconceived notion about fat loss.

Keep It Simple

Eat fewer calories.

Burn more calories.

Avoid carbs.

Perform more cardio.

Use high repetitions in strength training.

The funny thing is, some of these are true, but often over emphasized in the approach to losing unwanted body fat.

The hierarchy of fat loss is actually very easy to understand.

  1. Proper Nutrition (And NO I’m not talking about going on a diet, I’m talking about changing your diet.
  2. Metabolic Strength Training
  3. High Intensity Interval Training / Metabolic Conditioning
  4. Supplemental Cardio

Yes, that’s it. Seems easy doesn’t it?

Well the formula to approach losing body fat is a little more involved and actually can be summed up in the following.

  1. Keep Glycogen Stores (Carbs converted, now in the muscle) Low (Diet & Intense Exercise)
  2. Maintain Muscle (Consume a Positive Protein Synthesis)
  3. Lower Carbohydrates in Diet (But DO NOT Eliminate Them!)
  4. Resistance Training (The Higher Intensity the BETTER!)
  5. Preferentially Burning Fat (from stores in the body)

The real equation to fat loss success is the following.

High Levels of Fat Mobilization + High Levels of Fat Oxidation = Accelerated Fat Loss

To simply this equation to a client use the following.

Metabolic Work + Diet = Accelerated Fat Loss

Remember, simple DOESN’T Mean Easy

An effective fat loss program will look like the following 3-step process.

3-Step Process

  1. Mobilization
  2. Transport
  3. Oxidation

Our body has 3 energy stores that we need to be aware of.

3-Energy Stores

  1. Carbohydrates: Glycogen Stores/Levels
  2. Protein: Lean Muscle
  3. Fat

Mobilization (STEP 1)

In order to increase fat loss we need to first mobilizing body fat.

1. How do we get the fat out of the fat cells so that our clients can actually use it as a fuel source?

2. Breakdown the triglyceride within the fat cell into FREE fatty acids that enter the bloodsteam.

This ultra important first step, looks like the following.

  1. Keep Blood Sugar (Glucose) Low
  2. Glucagon Hormone Released = Signals Fat Cells to Activate “Hormone Sensitive Lipase” (HSL)
  3. Converts Triglycerides => Free Fatty Acids
  4. Transports FFA => Muscle & Liver to be BURNED

When HSL Levels are LOW, fat will mobilize slowly. When HSL is increased, fat mobilization will increase. This is also aided by increasing catecholamine levels in blood (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine (adrenaline) levels need to be increased.

How do we do this, exercise, in fact, intense exercise creates elevated levels. As the intensity increases, the levels elevate and fat mobilizes. Another key overlooked component of this is limiting of insulin. Your body secretes insulin to remove glucose and HSL levels can be limited by insulin. Keep insulin levels low by following a reduced carbohydrate diet, DO NOT ELIMINATE THEM and exercising intensely is the perfect accent.

Transport (STEP 2)

The second step of transport can be simplified by the following.

When HSL levels in your body are high, fat cells will break down into fatty free acids and transported into the muscle, ultimately used as fuel.

Oxidation (Step 3)

When carnitine levels in the body are high (through the transport of fatty acids to energy) oxidation can occur. Ideally muscle glycogen stores have been lowered created an optimal opportunity for fat oxidation.

Remember, you can simply this 3-step process by the following simple equation, but that doesn’t make the process easy for you clients.

Metabolic Work + Diet = Accelerated Fat Loss

Teach them about carbohydrate management. Get them moving intensely. While keeping them accountable.


Work Hard, Train Hard, Get Better,


Tyler English