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  • Writer's pictureJuan-Pierre Pieri

Stubborn Fat & How To Target It (Part 2)

The first method requires an ununderstanding of insulin. Losing fat is a catabolic process so it is a process which involves breaking down tissue. Insulin is classified as an anti-catabolic hormone meaning it prevents catabolic states from occurring. This means that if insulin is elevated, fat loss does not occur in that moment largely due to insulin playing a major role in the suppression or inhibition of Adipose Triglyceride Lipase (ATGL) and Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL); KEY enzymes involved in fat loss. With low insulin levels, glucagon would also increase and plays a role in the mobilization of glycogen from the liver and fatty acids from fat cells.

Lipid cell anatomy

The reason low insulin environments inhibits the alpha 2 receptor is indirect. Since insulin levels are low, fatty acids are able to circulate in the blood stream and these fatty acids seem to inhibit the alpha receptors and allow ATGL + HSL to hydrolyse triglycerides via the beta receptors in order to break them down into the components required for transportation. This could also be done during fasted steady state cardio after a high fat, low carbohydrate meal or drink that is moderate in calories.

The second way is to override the alpha 2 receptor to allow fat loss and is achieved by flooding the system with catecholamines. These are a set of hormones that are produced during periods of stress (training included), most commonly adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine. These catecholamines are also responsible for the stimulation of ATGL & HSL via phosphorylation. With the use of strong stimulants (which I won't discuss due to their associated risks) or training we can flood enough adrenaline & noradrenaline into the system that the negative feedback loop created by the alpha receptor becomes irrelevant and we can continue to mobilise the fatty acids via the beta receptors.

High Intensity Interval Training has become one of the most popular training methods full stop. It has even replaced conventional training techniques which in my eyes, is a lesser desired trade off as I feel HIIT works best at selective times of dietary and training phases. Now i'm not talking about the fun, popular method of HIIT (which I call Interval Training). The key word is not interval but rather HIGH INTENSITY.

So what is true High Intensity Interval Training? This method requires only two things; an actual, 100% MAXIMUM effort sprint of some sorts followed by a lengthy and reasonable rest period to allow for recovery so that you can try to reproduce the same intensity as the previous rounds. It could look similar to this routine below;

A1: Assault Bike Sprint x 10 seconds

A2: Complete Rest x 2-5 minutes

Repeat Until there is a performance drop off.

If you think that 10 seconds isn't enough, then evaluate your intensity. Those 10 seconds should be at least 100% or more of what your body can achieve. You should be going hard and fast enough so that by the time the 10 seconds is up, you NEED the rest. Some people can get sick from this and if this does occur, take a few extra minutes to catch your breath or end the session and the following week, try to add another sprint in to slowly develop your capacity. Although most training modalities release catecholamines, HIIT generally has the largest impact in a shorter time span.

While HIIT is great at getting fatty acids out of the fat cell, it is quite poor at oxidising (burning) those fatty acids since the intensity is so high and glucose creates ATP much quicker. Steady state cardio is still a viable and now forgotten method of fat loss. It's low fatigue and can allow for extra calories to be expended however we are using it after HIIT for a simple reason; the intensity is low enough to allow the circulating fatty acids to be transported and used by a target cell.

Following your HIIT session, it is advised to perform 15-20 minutes of low intensity steady state cardio in order for those fatty acids we mobilized to be used. If not, a process known as re esterification can occur which means if the fatty acids in your blood stream aren't used, they can become triglycerides again and be stored back into your fat cells, often times in stubborn fat areas since body temperature will be higher than usual post training which means blood is circulating in those areas too carrying fatty acids.

It's important to note that blood circulation is also a key factor in the fatty acids being transported away from the outer cell membrane and into the blood stream. Spot reduction methods are now being re investigated for it's potential to increase blood flow to a specific muscle group and with that potentially comes the removal of fat from that area as well.

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Apr 08

Came from Lina’s post. Love the article! 💖

Juan-Pierre Pieri
Juan-Pierre Pieri
Apr 09
Replying to

I'm happy to hear that! I hope it helps 😊


Juan-Pierre Pieri
Juan-Pierre Pieri
Nov 05, 2019

Thank you my friend, I'm glad it was helpful 🙏🏼 Great questions as well. Yohimbine has been shown to be an effective alpha 2 antagonist in studies. The thing to consider is that it is also a stimulant except it's not as consistent as things like caffeine. It can cause blood pressure to rise, anxiety and in high doses can be lethal. I prefer not using it due to those reasons. Training fasted does have a positive influence over alpha 2 receptors as insulin will be low and glucagon will be elevated as well as the chatecholamines so hormone sensitive lipase will be stimulating lipolysis. This can achieved by being in a low insulin environment as well so you could…


Nov 05, 2019

Good post , thank you, especially on the summary at the end:) two questions: 1) what do you think about yohimbine supplements to fight stubborn fat? 2) does fasted routine training help with stubborn fat reduction?

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