Breathe For Maximum Fat Burning!
That’s right; breathe for maximum fat burning! Australian research released 2014 from the University of New South Wales reveals that more than 80% of our fat leaves the body through our exhalation! Less than 20% is excreted through sweat, urine and tears! For those who have some fat to chew that information may have you doing a double take on the value of deep breathing!
While many health professionals know that fat metabolism in the body begins with an enzyme called “lipase”, there is often a lack of knowledge that the process is more complicated than that. When talking to various people from different educational backgrounds, most have never heard or read that the primary route of exit for fully oxidized fat is mainly the lungs, leaving as carbon dioxide. Most people are told they sweat out fat from under the skin. Yes, some of it, but the bulk of it must be exhaled. Even if you are at your optimal body fat percentage, fat metabolism and proper breathing go a long way to maintain healthy cell integrity and cell functions for the some 10 trillion cells managing your ability to live! Eating healthy dietary fats are necessary for brain myelination and repair. Myelin is the essential white fatty matter that coats nerves for quicker nerve conduction; as well, good fats support the regulation of balanced hormones in both males and females of all ages. Oxygen uptake from good breathing is required to make energy to do just about everything in the body, as much as carbon dioxide release is necessary to manage body pH and manage waste that results from eating fats and carbohydrates.
For those who wish to see some numbers on burning body fat, an article was published in the British Medical Journal, December 16, 2014; 349:g7257. In this informative publication it was summarized that in order to burn or fully oxidize 10 kg of fat, one must inhale 29 kg of oxygen, which would result in 28 kg of Co2 being exhaled, and a production of 11 kg of water. The carbon dioxide and water are a direct byproduct of the fat burning process. That is a bit of H2O, but a whole lot more Co2. Breathe, breathe and breathe!
According Breatheologist expert Stig Severinsen MD-PhD, “it is the presence of carbon dioxide in the body that signals the lungs to inhale”. Stig has put out a call to people to be aware that although breathing continues nonstop, many people are not breathing correctly or fully. Stig’s offers an online Breatheology program as well as a book to teach individuals how to use breathing techniques to increase lung capacity, breathing exercises to improve the rate of carbon dioxide release, and breathing techniques to relax. Stig encourages fun exploration of breathing for breathing sake. Breathing exercise can bring momentous gains in strengthening one’s own life force and energy levels. Fat metabolism improves with the process of balanced breathing; simultaneously the practice builds a sense of wellbeing, satiation and mental clarity. Breath control techniques are many in Yoga; the practice is known as “pranayama” (prana “life force”, yama “control”). Really breath control is about mastering your life force. Most breathing techniques focus on nostril breathing, which turns out from studies in science, to be the best breathing passage as it warms the air before going to the lungs, the fine nose airs filter unwelcome dust, dead skin, fibers etc. and nerve senses in the nose leading to the brain provide tremendous acuity of information within the air. Cardiovascular health begins in the nose too; the nose is the path which nitrogen oxide is absorbed. Nitrogen oxide is essential for maximizing blood vessel pliability, helping to reduce stress on the heart, and nitrogen oxide improves oxygen uptake in the alveoli of the lungs by causing the alveoli to expand. Good cardiovascular wellness begins in the nose! Mouth activated breathing techniques are designed for specific effects in the body, such as effectively cooling an overheated body. There a many breathing exercises to make a person immediately more comfortable, and just as important as relaxation is the fact that proper breathing immediately improves elimination of fat waste carbon dioxide out of the body.
Maximizing fat burning capacity for weight loss has some specific perimeters to adhere to. Low insulin levels in the blood are necessary to activate fat oxidation process. High carbohydrate diet inhibits fat burning for three reasons, one your body will have many sugars to deal with to use as fuel, the body will be retaining excess water from consuming carbohydrates, sluggish water if you will, and the body will be moving sugars into the cells quickly. Excessive sugar intake, even from fruit can quickly turn on a fat storing process. One way to interrupt the fat storing process is to perform aerobic exercises within a close time frame after eating fruit. Keep fruit intake portion sizes to the size of a coffee cup. That is it, the muscles do not store fruit sugars, only the liver can do that, and only a small amount. Keep active. Eliminating sugars and processed foods from the diet supports fat burning and reduces insulin resistance. If oxygen is unavailable during sugar metabolism sugars can produce ethanol, lactic acid and acetic acid and other byproducts; making you feel foggy, sore and tired. Breathe deeply; even carbohydrate metabolism requires good breathing to break them down. With reduced carbohydrate consumption, moderate activity and proper breathing the body will adjust over a 4-week period yielding in a higher fat oxidation rate.
After each night of sleeping insulin levels are already low in the blood providing an opportunity each day to improve fat burning. This is a good time to do one or more of the following actions: go for a walk; body movement naturally increases breathing rate and stimulates blood circulation. Upon waking practice a breathing exercise for 10-30 minutes and/or complete 15 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises. For breakfast eat clean high quality protein, a good essential fat and fibre. Try Akasha’s Fibre Recipe. Consume 1 tsp of Medium chain fatty acids with each meal, such as flax seed oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil, borage oil, and or use good fats to make quick homemade salad dressings, dips and flavor steamed vegetables. Medium chain fatty acids pass more quickly into the mitochondria of cells to burn as energy, they require less processing to fit into the cells to used. Medium chain fatty acids are superior to long chain fatty acids, requiring less metabolic processing. That means less energy is lost. All trans fats, fats cooked at high temperatures have morphed in shape; they no longer fit into the cells, functioning as free radicals, damaging and junking up in the body. Craving such mutated fats can be a sign the body is starving for healthy essential fats. Be sure to support your body with good fats. Good quality will have you feeling great!
Certain nutrients must be present in the body to oxidize fat including oxygen, an amino acid known as L-Carnitine is also essential. Research supports that L-Carnitine as a supplement absorbs well. So if you’re thinking of supplementing, go for it. Also necessary for breaking down fats for use and elimination is Coenzyme A, and citric acid. Citrus fruit easily provide citric acid, essential oils, antioxidants, and various trace minerals. Half of a freshly squeezed organic lemon or lime for every 500ml to 1 litre pure water will improve taste and support fat metabolism. Drink water throughout the day to dilute waste in urine, this will eliminate bladder infections; reduce autointoxication of waste poisons and speed waste elimination.
For every 1 gram of sugar ingested, 3 grams of water is retained. If you are feeding yourself sugar, simple carbohydrates and artificial foods, replace those with green vegetables, vegetables and some low glycemic fruits. Eliminating sugars will help with fat reduction, as well as help shed the excess water retained. Water retention from eating sugar can cover those well-earned muscles no matter how hard you work. One of the byproducts of fat oxidation is water so avoid adding sugar’s retention water. Help keep fat storing insulin low, use exercise as a healthy stressor to continue metabolizing fat for fuel. This practice of protein & healthy fats (plus fibre) at breakfast can also support better sleep at the end of each day. Low to moderate consumption of complex carbs will keep you going if you are an athlete or very physically active all day; such foods are sweet potatoes, squash of any kind, yams, turnips, parsnips, carrots, beets, chickpeas and others. Even if subcutaneous fat burning is not your goal, fat oxidation is still essential for foundational body functions including nerve conduction, creation and balance of various hormones and for the integrity and function of all cells in the body. If you find this overwhelming, begin and end each day with deep slow breathing exercises. Be mindful all day long to be breathing slow and deep. Take note of improvements to mood and drive.
If you have extra fat to oxidize be sure to support the body with high quality antioxidant supplements. Increases in exercise, and fat burning will require more antioxidant uptake. Antioxidants carry and extra electron; it is their purpose to donate an electron to an unstable free radical, thus stabilizing it for safe elimination. Antioxidants reduce damage to tissues such as arteries; antioxidants are needed throughout the body. Focus on breathing fully and deeply through the nose while doing exercises; weight resistance exercises help squeeze water out. Drink citrus infused water for better taste, to hydrate and replenish trace minerals lost while sweating. Sweating and urination eliminates some of the fat. Remember it is proper breathing that moves the majority of oxidized fat waste out of our body, over eighty percent. Don’t wait to hear the trainer say “Breathe!” Do! And keep breathing.
If you are underweight have the thyroid function checked. If thyroid is found to be running along healthfully and wonderfully, begin to look at internal stress and look at eating habits. While looking at stress levels and food, know this scientifically proven fact: breathing exercises practiced with consistency will bring the nervous system out of a state of “flight or fight” into a calm, regenerating state where in digestion and hunger can normalize, and peace can root. If currently smoking, deep breathing exercises can eventually replace cigarette smoking, since cigarette smoking is itself a process of deep breathing (with retention). Without the chemicals of cigarettes causing the blood vessels to narrow, nutrients will move across the membrane to the cells with ease, you can become aware that you are deeply in need of healthy macros (protein, fats and carbohydrates, and fibre too!) Practicing breathing exercises builds a real sense of control, a feeling of wellbeing and improves energy. If the self is spread out thin or tired, the life force will be empowered with every breath. Practice breathing exercises 3 times are week, or every day if you can. This will be your time to recharge. Even 3-5 minutes of breathing will immediately improve the mood and clear the mind. Supplement with antioxidants at meals. This will help reduce fatigue, and neutralize toxins and waste. Make a food journal. Eat every 3 hours organic protein, a complex carb, about 1 tsp good fat and some fibre. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just consistent; this will reset the body’s ability to feel and crave good foods. Choose and start practicing one of the breathing exercises below. During the practice say out loud or in you mind, “I inhale peace, I exhale pain.” No analyzing, just invite healing with each inhalation & with each exhalation, send any pain in you, out. Breathing exercises can be simple to learn, but be assured, the effects of breathing exercises are powerful. Power up!
If you are working at a desk or on a computer all day, all hope is not lost; it is documented by various health masters & practitioners that practicing yoga breathing techniques can significantly help burn fat and tone abdominal muscles simultaneously, if done regularly. Doing 30-45 minutes of breath control (pranayama) does require some effort. Start with 5-10 minutes and build up your constitution, until 30 minutes is your workout to activate fat burning while sitting. Try to take breaks and walk, get outside and breath slow and deep. A regular pranayama practice will bring increased energy for life. Everyone is looking for high vitality! Remember to look into and support any dietary changes necessary as well. If work requirements sitting long hours help is here to get your body more efficient and lean.
Irregular breathing habits are common; the higher the stress load the more pronounced they can be. Issues such as holding the breath, shallow breathing, holding the stomach tight all the time as if just punched in the gut so the chest is collapsed, shortness of breath, and Asthma are interfering with full breathing and keeping people from feeling invigorated and confident. Breathing techniques reset breathing. Just mention the intent to do a breathing exercise and everyone starts to sit up straight and open the space across the chest. That’s right, do that! Learning to breathe right will increase your energy, your brain power, have you feeling at ease, at peace in life. Breathing exercises strongly boost elimination of fat & carbohydrate byproduct Co2. Healthy fat intake alongside deep breathing supports essential body functions, like nerve conduction, hormone wellness and cell functions. Breathing exercises are amazing and wonderfully more simple than you may have imagined! Remember it is not about breathing perfectly; truly, it is all about breathing “practice”. Learning a new breathing technique can take only a few moments; easier than learning to ride a bicycle and like riding a bicycle once you learn a breathing technique you will always remember how to do it. The more regularly you practice one or more breathing exercises, the more you will become aware of your power and positive energy, and the more you will love what they do for you! Here are the four parts of breathing to know to be able to build an effective breathing practice:
There are four parts to a normal resting breath cycle:
- Inhalation (bringing into the body primarily through the nose oxygen, nitric oxide),
- A two to three second Pause (body is assimilating what is received, reading what is needed),
- Exhalation (release of carbon dioxide, acids),
- A two to three second pause (body assessing what is released, reading what is now needed)
Breath is varied in speed, in the length of inhalation and exhalation; this is influenced by activity, body pH, breath retention, water retention, pressure from excess internal organ fat; threat of danger, stress, pain, and size of a meal in the stomach. Breath is also varied by consciously controlling breath. Breath control practice in Yoga is known as Pranayama, “prana” meaning life force and “yama” meaning control. Breathing is on going from our very first breath until our very last, but it does not guarantee proper breathing. Many people have learned improper breathing, and some individuals are unaware there is an imbalance with how they breathe. Within seconds to minutes of practicing breathing exercises or Pranayama the effect is an immediate improvement in body and mind! Breathing can be full and complete for everyone. Every process in the body will be boosted, energized! You will feel energized, and relaxed, because that is what happens during and after performing a breathing exercise. Here are a few examples of Pranayama or breath control as well as their uses:
Balanced breathing exercise Anuloma viloma, also called Alternate Nostril Breathing and Nadi Shodhana, is a pranayama exercise to balance both hemispheres of the brain, (especially good for those how have headaches, migraines). Alternate nostril breathing also supports efficient body temperature regulation. The right hand is typically used to manage opening and closing of the nostrils, specifically the hand gesture used is Vishnu Mudra. To make this hand gesture, take the right hand, fold down the pointer and middle fingers so they come to rest on the palm; bring the pads of the ring finger, baby finger and thumb to meet. If this is uncomfortable leave the pointer and middle fingers extended and join the other digits. Bring the right hand to your face; thumb gently rests on right nostril, baby finger and ring finger hover over left nostril. You will alternately close the left and right nostril after the first inhalation through the left nostril. If the first two fingers are extended, the pointer and middle finger will rest between the eyebrows for the duration of this breathing exercise. The left hand can rest palm up on the lap. The right hand is used to control the flow of air between each nostril. There is a natural 2-3 second pause between inhaling and exhaling as fingers/thumb alternately open and close the nostrils.
- While closing the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand Anuloma viloma begins by breathing in through the left nostril for a 4 count.
- Breathing is followed by switching to closing off the left nostril with the ring and baby finger of the right hand, and releasing the thumb to exhale right nostril for a count of 4,
- Inhale through the right nostril for a count of 4, then close the right nostril and open the left
- Exhale out the left nostril for a count of four, then inhale left nostril for a 4 count. Alternate breathing left right, right left.
The count during inhalation and exhalation is slow and rhythmical. Repeat side-to-side ending on the exhalation through the left nostril. Breath normally. It is recommended to try this exercise for 2-5 minutes at the beginning, using a timer with a soft bell alarm. When the alarm sounds continue breathing exercise and finish after exhaling left side of the nostrils. Practice 3 times or more each week and increase one minute each week until 15-20 minutes is established.
A cooling breath technique called Sheetali pranayama is breathing exercise that initiates breathing in through the mouth with the tongue rolled like a tube. The practitioner inhales air through the rolled tongue. Immediately cold air is felt rushing in through the rolled the tongue. At the end of the inhalation the mouth is gently closed and exhalation moves out through the nostrils. There will be contrast between the cool sensations of each inhalation through the rolled tongue and the heated sensation of air leaving the body through the nostrils. Inhalation and exhalation are to be performed as 4:8 or 5:10. In other words inhale counting to four, exhale counting to eight. Sheetali breath control has a cooling effect on the body; reduces sensation of over heating. Access to cool air is available at all times once one learns how to access it through Sheetali pranayama. A sense of invigoration is established, as well as feeling of calm. Sheetali pranayama has a direct influence over body temperature, and relaxation. Begin with 3-5 minutes of practice adding one minute each week until 15-20m minutes is established. Sheetali breathing exercise and others pranayama exercises support the removal of byproduct Co2 from fat oxidation, increases blood alkalinity and a sense of wellbeing. Check out this next breathing exercise.
Kapalabhati is a breathing exercise with a focus on exhalation. Kapalabhati is called “skull shining” as it creates a cool sensation of clear thinking at the front and top of the skull. Kapalabhati is a pranayama exercise where in the inhalation is passive and the exhalation is active. This means the practitioner contracts diaphragm and abdominal wall forcefully for an instant and then immediately relaxes allowing air to automatically refill the lungs. Like a silent vacuum the lungs naturally fill with air between contractions of a strong exhalation. Kapalabhati breathing improves digestion, reduces acid levels in the body, clears the mind and tones the diaphragm and abdomen. Breathing becomes more efficient. This breathing technique is especially useful for anyone who gasp for air, anyone who holds their breath and helpful in reducing issues in individuals with asthma (between attacks). Those who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will benefit greatly from breath control exercises, such as Kapalabhati pranayama. The sensation of the body’s ability to effortlessly refill itself with oxygen is a tremendous gift and provides great calm. Kapalabhati is meant to be performed through the nose, with the mouth closed, jaw relaxed.
- Be seated in a comfortable position. Both hands rest on the thighs or rest together palms up on the lap. Breathe slowly and steadily,
- Near the end of the inhalation contract abdominal area and diaphragm, as if punched in the stomach for a 1-2 second count; the force will lift the stomach and ribs, vibration rises up to the collarbones; the shoulders remain still and relaxed.
- The contraction of the diaphragm is only for 2 seconds with a quick release. Relax and allow the air to come into the lungs. Repeat step to and 3 counting each exhale as one count.
Maintain a relaxed steady pace for 30-50 rounds. Return to normal breathing. Rest in a seated position with eyes closed after this practice or lay on your back a few minutes to enjoy the benefits of your practice. With each passing week of practice add another 5 counts. Eventually practice can be increased to 2 -3 sets of 50 count; breathing normally between sets. Kapalabhati improves concentration so completely tasks there after are more easily mastered & completed. Breathing exercises performed through the nostrils bring nitrogen oxide from the air into the body to maximize oxygen intake. Nitrogen oxide is necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system and Nitrogen oxide is require during protein metabolism to convert harmful ammonia into urea for safe waste removal. What most people feel when practicing breath control is a new freedom to breath more fully, an increase in energy, clear mindedness and lasting calm.
Victorious breathing, known as “Ujjayi pranayama” is the breath of correctly pacing oneself to breath aerobically while engaging in activity. To not be able to maintain deep rhythmical breathing in Ujjayi pranayama is an indication to back off speed or intensity of effort in the activity being performed. Slow down, be open where mind, breath and movement are one. Begin in a comfortable seated position, spine long, hands resting on the lap.
- New to Ujjayi breathing? It is best to begin by saying the sound “ha” out the mouth. Do this a few times. Feel the natural narrowing of the throat. Then continue making a “ha” sound when the mouth is closed passing air out the nostrils.
- Breathe in the same “ha” sound; the sound is softer like distant ocean. Those with some practice can focus the mind on the space between and just in front of the eyebrows.
- Breath out the nose with mouth closed, the same ocean sound coming from the throat. When mouth is closed the tongue can rest behind the two front top teeth. Relax the jaw and shoulders.
- Be slow and calm with each breath. As you breathe Ujjayi breathing, you may begin to be aware of the quiet pause or lull between breaths. There is a quiet peace or stillness between the breaths. Continue making a soft audible “ha” sounds as you breath, in and out. Mindful of the quiet pause between breaths.
If closing the mouth is too challenging, breathe in a “ha” sound through the nose, open the mouth to exhale the sound “ha”. Exhaling “ha” through the mouth will release a lot of heat and acidity. If you become cool, use a blanket and practice until the mouth can be gently closed and the sound maintained. Bring your mind into the center of your body; perceive everything outside you as if watching a movie. Observe the self, be unaffected by the “movie” of life. Don’t react, simply adjust self, and follow through in the activity. This is like meditation in motion. Ujjayi or Victorious breathing is often used doing the practice of yoga postures. Slow rhythmical breathing or lack of it, is good indicator of where you need to adjust your practice, where you need find and establish balance. Ujjayi breathing is also useful as a breathing meditation in a quiet place. Following breath is a form of meditation. Rule for this breathing exercise is that breathing is relaxed and slow; the mind is aware of the pause between breaths. The point is to witness the stillness between the breaths, and ultimately know you are also that stillness. Ujjayi breathing gives access to your inner observer. The pauses between breaths are magic (so much happens in such a small fraction of time); the breaths between the pauses are enstatic. The Greek word “enstasy” means “standing into” Awareness liberated from self-depreciation improves power, control and peace; becoming true in stillness as well as through movement. Power over stress becomes reality while employing Ujjayi breathing in quiet times as well as when used during self-directed activity. This is why Ujjayi pranayama is called “victorious breathing.”
These breathing exercises, as well as other pranayama exercises, enhance the elimination of carbon dioxide, assist with a reduction of blood acidity, and bring into the body oxygen, nitrogen oxide for functions vital to living. Breathing is the primary metabolic waste removal route for fat burning. Remember over 80% of fat oxidation is exhaled through breath as carbon dioxide. Breathing exercises enhance well being by guiding a stress state to a relaxed, creative state.
Also important are good dietary fats, as everyone needs to ingest healthy medium chain fats; the body uses these for a fast and healthy brain, for maintaining cell wall integrity, carrying on essential cellular functions, for healthy hormones in both men and women. Plus, fat metabolism creates steady energy and power! Eliminate sugar; trade up for healthy whole vegetables and low glycemic fruit, this will help reduce the water retention that hides your great muscles. Help the body sweat and urinate out fat burning byproducts with clean water and exercise throughout the day. Water retention happens with eating and drinking sugar. Avoid gum, food & supplements with added sugar or deadly neurotoxic artificial sweeteners. A daily intake of antioxidants with meals is very important! Today’s world is teeming with chemicals; support your body with high quality antioxidants from whole fresh organic foods, supplements and infused water. If you think organic food is expensive try sickness! Be aware that excess body fat store 10-100 times more toxins than muscle tissue. Everyone breathes twenty-four hours a day seven days a week! Help support this process in all you do. Whether exercising at a gym, at home, immersed in a yoga class, hiking or sitting at your desk, deep breathing is the way to increase energy as well as being the primary way to release waste from oxidized fats. If you are at your desk it makes sense that you will need to practice breathing techniques longer to support burning off what you would more quickly breath out during exercising. Sure, at the beginning you will need to focus on the breathing technique, but with practice this can become almost automatic and require very little effort. Regular, slow and steady breathing even at a desk is a partner on a path to a leaner body, a sharp mind and an amazing day!
May all beings be at peace and prosper, Namaste.