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I want to help you understand how low intensity steady-state cardio burns fat because it’s not bad it’s just a little bit slower at burning fat what I’m gonna do is teach you a process of efficiency okay so normally when we’re doing steady-state cardio our bodies are in a very efficient state it’s something called beta oxidation it’s a very efficient form of breaking down fats into energy but efficiency isn’t always what we want when we’re trying to burn fat when you think about it we don’t want the most efficient way to create energy we kind of want an inefficient way because that causes our bodies to have to adapt and thereby burn more energy and burn more fat and burn more calories and ultimately lose weight change our bodies however beta oxidation in the utilization of fats is a very phenomenal very interesting thing and it does a lot for our body so let’s explain how it actually works so you have a solid understanding of how your bodies literally using fats for fuel so beta oxidation is simply where fatty acids are broken down into the mitochondria and ultimately broken down into coenzyme a which we can ultimately use for energy coenzyme a is the root of creating energy in general okay but let me tell you about how the fatty acids are transported and how this process works and then it will all make a little bit more sense so it starts with a fatty acid a fatty acid molecule that comes from dietary fats or whatever the case may be these fatty acids conjugate with coenzyme a in what is called the cytosol okay the cytosol is just the aqueous portion of a cell if you visualize a cell and you look at a diagram of a cell you’ll see that there is a liquidy portion in the center of the cell that is the cytosol so what happens the fatty acid conjugates with coenzyme a there and it creates something known as fatty acid acyl coenzyme a this fatty acid acyl coenzyme a is then modified by something that a lot of us know as carnitine maybe you’ve taken an L carnitine supplement you’ve just believed that it helps you burn more fat well now you’ll probably understand how that actually works the L carnitine reacts with the fatty acid that’s already been conjugated and it carries it into the mitochondria so that clarity n– literally is a transporter to get it into the inner membrane of the mitochondria where we create energy the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell where we create energy so it goes from being inside a cell in the cytosol cross through the membrane the mitochondria to where it can start being utilized for energy but now we have to understand how that process actually works so I want you to visualize the fatty acid breakdown like a March Madness bracket or like a sports betting bracket or something like that so you end up having this long-chain fatty acid this long-chain fatty acid that’s inside your mitochondria and it starts breaking down it breaks down through dehydrogenation so it means that hydrogen molecules are removed those hydrogen molecules are removed and water is added in then this cleaving process occurs so you’ve got this fatty acid that’s been modified a little bit and then a portion of it gets cleaved off the end of the fatty acid gets cleaved off making a shorter fatty acid that fatty acid goes to the top of the cycle and starts the process again where hydrogens are removed water is added and a portion cleaved off becomes even smaller and then it goes through the process again until there’s nothing left but a siedel coenzyme a so when I reference it like a sports bracket it literally is like that it starts like a total wide funnel at the top breaks down more breaks down more breaks down more until you’re left with nothing but acetyl coenzyme a which is pure energy and this process is very unique it obviously involves oxidation where it requires oxygen it requires dehydrogenase to remove hydrogen very complex process yet it yields a lot of energy so now I’m going to explain how this works when it comes down to steady-state cardio so so many people will bag on steady-state cardio because they think you’re gonna burn a lot of muscle and everything like that well the thing is steady-state cardio predominantly uses fats as a source of fuel because as you can tell when I’m explaining this process it takes a long time to create energy it’s slow it breaks down fatty acids in a slow way but it ends up creating over 100 ATP every time it goes through this process whereas when we’re utilizing carbs as a source of fuel we’re only creating 36 ATP now in case you don’t know ATP is literally just another word for energy so it didn’t seem triphosphate it’s basically the root of energy in your body it is energy okay so we create a hundred units of energy through beta-oxidation from fat and we create 36 units of energy from ATP through glucose metabolism so you can start doing the math you can see yes you could potentially burn more fat because you’re gonna have to work harder to create more ATP with carbohydrates with fat as a source of fuel your body runs efficiently so that’s the caveat with low intensity cardio you have a direct line to utilizing fats you’re going to utilize fats but your body’s gonna utilize them a little bit slower with anaerobic activity where you use carbs your body’s gonna have to work harder it’s inefficient it hurts more but you do burn more calories not necessarily more fat but more calories because you have to work harder you have to work three times as hard so I hope that makes some sense but when you look at the big picture that is how low intensity cardio helps you burn fat it’s not a bad thing okay only if you go to the extreme I’m always a fan of both high intensity and low intensity but it all depends on the situation as always to keep it locked in here in my channel and I hope this answers some questions about beta-oxidation and how fats are used
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The Effect of Low Intensity Steady State Cardio – Thomas DeLauer
beta-oxidation is the catabolic process by which fatty acid molecules are broken down in the cytosol in prokaryotes and in the mitochondria in eukaryotes to generate acetyl-CoA
During fatty acid beta oxidation long chain acyl-CoA molecules – the main components of FA’s – are broken to acetyl-CoA molecules
How fatty acids are broken down and used to generate ATP
Fatty acids provide highly efficient energy storage, delivering more energy per gram than carbs
In tissues with high energy requirement, such as heart, up to 50–70% of energy, in the form of ATP production, comes from fatty acid (FA) beta-oxidation
During fatty acid β-oxidation long chain acyl-CoA molecules – the main components of FAs – are broken to acetyl-CoA molecules
Fatty acid transport into mitochondria
Fatty acids are activated for degradation by conjugation with coenzyme A (CoA) in the cytosol
The long-chain fatty-acyl-CoA is then modified by carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) to acylcarnitine and transported across the inner mitochondrial membrane by carnitine translocase (CAT)
CPT2 then converts the long chain acylcarnitine back to long-chain acyl-CoA before beta-oxidation (1,2)
LISS is a low-intensity cardio workout that calls for typically 30 to 60 minutes – roughly 60% of maximal heart-rate effort
The aerobic system kicks in when the muscles cannot create enough energy without the aid of oxygen – although this system uses blood glucose and glycogen, it can also burn fat as well, yielding us the most ATP out of any macronutrient
The only problem is that the aerobic system is the slowest of all energy systems and may not predominantly burn fat at first
The oxidation of a single fatty acid molecule may yield over a hundred molecules of ATP
The oxidation of a single molecule of glucose, or blood sugar, yields only about 36 molecules of ATP (1,2)
1) Fat Oxidation During Exercise. (2012, November 2). Retrieved from
2) Fatty acid beta oxidation | Abcam. (2018, March 5). Retrieved from n