Workout Tips

Get a Leaner Physique With Brown Fat

There is such a thing as a fat that burns fat. Here's how to increase it.

Zen and the Art of Keg Lifting

Brown fat has been the unicorn of bodybuilding for the longest time. A fat burning, heat producing fat that makes people leaner. The more you have of it the leaner you could get -- OK, maybe that's a bit oversimplified. Still, you get the idea. Brown fat is like a unicorn, you don't see it very often so why should you care?

The Breakdown on 'Brown"

Basically, there are two types of fat. The first is white adipose tissue, which is used for energy storage and broken down for ATP creation. It is also the stuff we want to get rid off. Brown fat is its metabolically active cousin, it regulates body heat via uncoupling. It's called "brown" because it has mitochondria and an actual blood supply. Sadly, we start to lose this good fat as we get older. Babies and hibernating mammals carry a lot to help regulate their body's temperature. It was always thought that once we reach adulthood, the white/brown fat ratio is set and not much can be done. This may not be true as there is research coming out that certain components might influence a transition from white to brown by creating "beige fat."

Browning Your Fat

We know that exercising is helpful with the above, along with certain stimulants (mostly beta 2 antagonists). Those, however, come with some side effects as they affect blood pressure and heart rate negatively. Recently, there have been some findings that show some interesting pathways to stimulate the transition from white to brown fat without sever side effects. Exposure to cold temperatures: Since brown fat is used to regulate the core temperature of the body  it makes sense that the exposure to colder environments would increase the caloric expenditure altogether as well as increase the production of brown fat.