Not all fat is created equal. The common belief is that bad fat can be found under the skin and that’s how you know whether or not you’ve got a problem. However, the facts are a little bit different.

Fat that our human eyes can see is called subcutaneous fat and it has a naughty cousin - visceral fat. Visceral fat is internal fat that develops in the abdominal cavity, gets stored around the organs, wrapping around your kidneys, intestines, stomach, and liver.  It’s sneaky because while it’s easy to see subcutaneous fat, it isn’t so easy to see the visceral fat in your midsection.

And that’s exactly one of the things we look at during the EPIC Life Assessment as we did clients’ InBody Analysis.

While the healthy level of visceral fat is recommended to be anywhere under 10, we know from experience and research that the optimal level of visceral fat that guarantees peak performance has to be below 3. The “normal” range is not what we are aiming for - we want you to feel EPIC!

What causes that number to rise?

Your lifestyle choices. Things like processed, sugar-filled foods, chemicals and artificial flavours, consistent emotional eating, dehydration, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle – even things like pollution, BPA, and heavy metals can affect your level of visceral fat. Basically everything we do that relates to a stressful, urban lifestyle.

How it affects your health and life?

High levels of visceral fat drastically increase the risk for a number of health problems and syndromes. Harvard Medical School linked it with various health issues, including:

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes
  • Lower bone mineral density
  • Loss of cognitive function

While these are potential issues, your high visceral fat affects your daily life by consistently making you feel bloated, tired and unmotivated to do things you enjoy. As your body finds it hard to produce energy and happy cells, you end up getting stuck in a ‘blah’ mode, consuming foods that fuel your cravings while over-indulging in spending time sitting or lying down with electronics.

What can you do to lower it and maintain it at a healthy level?

First and foremost, get rid of the soldiers that are fueling the enemy. Lower your carb intake, sugar and sodium (bad table salt) intake, focus your nutrition on more nutrient-dense, plant-based and healthy fats foods. How you fuel your body plays a major part in your performance. And if you continuously filling it with dead foods, how can you expect to feel alive?

Next step is HIIT: high-intensity interval training. HIIT is the most impactful physical effort you can make in attaining fat loss, improved heart rate and metabolism, a boost in endurance, and muscle gain.

For fat loss we want our bodies to use a process called the Oxidative energy system which is a fancy way of saying that we want the body to break down fat into energy. This process can only occur if there is oxygen in the system which is where HIIT comes in. The high-intensity, go-go-go period essentially creates an oxygen shortage making your body ask for more of it during the recovery period. This Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) helps to burn more fat and build more muscle in a shorter span of time than any other form of steady exercise. You can read more about why HIIT is where it’s at on our blog here.

We offer two types of HIIT classes: EPIC HIIT and Functional HIIT. If one of your goals after taking the EPIC Life Assessment is now lowering the level of visceral fat, we invite you to join us for a class (or two!).

Plus, if you’re ready to tackle this head-on, our Personal Trainers can work with you on creating a personalized program that utilized the best of our Functional Training methods and HIIT techniques. Request your consultation below if you’re ready to learn more.