Select Page

After a year of writing silence, during the Christmas holidays I decided to pick up blogging again. I just missed writing too much! And to inspire as many people as I can, English versions will now be available too. We kick off the new year with: facts and fiction about burning fat. Can you burn fat locally? Do you burn fat if you drink lukewarm water with lemon juice in the morning? Which sports are best for burning fat? I answer questions about fat burning and give you tips. A small warning: it has become quite a long blog!

Why do you want to burn fat?

This should really be the first question that comes to mind, right? I mean, if we all think about that for a moment, many people might answer: because that’s what society expects of me. But it could also be that you think you look better with less fat on your body, or perhaps you think it is important for your health to lose weight.

As long as the reason is clear to you, and you really do it for yourself and not because someone else (or the whole society!) wants you to.

Burn fat, fitness

Can you burn fat locally?

This is a well-known, perhaps even the most frequently asked, question about losing weight: can you burn fat in one place on your body? Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Burning fat happens gradually throughout your body. Where you lose it first varies per person. You may notice that your legs become slimmer at first, but someone else will notice the difference in their face. But it is not possible to only burn fat on your stomach, for example, with specific exercises. Let’s be honest, that’s quite a shame, because: useful…

Do you burn belly fat with abdominal exercises?

No, you will not burn fat with abdominal exercises (see previous point). But: you do strengthen your abdominal muscles. But: if there is a layer of fat over it, it will not disappear with abdominal muscle exercises. However, your abdominal muscles may become more visible if you train them consistently.

Burning fat

Then, how do you get a flatter stomach?

The short answer (but unfortunately no quick method): you can do this through a combination of strength training, fitness training and a healthy diet (where tasty snacksa are also allowed). And be patient with this, because burning fat takes time. (You can read more about training and fat burning further below.)

The long answer: the combination of exercise and a healthy diet + do this consistently. It is therefore important that you find a lifestyle that suits you. Do not copy someone else’s because you are not that person and there is a good chance that his or her lifestyle does not suit you. And that’s fine. You do you.

Do you feel that you can maintain this new lifestyle for the rest of your life, while also having fun in your life? Then you are on the right track.

My belly

‘What about my stomach?’ you might think (or not). Which isn’t really important at all, because I’m not you and I don’t encourage anyone to copy my lifestyle. But this insight might help you a little.

Just like everyone else, I want a flat stomach. Now that I’ve had two kids (for a while now), I can see from photos from the past that I’ve had that flat stomach all along. Maybe not super flat, but everything was perfectly proportioned. Unfortunately, I am only satisfied with my former belly in retrospect, and the moments when it was really tight were during periods when I was not doing well. I was very proud of that belly at the time (and also very concerned with becoming even thinner), but I was also depressed and ultimately I preferred not to be.

Long story short: it is really a waste of your time and energy if you stress about it for years. Because who do we actually want that flat stomach for?! Let’s move on to the next question.

Exercising abs

Do you burn fat by drinking water with lemon juice?

If only, then we’d drink one together! Unfortunately, this is also not true. This is of course an excellent healthy habit. Water is always a good choice, and lemon is a fruit and contains vitamin C and antioxidants. So that’s just good for you. It can also help with nausea during pregnancy. But there is no convincing scientific research showing that it stimulates fat burning.

Does eating something every 2 hours help you burn fat?

I can imagine that people think this, because you may think: this keeps my metabolism going. Additional advantage: you get to eat often! This may work for some individuals, for example people who have been eating too little for a long time.

But it often works better to have a longer time (e.g. 3-5 hours) between meals. This will leave you feeling quite hungry at the end and your body will start using the fat reserves for energy. Make sure that you eat enough and varied at the main meals, and that you alternate the days with an occasional longer period between meals for a day and then a normal period again.

Always listen to your hunger cues

In general, however, I would say: listen carefully to your hunger cues. Eat healthily most of the time and listen carefully to your body’s signals. So don’t eat just because it’s 12 o’clock and you’re supposed to eat then, and don’t count the hours until you can eat again. Every body has different needs, figure out what feels best for you.

Lemon water

Do caffeine and spicy food stimulate fat burning?

The idea behind this question is that caffeine and chili pepper, but also green tea, cocoa and cinnamon, for example, have a higher thermal effect. The body then burns more calories when digesting these products. But that does not mean that you will also burn fat or lose weight. So you can also label this as a fable (below I’ve got actual facts for you, promise!). However, as for caffeine: this substance could improve your sports performance.

If there were products, pills, powders or drinks that helped you burn fat, there would be no obesity. I think that’s enough proof that there are no remedies to burn fat quickly. So definitely try to resist advertisements with these types of products, which only cost you loads of money and cause more grief than they’re worth.

Coffee and burning fat

Which sport is best for burning fat?

A combination of different sports is still the best way to burn fat and lose weight. So choose fitness training, including interval training and strength training. Let me explain.


The advantage of cardio training is that you train at a lower intensity and you can maintain it for longer. You simulate fat burning and as a beginner it is easy to start with cardio training. It also gives you a good basic condition and you are less likely to sustain injuries than if you immediately start at a high intensity. You can also keep up cardio training longer because the glycocene supply in the muscles increases.

Interval training

It is ideal if you alternate this with interval training, also called HIIT: high intensity interval training. You then train for short periods at a high intensity, followed by a short period of rest. For example: while running you accelerate for 2 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of rest. Or during strength training you do a heavy exercise for 1 minute, followed by 15 seconds of rest. You do this several times per training.

By training at high intensity in addition to cardio training and strength training (see next paragraph), you will experience even more benefits: you become more fit, you increase your lactic acid tolerance so that you can train at a higher level for longer, and you can burn more energy in the same time period. As a bonus, the burning process continues for a while after training because you have to recover longer than after cardio training.

Strength training

Finally, strength training for fat burning, losing weight and simply staying in shape, is also an important addition to cardio and interval training. You can do strength training in the gym, but also at home, where you can use weights or your own body weight to exert force.

The benefits of strength training: you become stronger, you retain muscle mass when losing weight (you don’t always see this on the scale by the way, because muscles weigh more than fat!), your muscles get more definition, and it is good for your posture. You burn calories with strength training (less than with cardio, though) and you will slowly burn more calories at rest because your muscle mass increases. Win win win! Win.

In addition to all these physical benefits, exercise also does a lot for your mind: you’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll be more energetic.

Running and burning fat

Can you lose weight without exercising?

Losing weight without exercising is possible, but it takes much longer and it’s also a bit more difficult. If you don’t exercise, you use a lot less energy and therefore need less food. Then you have to eat very little to see results. So seriously ask yourself whether you want that.

I would not recommend losing weight this way, also because you can develop deficiencies when eating (a lot) less, and you might fixate too much on your weight or fat percentage, which is simply not good for your psychological health. In addition, by eating a lot less you have less energy for daily tasks, your resistance becomes lower and you may become ill more often.

Exercise is also fun! How do you keep it fun?

The reason for exercising should not necessarily be to lose weight, but because you want to keep your body and mind healthy. And because it’s fun! Organize your sport or exercise the way you want. I don’t really like gyms, I always find them too busy and I feel like people are looking at me all the time. I’ve tried it many times, but never really felt comfortable in a gym.

That’s why I exercise at home, using YouTube videos, my cross trainer, and I have my own fitness bench and weights. This works well for me, I don’t have any travel time and still stay fit.

Fruit, eating healthy

What’s a reliable way to burn fat?

You can burn fat by eating healthy, having something tasty every now and then, and continuing to exercise. Every movement counts (walking, cycling, gardening, swimming, etc.), and a combination of cardio, interval training and strength training will help you burn fat even better.
Start with something you enjoy, at a level you can handle. Continue to do this consistently and gradually build up your pace and strength. Then you will really see a difference over time!

Don’t focus too much on your weight, but also look at your body shape and your waist size. If you would like some help with eating healthier and changing your lifestyle, send me a message, I will be happy to help you! If you’re not sure how to start exercising, start with some simple workouts on YouTube, or look for a personal trainer who can help you with a training schedule.

Lasagne, carbs

Last question (I like this one best!): where does your fat go when you lose weight?

Good question! Do you know I’ve never wondered this before? So I researched it a bit for you and it goes a little something like this:

Your body needs energy for your organs, to breathe, sleep, move, exercise, etc. For this purpose, your body uses carbohydrates and fats (and to a lesser extent proteins). It converts this into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and that substance provides energy.

ATP provides about 10 seconds of energy, so your body keeps replenishing it. What is not immediately needed is stored as glycogen in your muscles. With that supply you can exercise for 1 to 1.5 hours. When the glycogen stores are full and no energy is needed, your body stores the excess carbohydrates (glucose) as fat.

Fat is converted into ATP, caron dioxide and water

When you exercise, your body uses carbohydrates (fruit, bread, potatoes, sugar) and fats (oil, butter, margarine, dairy, meat) for energy. As stated above, mainly from carbohydrates that are stored as glycogen in your muscles. But also from fat (everyone has a large supply). This is just a less efficient process than with carbohydrates. Your body stores fat in your muscles, fat cells and in blood.

When fat is used, it is converted into glycerol and fatty acids. After all kinds of reactions it ends up as ATP (energy), which you use to move or exercise. It also releases carbon dioxide, which you breathe out, and water, which you lose through breathing, urinating and sweating. So that’s where your fat stays.

Oil, fat

Our body always uses carbohydrates as the first source of energy because it is a very efficient system, and it is always available because in the West we eat a lot of carbohydrates during the day. If you want to use your fat reserves more often, it is smart to, in addition to eating slightly fewer carbohydrates, also choose slower carbohydrates (so not fast sugars such as cookies and sweets, but whole grain products, for example), and to leave a little longer between eating moments.

Best wishes,