Research output: Optimising fat burning for fat loss

Sports Science and Nutrition senior lecturer Dr Nick Kimber knows how to grab an audience's attention during a research presentation.

"Fat burning," he says. "It gets everybody listening and hoping to find out if there is a magic solution."

Dr Kimber has spent many years researching fat oxidation during exercise and the implications of that for sports performance. He will be presenting some of his research findings during Ara's research month.

He will speak on fat use during exercise, hormonal regulation, the fat burning zone and fat metabolism and performance.

"Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for burning fat. Every person is different and there are many factors affecting fat oxidation. You could feed two people the exact same diet and they could potentially have a very different metabolic response. That's what makes nutrition challenging," Dr Kimber says.

However, he does have "one key message" for those who are seeking fat loss and want to optimise fat burning.

"They should be working at a medium to high intensity as opposed to a low intensity. It might also be favourable to some to do shorter burst of high intensity training instead of a longer time with low intensity. Again though, everyone is different so that won't work for everybody."

Dr Kimber's "bottom line" is that the harder a person works for at least 30 min of non-stop aerobic exercise the more fat they will burn during exercise and the immediate recovery period.

For his own PhD work, Dr Kimber studied skeletal muscle fat metabolism and exercise in humans. Eight endurance-trained men performed three trials, consisting of high-intensity and exhaustive exercise, after which they received an infusion of either saline, glucose or a lipid emulsion. Muscle biopsies were obtained at the end of exercise.

The aim of his study was to examine the influence of blood lipids on the regulation of fat metabolism during post-exercise recovery. This is an area that Dr Kimber claims has not been fully defined.

 "I will be incorporating my own PhD research into wider discussions on the topic for my research presentation."

Kimber hopes his research will have wider ramifications in "enhancing fat burning with effective nutritional and exercise strategies".

Kimber's work on Skeletal muscle fat metabolism after exercise has been published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.