“If we activate brown fat, we can eat more and not gain weight. It could be a help in the fight against obesity, diabetes and heart problems.” — Prof Sir Stephen Bloom, Imperial College London
In my last post, I wrote about the main Wim Hof Method breathing exercise that I’ve been practising every day for the last nine weeks. In this post, I’d like to introduce a new Wim Hof breathing exercise called the ‘Brown fat activation technique’.
What is brown fat?
“A dark-coloured adipose tissue with many blood vessels, involved in the rapid production of heat in hibernating animals and human babies.” — Google dictionary definition
According to Wim Hof, brown adipose is a type of fat tissue that produces heat and can help to significantly prevent and fight obesity. Hof also explains that brown fat plays an important role in maintaining body temperature in animals and humans, and interestingly, obese people have very little of it.
I also found a recent NHS article on brown fat, which states that “brown fat is found mostly in newborns, who are more prone to heat loss and are unable to shiver to keep themselves warm. Brown fat compensates by burning calories to create heat.”
The article goes on to say that as we age, we have less of a need for brown fat, and as a result, the brown fat gets replaced with white fat (the bad kind of fat) which causes us to put on more weight as we get older.
You can read the full article here: Brown fat may protect against diabetes and obesity
My own experiences with brown fat and practising the Wim Hof Method
About five weeks into practising the Wim Hof method — which included breathing exercises, immersing myself in cold temperatures as well as doing daily physical exercises — I had some body readings done by a nutritionist.
I currently work part time doing exercise with children, for an organisation that helps get obese children and adults healthy again. When people sign up, they get all sorts of readings done which includes weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, as well as less obvious readings such as estimated metabolic age.
During one session, I also got to see what my readings were and discovered that I had an estimated metabolic age 15 years younger than my actual age which is 29, which makes my metabolism only 14 years old!
It would have been interesting to see what my reading would have been prior to the Wim Hof Method — I have a feeling it would have been much higher, as everyone else’s was pretty accurate.
When I started to read about brown fat and its role in preventing obesity, I became convinced that the Wim Hof Method had genuinely helped to speed my metabolism up as well as improving my immune system.
Brown fat — the science
I know that the name ‘brown fat’ doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but it’s the good type of fat that helps to burn calories, and keep us healthy. White fat, on the other hand stores excess calories in the body.
According to George L. King, MD from The Diabetes Reset, “Just two ounces of brown fat appear capable of burning several hundred calories per day—the equivalent of a 30-minute bout of exercise.” You can read more about what King has to say about brown fat in this article: What Is Brown Fat? 8 Key Facts to Boost Your Metabolism
How to activate brown fat?
The good news is that you don’t have to be a newborn baby to have lots of brown fat in your body — there are numerous ways you can activate it. Regular exercise is one way, along with eating apples, and through practising the Wim Hof Method.
According to Meghan Rabbitt from Prevention, researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that the ursolic acid that is found in apples, increased the brown fat in mice, despite the fact that they were fed on high fat foods.
You can read more about other ways to activate more brown fat here: 5 ways to increase your brown fat to burn more calories
Please make sure that if you’re practising the Wim Hof breathing exercise, you’ve completed all the preliminary weeks of the course first.
Finally, I’m a Wim Hof Method affiliate. This means that if you buy the Wim Hof course through my site I will make a commission which will go towards further yoga teacher trainings.