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Mitochondria and Fat Loss

Mito-chondri-what!!?? If you haven't heard about Mitochondria and fat loss before, there's a good chance you're now wondering what it is all about and why you haven't heard about all this before!? There's also a good chance that you have probably been searching for those answers as to why you seem to struggle to burn those stubborn areas of fat. All will be revealed below!

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Before we start, it's best to start from the beginning to understand what is Mitochondria!

So, what is Mitochondria!?

Mitochondria are organelles found in the cytoplasm of most cells and are essential to healthy living as they play an important role in the way cell function in the body. Known as the 'power plants', each cell can contain as few as one Mitochondria to over 2000 (liver cell) of these little bad boys!!! (the more Mitochondria the better!!).

Through a complex series of biochemical reactions these little powerhouses turn the food we eat and the air that we breathe into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy our body uses to facilitate functions ranging from involuntary activities like breathing to voluntary activities like running or lifting weights. They also take part in cell signalling and help cells sense and adapt to their environment.

These tiny structures within our cells produce up to 90% of the energy that sustains our organs and bodily functions. Without them, or if they malfunction, we can become metabolically deranged (i.e. fat and sick).

Cool, so now we know what Mitochondria is... where does fat loss come into the equation!?

Okay, so here's where things start to get a little bit more interesting. Mitochondria is an integral role in the metabolism of fatty acids.

"For fat loss to occur, fatty acids must be mobilised from our fat stores and be transported to the Mitochondria for oxidation."

Meaning, Mitochondria can get rid of body fat!

If there is more Mitochondria, could you shed more body fat?

In a (healthy fats) nutshell, yes! Here is more good news:

  • Mitochondria can reproduce and basically clone itself! This means you can produce more the number of Mitochondria in each cell. This means more energy and more fat burning!!

  • Mitochondria can be trained to work harder. This means you can increase the efficiency and have better performing Mitochondria!

How can I start boosting my Mitochondria and start burning away this body fat!?

Here's my top 3 recommendations:


Your body loves to move and in particular, exercise! To increase the efficiency of your Mitochondria then you need to be using it! Think of the saying "use it or lose it". Being active in general is always going to be good for your general health and can also help sustain a good amount and healthy Mitochondria, high intense exercise such as HIIT or weight training has been proven to help increase your Mitochondria.

Larger muscle cells will equate to higher Mitochondria numbers.


What you eat and how you eat is hugely important! With all that exercise you're going to need to feed and fuel up your body! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean we can go putting any old crap into our body! Your body deserves only the best fuel if you are going to want to see those fat loss goals become a reality!

Aim at enjoying a diet rich in fibrous vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, while greatly reducing or avoiding sugar, processed carbohydrates, and high glycemic natural carbohydrates (i.e. high sugar fruits like bananas, pineapple, and starchy veggies like potatoes, white rice, corn, etc.)


Psychological stress will not only increase your cortisol levels (stress hormone = increases sugar (glucose)) that can cause Mitochondria dysfunction. This can either lower the amount of Mitochondria (lower amounts are bad for fat loss) or even weakened the Mitochondria meaning it will become less effective. Although it is important to recognise that we will all go through phases of psychological stress during our lifetimes, it is also vital to find ways to help lower those stress levels at times. Proven ways to help reduce your stress levels include; Yoga, Meditation, walking outside and exercise (weights, boxing etc).

Take away points -

  • Mitochondria is known as your 'power plant' and plays an integral role in oxidising (burning) your body fat!

  • The more Mitochondria the better! We can help increase our levels through eating correctly, nutrition management, lifestyle choices and stress management.

  • The body is always burning fat (we are still burning energy through involuntary movements), we can increase that through regular movement, exercise and foods we eat.

  • Decrease sugar and simple carbohydrates (they increase insulin) to help increase your Mitochondria

  • Mitochondria uses carbohydrates and fats to create energy

  • High stress can damage Mitochondria, try relaxation techniques like Yoga and Meditation.

What are your thoughts on the post and do you feel you have gained valuable knowledge about fat loss? Comment below to let us know.

You can also give your Mitochondria a boost today by signing up to our free online challenge.

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