If you keep up with nutrition and healthy eating news, you may have heard the phrase, “You can’t exercise away a bad diet.” And while that’s 100 percent true, you shouldn’t discount exercise’s role in weight loss. As it turns out, signing up for a spin class or hitting the weight room with your buddy from work does more than help you create a calorie deficit. It actually activates a hormone in your body called irisin that can melt away flab. No, really! New research by the University of Florida shows that irisin helps burn fat cells and prevent your body from creating new ones—which translates to less fat on your frame.
“We used human fat tissue cultures to prove that irisin [can] turn white fat into [calorie-burning] brown fat and that it increases the body’s fat-burning ability,” explains Li-Jun Yang, M.D, the study’s lead researcher.
While these new findings spark hope that irisin may eventually be packed into a tiny pill and prescribed to anyone who needs a weight loss boost, don’t go planning a pizza party after your next workout just yet. Yang says that even though creating a weight loss supplement with the hormone is probable, the possibility remains in the distant future.
“Instead of waiting for a miracle drug, you can help yourself by changing your lifestyle. Exercise produces more irisin, which has many beneficial effects including fat reduction, stronger bones, and better cardiovascular health,” Yang said.
So next time you’re debating whether or not to hit snooze and skip your a.m. jog, remember that the only way to get a dose of this fat-fighting hormone is by breaking a sweat. And if your work schedule tends to get in the way of your workouts, don’t miss these 31 Ways to Work Out Without Hitting The Gym.