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Tips from Andrew Huberman on How to Lose Fat

  • Post last modified:27 December 2023
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Losing weight, in particular losing fat, is a shared goal for many of us. In his videos, Andrew Huberman explores the science and strategies for losing weight. Specifically with regards to fat loss, Huberman discusses concepts to both optimize fat mobilization as well as fat oxidation.


As Huberman explains in great detail, here are some strategies you can use to optimize fat loss:

  • Make sure your health fundamentals are in order (e.g. sleep, microbiome, etc.)
  • Consider exercising in a fasted state
  • Drink yerba mate or guayusa prior to exercise
  • Proactively fidget
  • Utilize cold exposure to trigger shivering
  • Consume caffeine and supplement L-carnitine to trigger more fat oxidation
  • Find a diet you can stick to


Before discussing strategies, Huberman points out that there are some fundamentals that first need to be solid. They are the following:

  • Sleep
  • EPA (at least 1000 milligrams a day)
  • Microbiome (e.g. eat fermented foods)
  • Thyroid (i.e. sufficient iodine & selenium)

Awareness and Mindset

It turns out, simply acknowledging and understanding that movement and exercise are beneficial will improve the desired outcomes. Huberman discusses work by Alia Crum where manipulations of thought patterns in participants were enough to see real benefits.

the mere knowledge that exercise is good for you, that movement is good for you, shifted their behavior and their physiology in the direction of enhanced weight loss

Beyond knowledge, in Huberman’s discussion with Layne Norton, Norton discusses different triggers for eating as well as re-evaluating one’s self-image:

I recently read a systematic review of successful weight loss maintainers, which I thought was really interesting. So they took people who had lost a significant amount of body weight and kept it off for, I think, it was three years. And it basically asked them questions and tried to identify commonalities. And there were some things that I expected like cognitive restraint, self monitoring, exercise. And then one of the things they said that I found really fascinating was pretty ubiquitous between people. They said, I had to develop a new identity.

Role of Adrenaline

Manipulating adrenaline is important for increasing the number of calories burned because releasing it increases fat oxidation. The adrenaline in question is generally not coming from the adrenal gland, but instead from the neurons that are directly connected to fatty tissue. This is important because it means that we can use the nervous system as a mechanism for burning more fat.

Physical Movement

Here Huberman is referring to micro-movements (i.e. fidgeting) , also known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), that have a significant impact on fat mobilization. Examples of this type of movement are pacing, tapping a pen, bouncing a knee, etc.

 if they were trying to lose weight and they incorporated this fidgeting protocol of deliberately trying to fidget more and move around during the day, pace, stand up more quickly, sit down more often, sit down and stand up more often rather. They found that they greatly increased their weight loss anywhere from 20 to 30% increases.

Cold Exposure

Huberman discusses how cold exposure triggers shivering, which releases succinate, and succinate increases overall brown fat thermogenesis. Note that if the goal is fat loss, the aim should not be to become cold adapted because this will make it more difficult to reach the point of shivering.

Fasting and Exercise

Although it may not be optimal for performance, when optimizing for fat loss we want to combine low insulin levels with exercise. The reason is that the conversion of fatty acids to ATP in the mitochondria is inhibited by insulin. So the lower the insulin levels, the higher the fat oxidation. Since eating triggers insulin, one strategy for fat loss is to fast a few hours prior to exercise.

the literature says that you’re going to burn more body fat per unit time than if you had eaten before or during the exercise

Yerba Mate and Guayusa

Yerba Mate and Guayusa are drinks that trigger GLP-1 which is a hormone that impacts the glucagon pathway.

It increases fat burning. And that is especially true, it turns out from the scientific literature, if you ingest mate prior to exercise of any kind. So if you want to burn more fat drinking mate before exercise is good.


Both Huberman and Norton seem to agree that the type of diet (i.e. vegan, ketogenic, carnivore, Mediterranean, etc.) is not what is important. In terms of losing weight, they can all result in a caloric deficit. Instead, the emphasis should be on finding a diet you can adhere to over the long-term.

Somebody will say, well, I’m going to do ketogenic because I want to increase my fat oxidation and I want to do this. And they’re talking about all these mechanisms and everything. And that’s great. Can you do it for the rest of your life? Is this going to be something sustainable for you? And if the answer is, no, you probably need to rethink what your approach is going to be.

Watch the videos here: