Monday, August 16, 2010

Get Your Metabolic Motor Running

Think a "slow metabolism" is hindering your weight loss?  Read these tips from Allen Branch of Fitness One Training in Kernersville:

Understanding your Metabolism

When it comes to understanding fat loss, too many people are missing the forest for the trees. They are approaching their fat loss programs all wrong, and stagnating as a result. A big thanks goes to the mainstream media and "The Big Box" gyms for all of the really poor advice on ”cardio” being best for fat loss, long distance marathon runs on a treadmill or the endless cardio sessions on an ellyptical or exercise bike. More on that in a minute.

Assuming your goal is fat loss, then metabolic optimization should be our primary focus. Some of you might be shocked by my use of big words in that last sentence, so let me explain.

Your metabolic rate, or "metabolism" is the rate at which you burn calories in a given day. From a fat loss perspective, the more calories we expend per day, the better. So your training should be focused on precisely that – burning more calories per 24 hours – not just burning more calories during a workout. Far too many people I see in average gyms look the absolute same after months of “cardio” training as the day the walked in the door. In fact, we all might know those people who have been "members" of a Box gym for a long time, and their loks have never changed at all. In years.

If they were to follow some basic principles, all that could change.

Big Moves – Big Results
To increase your metabolism working out with resistance is a must. Where the weight comes from is less important. For instance I can create a routine that would set your metabolism on fire using just your bodyweight and nothing else. (But working out with weights, dumbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, TRX Suspension ect. like we do at Fitness One is just fun.)

One critical piece of information we must remember is the more muscle you carry on your frame, the higher your metabolism. (Side Note: this does NOT mean you need to or could possibly look like the Hulk ) You should want to stimulate as much of that muscle as you can. This is because muscle is metabolically active, and it requires energy to exist. So the goal when working out should be to cause as big a "metabolic disruption" as possible. The more muscle you stimulate, the bigger the disruption and thus the bigger the metabolic increase.

For example a session of 10 sets of deadlifts would cause a greater metabolic shift then a session of 10 sets of bicep curls. Deadlfits use almost your entire body, while curls only use the bicep muscle (give or take). The net effect will be increased calorie utilization over the long term as the metabolic increase from resistance sessions can last 48 hours. In a class at Fitness One for example, you see moves like the dumbbell curl squat and press, which is a compound move utilizing the entire body in a set.

From a metabolic perspective, the bigger the move the better off you are. This is critical especially since most of us are under a time cruch and need to get the biggest bang for our buck time wise. Our new "Minute to win it" circuits help with that as well.

Munch a Bunch
Eating regularly increases your metabolism, while skipping meals actually lowers it. Eating multiple times per day is an easy way to keep your metabolism humming along. For example, you will increase you metabolism more if you consume your daily allotment of calories over 5 meals than you would if it were only on 1 or 2 meals. Here's food for thought: Sumo wrestlers only eat one meal per day.

Do Not Drop Calories Too Low
Your body is extremely smart, or exceptionally stupid depending on how you look at it. Your body probably does not know that you would like to drop a few pounds. If it did, it would not create so many road blocks making that endeavor so difficult. As you drop your calories, your body responds by lowering the rate at which your body uses those calories. It is a survival mechanism preventing you from starving to death.

Let's say your metabolic maintenance level is 3000 cals, and you drop your intake to 1500 cals in a effort to drop some weight. Your body will soon respond by lowering your maintenance level to meet the new lower calorie intake level. Now what do you do? Drop your calories again?

While calorie restriction is a key move, it does not mean starve. Most times we are consuming 2-3x what we need, so we attempt to adjust your calories to get them in check, not starve you to death..

The better way is to not drastically drop your calories and take some of the other measures in this article to make certain your metabolic rate stays nice and high.

Do Not Over-Do Cardio
We have had it beaten in to our heads that cardio is the be all and end all of fat loss. I am here to tell you it is NOT. The people I refereed to earlier in the article, that look the same as the day they walked in my gym- they are the ones who come in and do nothing but extended cardio work. The fancy lines of cardio equipment at the big box do look spiffy – but they aren’t doing much for your fat loss in most instances.

Here's my beef with cardio- it does NOTHING to increase metabolism- get that? NOTHING.

It's only saving grace is that is burns calories while you are performing it – but big deal really, so does brushing your teeth. How many calories you expend during a workout session (whether it be a cardio or weight session) is almost irrelevant. What matters is how many calories it expends in the long run.

When you complete a traditional cardio session you are done burning calories the second you step off the treadmill. This is not the case with resistance training. You continue to burn calories as a result of the workout for days and days (no joke).

Intervals to the Rescue
So what do you do instead of traditional cardio? Interval training. Interval training simulates the same metabolic response as a weight training session, and revs up the metabolic rate.

What is interval training? In it’s most basic form it is big moves (squats, burprees, sit ups push ups etc.), with very short rest. So something like…

Squats for 45 seconds Rest 15seconds Push Ups for 45 seconds Rest for 15 seconds etc…

It is hard and gasses you out fast. The good news is it doesn’t take very long (4-10 minutes in some cases) and as previously stated it can increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours. Our 6 step circuit system we use at Fitness One takes it even farther, giving you 45 min-1 hour of interval training AND your cardio, burning calories now, and calories later.

The number one thing to do is DON'T BE a QUITTER. I struggle with those people, who come to us searching what they need only to find it, and then let the laziness of the American lifestyle drag them away. Then, they fall prey to the claim of a miracle supplement or even worse a "body wrap" to help them lose weight. It is not only disappointing, but sad. If we can't save them, chances are they will stay the way they are for life. For LIFE. I do my best to stop this from happening, but I cannot force them to do what I, their doctors, the latest research, their families and their friends know that they need to do. Get in shape.

All it takes is to make a move and show up at Fitness One. We WILL do the rest. you just have to follow advice and be consistent. Missed it for the summer? No worries. Check out the newest Fitness Schedule and get back in action. Need help, just ask!

Allen Branch CPT, SCS, NASM-PES
Fitness One Training Systems
Official North Carolina Representative
Israeli Krav International
Master Trainer
American Martial Arts Systems
1209 Suite 7 Shields Road
Kernersville NC 27284
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Learn more about the $50,000 "Big Box Gym" relief fund-This means free training for everyone who wants to get out of the big box gym or start a new Fitness Routine that works! Contact me to find out how!

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1 comment:

Martin Knight said...

Interval training and weight resistance training are excellent for raising your metabolism. Some other methods include: eating apples, grapefruit, blueberries, spicy food, oatmeal, broccoli, carrots, or anything with a lot of fiber. Also try lemon juice in your salads and water. For more tips, get the free eBook at this site: Boost Your Metabolism Naturally