I was a little unsure of how to I was going to begin this post so I’m simply going to use that word that everyone is familiar with. The F-word. Fat. There I said it. The fact is that we are all not only fat, we are fatter than ever before. We know what we have to do to lose it and yet we keep gaining weight. Our health suffers and we begin this downward spiral of health issues and weight gain that lead to trying some fad diet that may initially work but then it fails. We may try exercise and not see the loss of a single pound. What the f*#! is the problem?
Well, actually there are many problems and for sake of not beating a dead horse over the head with a blunt object I am not going to get into that with you. I am a realist and I am going to assume that you know why you are fat. What I am going to do is give you the most up-to-date, research driven facts about how to torch that fat and play the piano. Maybe not the latter but I am going to give you all of the pieces of the so-called metabolic puzzle that will help you attack that fat from every direction and make all your dreams come true.
The first thing I want to make clear is that you cannot lose weight using low fat diets. Low fat foods have been popular for more than 15 years and yet our society is getting more overweight as each year passes. This fact alone should tell you that eating a purely low fat menu is not the answer to losing weight. Low carb diets have recently become popular over the last couple years, but the problem with low carb menus is that they are too strict and too hard to follow for average people. Low carb menus tend to rob your body of too much energy(carbohydrates) and make it nearly impossible to remain on the program for very long. What you DO need to do is raise your metabolic rate along with proper diet and proper exercise.
This is how your metabolism works and without getting too in depth, years of eating crap and not exercising has caused not only your basal metabolic rate to slow down it probably takes up a larger portion of the pie chart. Mmmmm pie. No good for your metabolism. You try to eat healthier and exercise a little bit and to be honest with you thats not enough. Here are the top 5 ways to increase your metabolism in order from most important to least important:
- Proper nutrition
- see #1
- Activities that burn calories and maintain/promote muscle mass and increase your metabolism (lifting heavy weights)
- Activities that burn calories and increase your metabolism (High Intensity Intervals)
- Activities that burn calories and do not maintain muscle mass or increase your metabolism (long steady state cardio)
Proper nutrition aside, what you want to focus on for activity to increase your are the ones that will increase your metabolism. Tied for first place in that category would be heavy resistance training and metabolic acceleration resistance training such as metabolic bodyweight circuits. Try running up several flights of stairs or try a round of 15 burpees, 15 pushups, and 15 bodyweight squats, then 14, then 13, etc., etc. and see how out of breath you get. Next in line would be aerobic high intensity intervals which can be done on any pieces of cardio equipment or outdoors. So unless you are training for an endurance sport, such as running a marathon, there is no real reason to focus on long cardio sessions that only burn calories (and your time).
So if you are looking to burn fat through exercise and only have 3-4 hours a week to spend working out why not spend them working on the activities that matter? In that case only do heavy resistance training or metabolic acceleration exercise such as high intensity resistance circuits. If you have 4-6 hours to devote to exercise then include the high intensity aerobic interval training. If you have more than 6 hours then extra calorie burning activities such as long cardio sessions may be added to burn more calories. Now hopefully you will have somewhere new to focus your energy while at the gym
I am going to stop there for now and let you know that this is only the introduction to a 9 part series of how you will be able to increase your metabolism through proper diet and exercise. In the next post I will be explaining just what your body needs to do to “burn” body fat and what you can do to speed up the process. I will also be clearing up some of the common myths about diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss. Until then I just need you to get into the metabolic mindset. Remember:
“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” – Kenichi Ohmae