Speed Up Your Metabolism

Keep your body burning fat - Even after training

Speed up your metabolism
A sluggish metabolism is like the kiss of death when it comes to weight loss. As we age, our metabolisms naturally slow down. After the age of 40, your metabolism slows by 5 percent each decade. And of course, this is a bigger downfall for women, considering men generally burn more calories at rest than we do. No matter how tempting it is, a sluggish metabolism is no excuse for weight gain.

Your metabolism is comprised of a complex unit of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel, but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel. Oftentimes variables get in the way of how efficiently your metabolism revs. Stress, genetics, environmental factors, hormones, exercise and diet are all factors contributing to how slow or how fast your metabolism revs.

What you wouldn’t expect is that people who are overweight tend to have a faster metabolism than those of us who carry little body fat. Doesn’t make much sense, right? Actually it does. That’s because carrying extra weight on your frame forces your body to work harder to sustain daily life and activities— i.e. your body burns more fuel faster for energy throughout the day. That’s why overweight people carry more muscle mass than a skinny person— they need the muscle to carry the extra weight around. For someone who is overweight, simply changing your diet and adding in small amounts of exercise to your weekly routine will melt off the fat fast where alternately, it would take someone who is in the normal weight range much more exercise to burn less.

Get Your Engine Going

Genetic factors aside, you can still improve the rate at which your metabolism burns. First and foremost, attack environmental factors like stress. Clean up your apartment for a fresh outlook or kick your smoking habit, go for a massage or treat yourself to a mani/pedi to take the edge off. Lightening the stress load will calm your nerves and allow your metabolism to burn faster.

Keep the diet clean and eat more times throughout the day for a fat-burning furnace. Imagine your metabolism is like a bonfire— to keep it going, you have to continue to add wood. What happens when the wood runs out or you forget to add more? The fire dies. The same can be said for your metabolism— if you eat once per day, your metabolism will become so sluggish you’ll end up gaining fat instead of burning it. Eat 5-6 small balanced meals throughout the day for ultimate success.

Exercise is the key to a high-speed metabolism. This includes cardiovascular exercise and resistance training regularly. Cardio will burn calories during the workout and for hours after, while resistance training will build the muscle that eats up calories while you are doing things like lounging on the couch, working in your cubicle, running errands and sleeping. Resistance training creates the ultimate long-lasting metabolic booster. Build the muscle and melting calories will follow.

14-Hour Metabolic Boost

Muscle mass burns calories down the road, but aerobic exercise is the way to go for immediate results. A recent study published in the American College of Sports Medicine found that after 45 minutes of vigorous exercise, post-exercise energy expenditure was significantly elevated for 14.2 hours compared with the rest day.1 Energy intake and expenditure were tightly matched on both the rest and exercise days to ensure zero energy balance under both conditions, and the daily activities of living were controlled.

The participants in the study took part in two sessions; in the first session the subjects remained in a rested state and engaged in no exercise, while in the second session the subjects completed 45 minutes of exercise on a cycle ergometer (exercise bike). The duration of 45 minutes corresponds to the middle of the range suggested by the physical activity guidelines for Americans (30-60 minutes). Subjects were instructed to avoid physical activity on the days leading up to the study and to consume foods from a specific food list to achieve a carbohydrate intake of approximately 55 percent total energy intake. Subjects were also instructed to avoid any supplements, including caffeine, for the duration of the study.

On the exercise day, subjects began cycling at 11:00 a.m. The cycling protocol consisted of 2 minutes at 50 percent of the workload, 2 minutes at 75 percent of the workload, 41 minutes at 100 percent of the workload, and another 2 minutes at 50 percent of the workload. Oxygen consumption and energy expenditure were measured continuously during the exercise with heart rate (HR) measured every 5 minutes. After exercise, the subjects were asked to stay rested.

All subjects successfully completed the 47 minutes on the exercise cycle. Hour-by-hour analysis showed that energy expenditure was significantly elevated on the exercise day than on the rest day, and energy intake was also significantly higher on the exercise day— i.e. subjects ate more. After 14 hours, subjects’ energy expenditure was still elevated as compared to non-exercise days.

The increase in resting metabolic rate (RMR) on exercise days could have been due to the increase in energy consumption and/or the 47-minute bout of vigorous exercise on the exercise bicycle. The data in this study supports that vigorous cycling has a significant effect on 24-hour energy expenditure in conditions where energy intake is balanced with energy expenditure.

Resistance training is great for increasing strength and lean body mass, but if you are overweight and want to lose body fat, aerobic exercise is the way to go.

speed up your metabolismCardio for Fat Loss

What we’ve learned from this study is that to successfully keep our metabolisms revving for 14 hours after our cardio session, we must exercise vigorously for 45 minutes straight. Hanging out reading a book on the recumbent bike for 45 minutes barely breaking a sweat is not going to do the trick. A good rule of thumb is to remember that if you can carry on a conversation or read a novel while doing cardio, you’re not working hard enough. To get your metabolic fire flaming, get moving now.

At a loss? Here are a couple great cardio workouts you can do to burn calories and have some fun while you’re at it!

Program #1:

You will need an upright bicycle for this workout. Warm up spinning lightly for 2-5 minutes.

Level 3 – cycle at 115 RPMs for 2 minutes
Level 5 – cycle at 95 RPMs for 2 minutes
Level 9 – cycle at a minimum of 75 RPMs for 1 minute

Repeat this circuit 9 times for a total of 45 minutes.

Program #2:

You will need a bicycle, treadmill and elliptical for this workout. Warm up spinning lightly for 2-5 minutes.

Bicycle
Level 1 – cycle at 115 RPMs for 3 minutes
Level 3 – cycle at 105 RPMs for 3 minutes
Level 5 – cycle at 95 RPMs for 3 minutes
Level 7 – cycle at 85 RPMs for 2 minutes
Level 9 – cycle at 75 RPMs for 2 minutes
Level 3 – cycle at 115 RPMs for 2 minutes

Elliptical
Level 5 forward for 5 minutes
Level 5 backward for 5 minutes
Level 5 forward for 5 minutes

Treadmill
Incline 5 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes
Incline 9 – walk at 3 MPH for 5 minutes
Incline 12-15 – walk at 3 MPH for 5 minutes

Program #3:

You will need a treadmill for this workout. Warm up walking for 5 minutes.

Incline 1 – walk at 3MPH for 2 minutes
Incline 3 – walk at 3MPH for 2 minutes
Incline 5 – walk at 3.5MPH for 8 minutes
Jump off machine and do 2 minutes of alternating lunges
Incline 7 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes
Incline 9 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes
Incline 12 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes
Jump off machine and do 1 minute of pushups and 1 minute of squats
Incline 12 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 10 minutes
Jump off machine and do 1 minute of reverse lunges and 1 minute of jumping jacks
Incline 5 – walk at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes
Incline 3 – walk at 3 MPH for 3 minutes
Incline 1 – walk at 3MPH for 2 minutes

References:

1. Amy M. Knab, et al. A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 43, No. 9, pp. 1643-1648, 2011.
2. Journal of Undergraduate Kinesiology Research, 6: 22-32, 2011.

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