Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Hint #4: Boost your metabolism

Stoke Your Metabolism
May 19, 2008

5 rules to get your metabolism heated up and help you burn more fat

Metabolisms are so much like furnaces. We want our bodies to use energy efficiently and to maintain our muscle while keeping our fat in a healthy range. The furnaces of today pull energy when they need it, to keep it running at the temperature you have set. Back in the old days of wood-burning stoves, people had to actually manually chop the wood and then feed it into the fire to create the heat. We don't have an automatic tap that sucks energy in to keep our metabolisms blazing, so what can we do to rev up the metabolism to keep it burning strong? We can utilize a number of simple strategies to rev up the engine on our own furnace and kick our metabolisms into the high efficiency zone.

#1 - Don't even think about waiting to have breakfast! When you wake up in the morning from that wonderful beauty sleep, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the entire day. Your body is running on fumes! When I test client's metabolic rates here at AP, I do it fasted and in the morning before they eat or drink anything because that will be their lowest metabolic rate of the day. The second you eat something, your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. That shower with the Irish Spring may wake your mind and your senses up, but that breakfast wakes up your metabolism.

#2 - Do not skip meals! You should be eating every 3 hours. When the body has to digest food, it has to work to get it broken down into a usable form. The fancy term for this is "the thermic effect." What does this mean to you? It means that every time you eat, your body has to rev up the furnace to break that food down. Now, I am not recommending that you eat huge meals every three hours or swing by to get a quarter-pounder a few times a day. I am recommending that you eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats every three hours, in portions that are correct for your size and activity level. When it comes to the number of meals, less is not more. In fact, more meals, means more metabolic revving, so eat wisely, but eat up.

#3 - Include a lean protein source with every meal. Mirror, mirror on the wall, what has the highest thermic effect of them all? Protein! When you eat protein, it is like throwing lighter fluid onto the fire in that wood burning stove; therefore, include a lean protein source with every meal to get a little extra burst of metabolic power. When choosing your protein, remember our saying: "The less legs the better." Fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken have two legs - take off the skin and don't fry it and you have a fabulous source of protein. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the only way to go.

#4 - Exercise is a must! When we exercise, we have this great post-exercise period called "EPOC." Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption = more calories burned. The magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training. Weight training and circuit training where you have 40-70 seconds under tension per set will rev up the metabolism (So, count to 4 on each rep in the set). Interval training can also bump up the metabolic marvel! Bottom line: all training will create EPOC, but these exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Try to do them four days per week and save the long easy sessions for your recovery days.

#5 - Drink your green tea! Remember when Alice drank the tea on her way to Wonderland? Well, that tea made her shrink, just like green tea can help to shrink the body fat on your body! Green tea has a natural component that helps to speed up the metabolism. Now, I am not talking about Lipton sweetened green, I am talking about brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins that stimulate the body to burn calories (rev up the metabolic furnace). Researchers have proven this and studies showing that four cups of green tea per day can help reduce body fat have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Added bonus? Catechins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, and may help control cholesterol levels.

So. No earth-shattering breakthroughs here. Just some simple strategies to get your metabolic fire blazing. However, I think that simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. If you can find a few simple things that you can consistently do savagely well, you will be well on your way to a healthy lean lifestyle and not back and forth to the bookstores for the newest diet fad. Stick to these strategies and send your metabolism blazing strong.

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