How to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight for Good
How many times have you been on a diet? You manage to lose a few kilograms for a while, then unfortunately manage to "find" those kilograms once more?
I'll bet you've also heard a friend or someone say that "Cardio is the best for losing weight". So off you go pounding the treadmill for weeks, but results are agonizingly slow. Sure, you may lose a few kilos, but sure enough soon you give up and before you know it you've gained back all the weight you'd lost, and maybe even gained some extra kilos!
Ah, so then you thought you had finally found the answer to permanent weight loss! You went on a really strict diet and ran your heart out. You dropped the kilos real quickly. But somehow, something is wrong when you look into the mirror in your birthday suit. Yes you have lost some weight, but somehow your body shape isn't as flattering as you would like it to be. And then suddenly, you hit a plateau.
No matter how strict your diet and cardio workouts are, your weight just simply refuses to drop any further. Then horrors of horrors, you actually start to gain some weight! You get disillusioned with the unrewarding program and soon you start to succumb to 'guilt food' more often, and the weight comes right back on once again. The program fails and you blame it on your bad genes. Why???
Here's why. By merely losing weight, you will also lose some muscle mass in the process. By losing muscle, you will lose body tone and your metabolism rate for burning calories will slow down. Therefore, you have to build muscle while burning fat.
To lose fat and keep it off permanently, you have to combine healthy eating habits, incorporate cardio exercises and lift weights to build muscle. For every kg of muscle you have in your body, you will burn an extra 70-100 calories per day even without doing anything! Can you imagine the benefits of building up an extra 5kg of muscle? You'll burn 350 to 500 extra calories a day even if you just laze around! You'll be burning a Big Mac everyday! To further illustrate my point, 1 kg = about 7,700 calories, so if you burn 500 calories a day because of the extra muscle you have, you will be burning off about 1 kg every 2 weeks simply because of your higher metabolism rate!
You'll also look good, healthy and well-toned too! Is it any wonder why bodybuilders eat so much but do not put on fat as easily?
Everyone knows that intensive cardio and strict diets cause you to lose muscle mass along with fat. While you will lose some weight at the beginning, you will look like, well, just a smaller version of you without any muscle tone. That's not what we want is it?
So, as you lose more and more muscle, your metabolism begins to slow down. On top of that, your body will start conserving fat and 'eat' your muscle for energy because it is reacting to your strict diet. What happens then is that you will hit a plateau and no matter what you do, you will not shed anymore weight and your fat will start creeping up again. This, in a nutshell, is the 'yo-yo' dieting effect that we hear so much about.
Losing fat is simple. And notice that I said 'simple' but did not say that it is 'easy'. My pointers will be simple to understand, but the execution will take determination and discipline on your part. It is a lifestyle change to keep the fat off permanently and you will be glad you did because you will get used to the changes in only a few weeks. By then, it will become a cultivated habit for you, especially when you are rewarded with a fitter, healthier, slimmer and more toned you, together with a glowing complexion to boot!
Here is how you do it. Simply, losing fat just means you must burn more calories than you consume. Period.
Plus you must lift weights with compound exercises - Forget those puny biceps curls and tricep push downs. Go for big muscle groups like legs, back and chest routines. Why? Because you are working with bigger parts with more mass, and that means more body parts are working, translating into more calories being expended.
Here's an example. Do only one set of each exercise with no rest in between the exercises. Choose a weight of about 60%-70% of what you normally lift and go for at least 25 reps. Do more if you can or until your muscles are fatigued, then stop. Leave the gym. The whole routine should not take you more than 40 minutes.
After thoroughly warming up, start with squats, then dips, bench press, barbell row and military press. Sounds simple? Not so. You will be huffing, puffing and sweating profusely. What is achieved? You will have combined a cardio workout with a lifting workout and your metabolism will burn for the next several hours. Do this 3 times a week with at least a day's rest in between lifting days.
After 4-8 weeks, change the sequence of the exercises. So if you usually squat first, then squat last. Then after another 4-8 weeks, change some of the exercises, like substituting squats with deadlift, or barbell rows with lat pull down. This is to shock your muscles so that they continue to adapt and grow.
For cardio, go for a run first thing in the morning before breakfast. If you are jogging at normal speed, sustain the jog for at least 45 minutes. If you are running at 65% to 80% of your maximum heart rate (you will be panting and unable to sing or complete a sentence while running), then 20-30 minutes will be enough. Anything more than that may cause muscle break down. You may intersperse the speed with slower jogs in between to catch your breath. Do these 5-6 times a week.
Eating habits? Just eat less of what you normally eat. For example if you have 2 slices of bread with 2 eggs in the morning, now take just one slice and an egg. Just eat half of what you eat but eat more regularly. Have 5 to 6 meals a day if you can. This is to feed your body frequently so that it will not go into starvation mode and start to conserve fats. At the same time, it will boost metabolism because your body burns calories while digesting the food. Chuck away all soft drinks, sugary drinks and stop adding sugar into your coffee and tea. Just by abstaining from sugary drinks, you may already have gotten rid yourself of 200 calories per day. Drink plenty of water instead and double the amount if you can.
Oh, by the way, all work and no play makes Jack a dull (and very tired) boy. Do choose a day to relax a week. No exercise on that day. Indulge in your favorite food if you must. Hey, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself for passing another grueling week. After all, your body needs to recover too.
As you reach your fat loss goals and you are happy with your muscular development, you can then take things a little easier. Hit the gym less frequently, have shorter runs and even relax a little in your diet. Because of your greater musculature, your body is now a fat-burning machine. You have earned that luxury.
Simple? Sure. But do you have the determination enough to lose those fats and keep them off permanently? That's the hard part!
Here at Inspiring Strength in Women we take you through a cardio and strength program specifically designed to build your muscle and boost your metabolism, so not only do you feel energetic, fit and healthy, but you are strong and toned too! Our Coaching keeps you accountable so you finally get those long term results you have been looking for.
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