When most people decide to get in shape they usually do two things: cut their calories and start running. It seems like a sensible thing to do. However, you and your body have very different agendas. You want to look good for your sisterís wedding while your body wants to survive and maintain its weight. This poses a problem. Your mind is going one way and your body is going another, and in that war between your body and mind, the body always wins. ALWAYS. So doing it your way will never yield sustaining results. You have to work with the way your body is designed to burn fat.
So now what? How is the body designed to burn fat? Well, the details of that can get pretty technical, but the basic concept is all based on building your metabolism. So letís break it down. First of all, what is metabolism and how does it work? Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) it takes for your body to function on a daily basis. The more energy you expend the higher your metabolism. There are three ways to expend energy (burn calories).
First is movement. This seems to be everyoneís go-to when it comes to burning more calories. The reason is, the more you move, the more tired you are at the end of the day, and if youíre more tired then you must have used a lot of energy. Right? Although this is true, only 10-15% of your calories per day are burned though movement. This includes everything from aerobics to walking around the mall to moving your thumb to change the channel.
Next, 20-30% of your calories are burned through the simple act of digestion. Yes, eating. This is why cutting your calories doesnít always make sense. By cutting your calories you lose out on the thermogenic effect of digestion. This doesnít mean you can load up on all the food you want and still lose weight, but eating right is not about avoiding certain foods or cutting calories; itís about properly nourishing and fueling your body so it becomes a fat burning machine. You have to eat high quality foods that give your body life, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and lean meats. These foods promote cell rejuvenation, vitality and overall health. When your body has the proper fuel, it operates more quickly and efficiently and increases your metabolism. However, when you eat large meals, your body has a hard time dealing with so much food at once and may end up storing some of it as fat. Instead, eat smaller, more frequent meals, which will help regulate your energy levels and give your body time to digest and utilize nutrients throughout the day.
Finally, 60-70% of your calories are burned up simply through existing. Sounds really easy, right? All you have to do is live. Well, like I said there is a difference between you and your body. While itís easy for you to just exist, your body is working hard. It has to pump 80 gallons of blood over 1200 miles every day. Thatís a lot of work, and thatís just your heart! Also, your body is constantly building new cells and repairing old ones. You can maximize this aspect of your bodyís potential through resistance training. When you lift weights or exercise using your body weight, you break down your muscles, which then stimulates cell regeneration and growth. This requires a lot of energy from your body. The best part about this is that a 45-60 minute strength training session not only burns 500-1000 calories but also raises your metabolism for the subsequent 72 hours while your body recovers and rebuilds itself.
These are the three areas you need to focus on. First, move more. Whether it starts with walks around the block, biking or running on the treadmill. Like I said, movement alone has the least impact out of the three fat- burning categories, but you need every edge you can get. Plus, the mental boost youíll get from completing a workout is great motivation to stay on your program. Next, start eating smaller, healthier, more frequent meals. By eating this way, your body will feel that it has what it needs to maintain its existence and wonít hoard fatówhen you get into a pattern of eating frequently, your body begins to trust that fuel will always be readily available and, therefore, it doesnít need to store fat. In fact, your body may even begin to use up your fat stores! Finally, incorporate resistance training. Not only does your body burn a lot of calories by repairing the large muscle tissue youíll break down, but once it does your muscles will be stronger, bigger and more toned. Muscles are living tissues that require fuel to maintain. Building more muscle mass necessitates more energy to maintain it and, consequently, increases your metabolism. This is what you need to do in order to lose fat permanently. With a solid program structured around building your metabolism you can make permanent changes in your body. So, you no longer have an excuse for being out of shape. I have given you the information, now you just need to put it to good use. So, six months from now, if youíre still not in better shape, this time it will be your fault.
The above information is taken from Kevin Chmura, President of FlexCo.
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