by Paul Dexter, copyright dextertraining.com
Metabolism is what controls the amount of calories your body will burn. Being aware of your metabolism can allow you to have a better handle on your weight. As we get older our metabolism will become slower (beginning to decrease after age 25). Causing us to gain weight and become less healthy. The trick is learning how to prevent this, or to increase it as we get older.
In the pursuit of a healthy body, getting the most out of your metabolism should be a priority. The problem is that most people are unaware of the key factors involved in increasing your metabolism; Weight Training, Diet, and Cardiovascular exercise.
1) Weight Training
As you might have read in my previous articles, weight training is the only way to directly increase your metabolism. By adding additional lean mass, via weight training, your metabolism can increase anywhere between 250 – 1000 calories per day. The type of weight training is just as important. You should be on a program specifically designed for your body type, and also increases strength.
This is where most people go wrong. The human body is very tricky. If everything is not in perfect order your body will work against you. Your body is very hormonal and dietary changes can effect that environment. Different hormones can cause your body to burn fat or hoard it, build muscle or burn it. We should all be aware of these to maximize our results. The two most important factors involved with diet are:
The way to combat this is to eat more frequently, while keeping the overall calories lower than your body needs. This will trick your body into thinking it is getting too much food, causing your metabolism to increase to accommodate the “extra” calories. The most ideal plan is 5-6 small meals per day, spread out every 2-3 hours.
3) Cardiovascular exercise
Cardiovascular exercise should be used as an “exercise supplement”. While weight training can increase your metabolism, cardiovascular exercise can not. Weight training burns calories and increases lean mass, cardiovascular exercise just burns calories. As I said before, the human body is very tricky – you don’t eat, it won’t burn calories. The same goes for cardiovascular exercise. If you do too much, your body will become dependant on it. If you burn too many calories while doing cardio, your metabolism will slow down. It will begin to rely on the cardio as the main source of calorie burning. We all have seen the cardio-fanatics, where all they do is run, and run, and run, and run. Have their bodies changed? Most likely not, some do, but most don’t. There is a reason, as I explained your body is hormonal and will adapt to the changes we try to make. So if you want to maximize the effects of cardiovascular exercise on your diet program, use it sparingly and not as a primary means to an end.
In conclusion, I know that some people are hard to convince. For those of you who are, I would like to ask you a hypothetical question. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn off 3,500 calories (this is fact). Now, if your body doesn’t adapt to starvation diets, or cardiovascular exercise, and hormones don’t contribute to weight loss/gain – you could lose all the fat you want just by burning the calories away. Right?
We all know that doesn’t happen. If it did we could not eat (burn 2,000 calories), run or walk for 2-3 hours (burn 1,000 calories), and lose almost a pound in one day. Do that seven days per week and lose seven pounds per week! Wow, that would be great!
The human body is very stubborn, and is designed to store fat. It will fight you every step of the way if you try to make it do otherwise, unless………. you make yourself aware of how the body works and make it work for you!