Friday, March 07, 2008

5 Tricks to Boost your Metabolism

by Carlo X. Alvarez

During the last few months, I have been researching data and testing different forms of training to find the ultimate weight loss formula. What I learned may surprise you. The bad news is there are no magic pills. The good news is long aerobic sessions are unnecessary and workouts don't need to last hours. To lose weight, resistance training is mandatory and boosting your metabolism is the ultimate goal.

What is your metabolism and how does it affect you? Well, metabolism is just a fancy word to describe the rate at which the body carries out chemical processes, which in turn burns calories. Here are 5 tricks that can help you boost your metabolism, lose some excess body weight, and improve your current training program.

1. Build Lean Muscle Mass with Resistance Training

Scientific research has shown that a commitment to a resistance training program yields significant results to boosting the metabolism.1 After any resistance training session, the metabolism operates at a significantly higher rate than cardiovascular training alone. While cardiovascular training should be a part of almost any exercise program, more emphasis needs to be placed on building lean muscle mass. In the battle of resistance training versus cardiovascular training, in terms of raising the metabolic rate, resistance training wins.

2. It's All About Intensity

It goes without saying that pushing it to the limit every time will yield better and faster results. Some ways to increase intensity in a resistance training workout are to increase reps, sets, tempo (rate at which reps are performed), and range of motion. Another way to increase intensity is to decrease rest time between sets.

3. Finish Your Workout with Interval Training

Interval training after a resistance training workout is a sure way to attack fat stores in the body. Since glucose stores are completely depleted after resistance training, fat is available to be burned. You can perform interval training on a treadmill, elliptical machine, exercise bike, or simply by running. It involves repetitions of high speed or high intensity work followed by periods of rest or low activity. An example would be performing 15- to 30-second sprints with 45 to 60 seconds rest. The key to interval training is achieving an elevated heart rate of 75-85% of your maximum heart rate.

4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Water acts as a catalyst in many chemical reactions in the body. If hydration levels are optimal, the rate at which these processes are carried out (metabolism) will be more efficient -- meaning more calories will be burned! Divide your weight by 2.2. That's how many ounces of water you should drink per day.

5. Eat Often and in Small Portions

When the body is deprived of food, it goes into a state of starvation -- a survival mechanism that will ultimately slow the metabolism and conserve fat. Keep your metabolism boosted all day by eating a healthy protein and carbohydrate every two hours. Your "mini-meal" should be about the size and thickness of one hand. .


Schuenke MD, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7.

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