Sunday, July 24, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Crank Up That Metabolism!

Ok so I go through this myself but I think we all find ourselves going through days dragging, tired, and just want to stay in our beds and have a "me" day. And sometimes this is okay to do to give our bodies the rest they need. However, doing too much of this could cause you to lose that momentum that you strive so hard to maintain! Well, don't curse that sluggish system- boost your calorie-burning potential with these tips!

Have you ever watched someone down an entire bowl of ice cream or a big plate of nachos but they have that body that makes you wonder, "Where the heck does she put it?!" Most likely, she doesn't put it anywhere. She probably has a Ferrari fast metabolism that incinerates fat before it takes up a residence on her hips.

Jealous of those girls? Don't be. Genetics can play a part of you metabolic efficiency, but you can give Mother Nature a swift kick in the you-know-what by simply tweaking your fitness regime. Your body will adapt to exercise over time and this can cause your metabolism to fall into a lull. Adding a variety of workouts, resistance, and weight can help break through plateaus so results will continue to knock on your door!

Yes, intensity matters! Harder exercising promotes growth of lean muscle, which burns more calories during and after your workout. These three strength training techniques will help inject a powerful shot of variety and intensity into your normal routine. Replace one of your workouts each week with one of these training methods and watch those five extra pounds melt away!

Contrast Training

This involves doing a resistance exercise with weights, then immediately following it with an explosive body-weight exercise that works the same muscle group. The movement pattern of the second exercise should mimic the first one. Example? Chest presses should be followed by explosive push ups, or dumbbell squats followed by squat jumps.

Trimming Trick: Busting out an explosive move after a strength exercise trains your body to recruit more muscle fibers to join in on the action. Research found this technique to help increase lean muscle mass while decreasing body-fat percentage.
Try It: Hold a 10-20lb. dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and lower into a squat (as if you're sitting in a chair) for 5-10 reps. Then ditch the dumbbells and do 5-10 jump squats: Lower into a squat, then push through your heels to jump off the ground; land softly! Rest for one to three minutes, then repeat the sequence, working your way up to 5 or 6 sets!

Pyramid Method

Do three or more sets of the same exercise, starting with light resistance and high reps, then increasing weight and decreasing the reps with each set. A full workout of pyramid sets can be tough so start by working one upper-bod and one lower-body exercise into the end of your routine. This way, you won't exhaust key muscle groups you need to complete your usual routine.

Trimming Trick: Unlike other intense workouts, this technique emphasizes muscular endurance (rate at which your body can continually produce force) which can increase your fat-burning rate.
Try It: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side and step forward with your right foot and lower your body into a lunge, making sure your knee creates a 90 degree angle. Return to standing and continue for a total of 15 reps. Repeat with the left leg, then rest for 20 seconds before doing a second set; 10-12 reps, using a slightly heavier weight. Rest, then increase your weight again and do 6-8 reps.

Tabata Method

This technique is probably my favorite. "Fast and Furious" intervals- 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest- and repeated eight times (about 4 minutes). Research found exercising as hard as you can for short periods of time is as effective at improving muscle strength and boosting metabolism as sweating it out longer at a lower intensity.

Trimming Trick: All-out effort keeps the heart rate pumping for the entire workout (even during the rest period) and for hours after you kick off those sneakers. End result? Extra calories burned.
Try It: Start with lunges with a bicep curl. Do as many reps as you can with proper form in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds then continue for a total of eight intervals. Rest for two minutes, then move onto squats with overhead presses and do eight intervals. Take another two-minute breather, then do eight intervals of push ups.

Want to know more ways to trim excess fat?
  • Eat (a Good) Breakfast:  Your body will go into starvation mode if you don't, and your metabolism slows to a dragging crawl to conserve energy. Try to eat a mix of lean protein and complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This will keep you full longer! 
Toad in the Hole with Turkey Sausage (320 calories, 26g protein, 2g fiber)

1 slice whole wheat bread
1 egg
3 turkey sausage links, ready-made
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika, optional

Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the center of the bread. Spray nonstick cooking spray on the wheat toast and place on a skillet. Crack egg and drop it into the hole in the bread. Cook for 1 minute and flip the wheat-egg toast and cook for another minute. For a runny yolk, don't flip. Sprinkle wheat-egg toast with paprika if desired. Microwave ready-made turkey sausage links according to directions on package.

  • Guzzle Your Water: Research found that people who drank 8-12 eight-ounce glasses of eater a day had higher metabolic rates than those who drank only four glasses. (Want a summertime drink treat? I like to add fresh berries, mint, and a touch of Splenda to my water. Or just throw some cucumber slices in my Frita filter pitcher! Very refreshing!)
  • Hit the Sack---Early: When you sleep fewer hours than you should, you throw off amounts of leptin and ghrelin-hormones that regulate energy use and appetite- that your own body produces. Studies found that people who snoozed fewer than 7 1/2 hours a night experienced an increase in their BMI.    

How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Have you ever tried some of these metabolism increasing techniques??

So get to bed and drink up and your body will be energized to take on the day with style...and on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

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