Friday, September 11, 2009

Fire Up Your Body's Engine To Burn Fat

If you were to ask ten people what type of exercise they should be doing to burn fat, lose weight, and fire up their metabolism (the body's engine), they would all likely tell you that you need to do 30-40 minutes of moderately-paced aerobic activity on some sort of cardio exercise equipment such as a treadmill, stair climber, or a stationary cycle.

They would probably also tell you that more is better and while 3 times a week is good, 4 or more times each week would be even better. People will tell you this because it has been the mainstream recommendation for fat burning for decades. In fact, these ideas from the so called exercise 'experts' date back to the 1980s. You will also be told that it is productive to reach a certain target heart rate and stay at that heart rate for at least 30 minutes.

Well, things have changed somewhat since the 1980s. More recent research has actually proven that this type of activity is NOT the best way to burn fat, lose weight, or increase your metabolism. Sure, you will burn a few extra calories while you are running to nowhere on a treadmill, but you will not make a complete physique transformation using this type of exercise alone. No amount of cardio activity will ever build you a strong, lean, firm, and shapely body. Only strength training exercise can do this for you.

Modern research has confirmed that, in fact, the activity once considered the be-all and end-all for fat loss can actually be counterproductive to burning fat. Here are some of the reasons why this is the case.

Long duration, low intensity aerobic activity calls upon your stored body fat for energy during the sessions. While this may sound good, it can actually cause your body to create more body fat in reserve after the workout is over so that you will be ready for your next session. Yikes! You are actually training your body to store fat in readiness.

What is worse, this type of activity, when done frequently, trains your cardiovascular  system to be efficient, and thereby it shrinks. This reduces the capacity of your heart and lungs for work as they are getting more efficient at doing easy work (your long duration, low intensity aerobic sessions). This in turn reduces their ability to handle stress.

They are simply not prepared for anything more than an easy workload. And anything that is easy will not yield results even close to what is challenging for the body to accomplish. This can lead to a host of other problems including heart problems. Instead, you should be challenging your heart lung system to increase its capacity, so that it is stronger and able to deal with stress more easily.  How is this done?

The fastest and most efficient way to rev up your metabolism, burn fat faster, and develop lifelong health and fitness is to add lean muscle to your body through strength training - period.

If you want life-changing health and fat loss results in the quickest possible time, then get stronger and build some muscle. When you add lean muscle to your body you will be literally turning your body into a fat burning machine.

When you stimulate your body with proper strength training, the repair and growth process will call upon your stored body fat for energy.  This calorie deficit combined with the repair and growth process will allow you to burn fat all day long, every day long after the exercise session is over. 

And the best part is that it is easy to make this type of exercise part of your life because of its efficiency. You only need 2-3 sessions each week or around 30-40 minutes. Muscle tissue is the stuff that fat burning furnaces are made of.

If you need a comprehensive overview of the metabolic regulation fat loss strategies discussed in this article, be sure to check out Carolyn Hansen's book Hot Metabolism, where she shows you how to take control of your body's fat burning mechanism for optimum results.

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