Thursday, September 3, 2009

Your Secret Weapon For Losing Weight

Many people are vaguely aware that their metabolism plays an important part in their weight loss strategies. But few people realize that you can literally manipulate your metabolism for better weight loss results. You can think of your metabolism as your body's engine, and your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body processes the fuel for that engine (in other words, burns calories).

It is a common, but misguided, practice to try to lose weight by eating fewer and fewer calories, to the point of hunger. Along with this restricted diet they add in a recreational type of activity, such as walking, or cycling, or something similar in the hope of losing excess body fat.

Unfortunately, the combination of a restrictive diet and an incomplete exercise program leads to a process that is the exact opposite to what a person is trying to achieve. It actually causes muscle tissue loss, and this sends the body into survival mode, lowering the metabolic rate, thus putting the brakes on fat loss. Most people become discouraged, and simply never understand that the important element that they are missing is a muscle-building exercise.

Any back slide in body composition (muscle/fat ratio) due to a lack of intense exercise is compounded by the natural aging processes of our bodies. At around 25 to 30 years of age the body naturally begins to shed muscle tissue unless you work to keep it. This means that even if you maintain a consistent body weight over a twenty year period, say from age 30 to age 50, you will have significantly less muscle mass.

As you lose muscle mass, you lose all of the calorie burning and metabolic benefits of that highly active tissue. This combination leads to a "slower metabolism." which has become a favorite excuse for many people's weight gain. "I am gaining weight, but it's not my fault my metabolism has slowed down."

This is exactly the opposite of the truth; people are not getting fatter because their metabolisms are slowing down. What is actually happening is that their metabolisms are slowing down because they are getting fatter. For every pound of muscle tissue lost, you lose a little piece of your metabolic power.

If what you want is to lose body fat, you simply need to take the right approach to the problem. In particular, what you need to embark upon is a proper exercise program that contains at least 60 percent strength training exercise. This will keep the metabolism at its highest level during the fat loss process.

The balance of the exercise program should be made up of interval training, which is comprised of short bursts of activity, alternated with rest periods. An example of this would be 8-10 seconds of sprinting then a minute or so of walking, repeated up to 12 times.

Next on the list is a properly balanced nutrition plan that supports the exercise program so enough energy is available to the body to work out at a proper level of intensity (degree of difficulty) to get results. This plan should include 5 or 6 small meals spread throughout the day, no more than 3 hours apart to keep the metabolism humming.

Each meal should contain a protein source. Choose that first and then add a variety of vegetables to the meal. For the best results you need to focus on what you should be eating rather than on what you shouldn't be eating.

Somehow you will need to get your head around the fact that this solution is an ongoing one. There is no endpoint that you are aiming for here. Your body composition will change (unfavorably) to a higher level of body fat to muscle ratio unless you work to keep yourself in good shape. But considering the benefits, this price is really a small one to pay in order that you can look so much better, feel so much better, and also be so much healthier. Seen this way, your decision to embark upon this lifestyle change should be an easy one.

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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