Stoke Your Furnace
Rev Up Your Metabolism
By Tom Bonanti
Ever wonder why some people can eat anything and never get fat? You on the other hand gobble a few extra carbs and the next day you are big as a whale. It all has to do with your metabolism.
Metabolism refers to the number of calories you burn in everyday functions: eating, working out, having sex, etc. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is an estimate of the number of calories you burn over a 24 hour period of time if you were laying down and resting but not sleeping. Your actual metabolic rate is your BMR plus the calorie cost of all the activities you engage in throughout the day.
Guys who are fit and active have a higher BMR than those who are sedentary. The former carry more lean muscle, which burns more calories all the time. Doing regular cardio also improves your cardio-vascular system and builds the endurance you need to stay active. With these facts in mind, itís clear that all of us can rev up that metabolism and fire up the BMR. Hereís how:
Resistance Training: When you exercise, your muscles use up a lot of energy, even after your training session. On the other hand, body fat is sluggish, inactive and programmed to use a minimal amount of calories; its role is to insulate you and to act as a stock room for your future energy supply. Thus, the more fat you carry, the lower your BMR. Conversely, the more muscle you have the higher your BMR.
Although you cannot change your
genetic makeup, you do have the ability to build muscle, which
gives you at least some control over your metabolism. Studies
show that weight trained individuals have BMRs that are 10% to
25% higher compared to sedentary people. In fact, one estimate
is that for every pound of muscle you add, you burn anywhere
from 50-90 more calories at rest per day. So by adding
Aerobic Exercise: Aerobic exercise does not, per se, build lean muscle and therefore it wonít affect your BMR like weight training. That said, remember that cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling and stair stepping burns many more calories during the session when compared with pumping iron. A typical 30 minute aerobic exercise session may burn 300-500 calories, while you may burn half that amount for the same period in a traditional weight lifting work out.
Ideally, to maximize the greatest increases in metabolism and calorie expenditure, you need to include both cardio and weight training in your training regimen. Weight training builds quality muscle, and aerobic activity improves the heart and lungs.
Your Eating Habits: You can actually raise your BMR and improve the look of your physique by the foods you eat. Research has found that a protein rich meal is greater than a high carb meal, elevating BMR higher and longer after the meal. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, but eating too many can make you fat in one hell of a hurry. High fat meals and snacks on the other hand can actually lower your BMR and leave you sluggish and even more hungry in the long run.Yes, you can actually stoke that inner fire: Eat more protein, more frequently throughout the day. Do your cardio regularly, at least three times a week for thirty to forty strong solid minutes. Get to the gym and hit the weights a few times a week and youíll be smoking hot by summertime.
TOM BONANTI IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND
OWNER OF PUMPíN INC GYM AT 1271 NE 9TH AVENUE
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 33304, www.pumpnincgym.com.