Exercise and Metabolism- Burning Fat

Your body is a machine. Everything it does requires the cooperation of several different systems. In order to be as healthy as possible, all of your systems must be working together as efficiently as possible. You are the CEO of your body. You run your body’s business. Of course there are several middle and lower level managers that take care of all the details, without much effort from you, but you need to make the big decisions. You must manage what you eat, when you eat it, and how you’re going to use the energy the food provides.

It is difficult to cover exercise separate from eating because of their close relationship. Metabolism is what connects those two subjects so closely. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns fresh fuel and stored fat. Several food and exercise factors affect that rate. By eating the right fuels at the right times, as explained in the last section, you can really utilize the periods when your metabolism is working its hardest. When you sleep, your metabolism rests. That is why it is not good to eat late at night.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you exercise, your metabolism speeds up to burn the fuel that keeps your motor running. It’s like putting the pedal to the metal in your car. The throttle opens up and your body starts burning more calories (like a car eats up more gas). The difference between a car and your body, however, is that your body doesn’t have any brakes. Once your metabolism speeds up, it takes awhile to slow down. This is why getting your heart pumping rapidly for only 15 minutes, 4-5 times per week, can really speed up your weight loss.

It still remains a fact that when you’re working out and your heart rate is its highest, your metabolism is working its hardest to keep up with your body’s needs. This is where good timing becomes involved again. A trick for burning more fat during your workouts is to not consume carbs or fats for a couple hours before you workout. By doing this, you force your body to go to its reserves and begin to burn your stored fat to use as fuel. Immediately after you finish your workout, it is essential that you put carbs back in your body as soon as possible. Most, if not all, of these carbs will be used as fuel to rebuild your muscles and get your body back to 100%. This technique is very effective because any carbs you have leftover after rebuilding are still easily burned fuel that your body has a chance to use before it turns to fat. It’s like delaying your pay check, then going on a shopping spree. Your body must tap into its fat savings because it has no cash. Once you’re finished working out and pay your body, it is still burning fuel at a high rate and it will burn right through the new carbs.

Your body is like an automobile. When your body is at idle, your metabolism is also at idle. Your body is on at all times but only uses the energy needed to keep itself running. Although it is working all day, in order to burn the most calories, you need to give it a push. When you eat or engage in light activity, your metabolism revs up and uses a little more gas than usual. To put it into gear and really get it rolling, you have to give it a hard push.

This push comes from a good cardio workout. By getting yourheart rate up, and sustaining that rate for as long as possible, you give your metabolism a hard push. By giving it this hard push, it will continue to roll, until eventually it slows back down to an idle. The concept here is simple. The harder you push, and the more you push, the faster and farther your metabolism will travel. The farther it travels, the more fuel it will burn.

Now the great thing about pushing your metabolism is that you have a lot more strength than you think. By doing a 12-15 minute cardio workout, you can keep your metabolism rolling along for a day or two. The other great thing about it is that you can always catch right back up to your metabolism and give it another push, even when it’s already rolling. The more often you do your cardio workout, the faster it will roll; and the longer you keep it up, the farther it will continue to roll each time you push it.

Before I started to become healthy, I could not run 1/16 of a mile without choking and coughing up all kinds of nasty phlegm. I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. I don’t smoke or anything, my heart and lungs just couldn’t handle moving 310 pounds around too quickly. One thing that I never did in any of my previous attempts to lose weight, was maintain a regular sustained cardio workout. I knew that this time, I had to do it. Once I got started, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

I didn’t set up specified days or times, but I did not want to workout on the weekends. I just began one day by walking down to the park after the sun went down. Once I got to the park, I just looked up and took off running. I used the time to think and work things out in my head. The next thing I knew, I had run a lap, and I was choking and coughing, and couldn’t run anymore. I told myself that I had already made it this far, and it wouldn’t kill me to just go a little bit farther, so I did. I ended up stopping part way into the second lap and started walking. Well I shouldn’t say walking, because I could barely stand up, but I kept moving forward.

By the time I got to the start of the third lap, I thought to myself: “I know I can run one lap without stopping, and if I ran this one, it wouldn’t really be running two laps in a row because I have rested since the last one.” So I went for it! Again, I blocked everything out until my body forced me to consciously feel the burn. I told myself I could keep going just a little bit farther, and I did. I then walked another lap and went home.

I didn’t want to lose my progress, so I kept this up, 5 days a week, for the next couple of weeks. Every day I increased the amount I ran. Finally, one day, I ran two whole laps and I knew I had it in me to somehow run just one more! By the time I finished the third lap, I got a second wind. I was still struggling, but it seemed easier than the laps before. I was motivated because I knew I was so close to finally being able to run a whole mile. I did it!

I used everything I had left in me to put my hands up in the air and jump up and down. I was so excited. I felt like turning around and running some more! I went home and felt like this all the way through the next day. I wanted to go out and see if I could do it again. I did, and this time it was a little easier. With each run, I noticed improvements. I knew I had to keep going!

Eventually, my body started wanting its regular cardio workouts. I kept this one mile run up for 4-5 days a week until finally one day, I decided to keep going. Gradually, I had been sub-consciously increasing my speed, but I had to decide for myself to increase the distance. I left the park running and added another leg to my usual run. I set myself a goal to run all the way home, and I did. Each day, my run got easier and easier, and never took up more than 15 minutes of my time.

As I saw results, I continued a regular routine of running 4-5 days per week. Each time, I kept my heart rate up for about the same amount of time, but the distances kept getting longer. Within a very short period of time, I was a running machine. I would now even consider running one of my past times.

Not only does a good cardio workout boost your metabolism, it gives you a full load of energy throughout each day. When your metabolism is working at top speed, it seems to give your body more horsepower, and you don’t have to work as hard to complete everyday tasks. You become more active and find yourself looking for active things to do. A high-quality, regular cardio workout can even be the cure for laziness. The best part about it is, if you give your metabolism the push it needs, it will work for you, giving you the energy to do everything else in your life more easily.

Running was my cardio exercise of choice, but there are several other options. There is biking, step aerobics, and swimming, to name a few. The one goal of your cardio workout is to sustain a high heart rate for a period of at least 15 minutes. I know that 15 minutes is probably more than most people can do now, but before long 15 minutes will become your minimum.

A lot of people think that walking is going to help them lose weight. The truth is that walking a mile and running a mile will take about the same amount of energy. It will probably even burn just as many calories. The problem with walking is it doesn’t get your heart rate up enough, therefore it doesn’t give your metabolism a strong enough push.

If you want to take an hour or two and walk 5 or 10 miles, because that is something you enjoy, that would definitely be a pretty healthy thing to do. But, if your goal is to exercise the most efficient way, you need to get your heart rate up. A good comparison here, once again, is an automobile. If you were to sustain a speed of 80 mph for a short distance, then put your car in neutral and let it coast, your car would continue to roll at a high rate of speed, gradually slowing down, and travel for quite a distance before stopping. If you were to sustain a speed of 10 mph for that same distance, it would take a much longer time to travel, and once you let off the gas, your car would come to a stop pretty quickly. The same concepts apply to your cardio workout.

Besides the benefits to your metabolism, a good cardio workout is also essential to other parts of your health. This book is geared toward burning fat, but there are plenty of good side affects to a high-quality, regular cardio workout. One that you probably already know of is the effects on your heart. Your heart is a muscle. The way to exercise your heart muscle is to use it. When you get your heart rate up, your heart is pumping blood harder than usual, becoming stronger and healthier.

Throughout the process of becoming healthy, I focused mainly on cardio. It was quick and easy to do, and gave me the most bang for my buck. While weight training has many health benefits, I was looking to burn fat, and I focused on the best way to do it. I also didn’t want to be discouraged by looking bigger due to my muscles growing underneath my fat.

When I finally got down to a weight I was comfortable with, I began a weight training program. A weight training workout can be very effective at burning calories, but muscles themselves do not burn fat on their own. When you hear about building muscles to burn more fat, the concepts that apply are quite simple. When you are lifting weights, you exert quite a bit of energy, requiring your body to burn fuel to keep you going. The stronger your muscles, the heavier weights you can lift, and the more energy (fuel) your body will have to burn to move that weight.

The other concept that applies here is muscle rebuilding. When you use your muscles, they are broken down and then rebuilt stronger. This is why you need a few days rest in between exercising specific body parts. During this rebuilding process, you’re body is burning carbs as fuel, and protein as materials, to rebuild your muscles. You burn the most calories from this process right after a workout, but the complete cycle takes a few days.

Weight training workouts take a lot longer than a cardio workout, but once you get to a certain point in your weight loss, you begin looking for something active to do because your body craves activity. When I started my weight training program, I first bought an old ab workout DVD and used it daily. It only took 8 minutes each day and really began to tighten up my mid section. The next thing I did was add a free-weight workout. This actually takes me about 45 minutes 2-3 times a week, but it’s really shaping my body the way I want it. One of the not-so-obvious visual benefits of a weight workout, is that it tends to fill your body out in the right places, lifting more fatty areas, and making you look leaner.

Using these strategies, combined with the healthy eating habits, I have lost every pound I set out to lose, and then some. Once I figured out the tools to use, I put them in action and couldn’t believe how easy it was. I now have the energy to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym to get my workout out of the way before work. I haven’t lost any time by working out because I have so much energy now that my body requires less rest throughout the day. I feel great, and so can you!

MM is the author of the blog howilost80lbs.com HowILost80Lbs.com. The blog is a personal account of how he lost 80 pounds and how he keeps it off today. On his blog, he offers a ton of valuable information for people trying to lose weight. If you’re looking for tips on eating healthy, exercise, burning fat, and other weight loss factors, you should check it out!

howilost80lbs.com HowILost80Lbs.com

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