November 30, 2009
If you’re a fat-hater like me, you’ll want to boost your metabolism as much as humanly possible to maximize fat loss. Or, just learn to love body fat because you’ll be seeing a lot of it if you’re rockin’ a slow metabolism.
Simply put, your metabolism refers to the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis to maintain life. Whether you’re sleeping, sitting on the couch watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta (don’t judge me), surfing the web or staring at a wall, your body is burning calories to keep you going.
Of course, not everyone burns calories at the same rate.
Your metabolism is affected by aging (duh), gender (men have the upper hand) and body composition (more muscle burns more calories). There can also be some hereditary factors that make a difference, such as thyroid problems, which can usually be corrected fairly easily with proper medication. Sorry, but I’m not going to let you play the “bad genes card” this time.
Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a way to stop the aging process and females can’t just snap their fingers and adopt a male’s higher metabolic rate…so let’s focus on what we CAN control, which is lean muscle mass.
Here’s a super-duper important stat: each pound of lean muscle you put on requires about 50 calories per day just to maintain. This doesn’t even account for the calories burned during the workouts that stimulated this new muscle growth…we’re talking just for this one pound of lean muscle to sit there and do nothing, your body will burn 50 calories per day.
At this rate, just one extra pound of muscle will burn 18,250 calories in a year. This would be equal to 5.2 pounds of fat. If we add five pounds of muscle to your frame, this will assist in burning off about 26 pounds of fat over the next year. That’s huge.
Q: Is strength training important for fat loss?
A: Does Victoria have a secret? I love shopping fo my wife there.
Clearly, the best way to boost your metabolism so that it attacks body fat 24/7, is to add lean muscle to your frame. This won’t be accomplished with hours of jogging on the treadmill. You need to perform intense strength training a minimum of 3 times per week, focusing on total body workouts, compound movements, using HEAVY weights (or difficult body weight exercises that really challenge your muscles) and high volume.
Here’s the dilemma, or “catch-22″ if you will: theoretically, to gain muscle mass, we would need to take in more calories than we burn off daily. This is kind of counterproductive, as I stated many times before, fat loss is simply a matter of creating a calorie deficit (burn off more calories than you eat each day).
So which is it, Sam…if our ultimate goal is to Burn Fat Faster, should we be focusing on building lean muscle by creating a slight caloric surplus, losing fat by creating a large calorie deficit…or should we try to do both at the same time?
I always recommend torching the body fat first, until we achieve the desired level of leanness. From there, we can easily add extra lean muscle back to your body. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t TRY to defy logic and do both (add lean muscle AND lose fat) at the same time…which is exactly what I do with much success.
Here’s the steps you’ll want to take to add (or at least maintain) lean muscle, so that we can boost metabolism and maximize fat loss:
-> use strength training sessions as the cornerstone of your fat loss workout plan
-> go as heavy as possible during these strength training sessions to promote a ton of muscle damage (remember, muscle fibers need to be damaged to build back stronger)
-> strategically use a super high calorie cheat day on one of those strength training days and lift like your life depends on it (all those carbs will go straight to building more lean muscle, rather than being stored as fat)
-> cardio workouts should be performed with weight bearing exercises that also challenge your muscles, such as plyometrics and other explosive activities (acts as a secondary form of strength training)
-> all workouts should be kept short, but very intense, especially cardio sessions (this way we won’t break down lean muscle for energy)
-> consume a carb and protein liquid drink after your workouts (this provides fuel for the workouts and spikes insulin, which shuttles protein to the muscles…thus, we’re already ‘feeding’ the muscles to promote repair and new muscle growth)
-> on cardio workout days, focus on creating even more of a calorie deficit by eating super clean (I like to use 1 ‘pseudo-fasting’ day after my cheat day, where I basically only consume the carb/protein liquid drink with my cardio workout and maybe a few small protein snacks throughout the day…this is essentially a ‘fast’ and it really throws a curve ball at your body and helps speed up fat loss if used correctly)
-> all days of the week (including the cheat day and ‘pseudo-fasting’ day) must be filled with high protein sources eaten with each and every meal or snack
That’s a basic, mile-high view of how you can add (or at least maintain) lean muscle mass to effectively boost your metabolism and burn even MORE fat, while you’re already working to put your fat-burning on blast by creating a calorie deficit through proper nutrition and intense workouts…if that makes sense.
Basically, I’ve developed an Advanced Fat Loss Plan that sort of ‘cheats the system’ and allows you to lose fat AND build lean muscle at the same time…which leads to an even higher metabolism and more fat-burning mojo, baby. I hope this is okay with you. 🙂
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