[By Serena Zitny]
Nothing in Life is made equal and this cannot be any closer to the cardinal truth when it comes to weight control and fat loss. It’s very likely to hear yourself or someone else lamenting about unwanted weight gain when they barely eat anything, and yet there exist those who don’t diet a single day of their lives, eating just about any junk they like without breaking an extra ounce. Bottom line is, the difference lies in your metabolism or metabolic rate.
Metabolism or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. In a nutshell, it measures the speed at which your body expends energy or burns calories. Although this is partly genetic with a hereditary component that’s largely outside one’s control, here are 5 moves you can adopt to boost your metabolic rate and help you burn fat faster.
Pair your cardiovascular exercises with weight training
Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging and brisk walking are no doubt the core activities you need to commit to in order to shed those unwanted pounds. However, the story doesn’t end here. Your fat burning efforts will be very much improved if you were to add on resistant weight training to your fitness regime. Building lean muscle mass is one of the surest way to fire up your metabolism and have you burning more calories even at rest. Set a target to workout with weights twice to thrice a week. The Victoria’s Secret models make no secrets when it comes to their strength training routines. Besides the metabolism boost for enhanced fat burning prowess, strength training helps them tone their bodies while still keeping those famous VS curves. To better showcase this year’s Fantasy Bra, chosen angel Lais Ribeiro packs a tone and taut upper torso with a combination of bicep curls, tricep dips and press-ups, while veteran angel Alessandra Ambrosio swears by weighted squats and lunges to get her infamous Brazilian booty runway ready.
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Rev up your workout
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training with alternating bursts of high-intensity and slowed down,normal-paced moves effectively revs up your sluggish metabolism by a notch, and is a great way to pique your interest by adding variety to an otherwise boring workout routine. This can be easily achieved by inserting blocks of 30-secs sprints into your jog at five-minutes’ intervals, or by adding a one-minute incline brisk run or walk over the span of your treadmill workout, accordingly spaced at regular intervals.
“Studies have shown that by adding interval training twice a week to your fitness regime, one can lose twice as much weight as those who stuck to a regular cardio workout.” Says Dr. Toby Hui, senior medical consultant from the SW1 Clinic, a one stop medical aesthetics hub that compromises of a medical spa, cosmetics dermatology and aesthetics surgery in Singapore, who is a fitness enthusiast himself with a keen interest in weight management. “The spurts of high-intensity workout creates an oxygen debt during recovery referred to as EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, an afterburn effect that will continue to burn more fat and calories than your regular steady-state aerobic workouts.”
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Nibble yourself to model size
It might sound counter intuitive when first suggested, but one can lose weight more effectively by nibbling through out the day. Experts believe that instead of the usual 3 larger portions, breaking up your daily food intake into five to six small meals will keep your metabolism humming 24/7. As one tend not to feel hungry with constant nibbling throughout the day, you are less likely to overeat as well. Try not to let more than four hours elapse between feeds, making sure each meal includes a portion of protein for an extra metabolic boost. A great, healthy meal plan goes like this— a high fiber breakfast of cereal rolled oats and a portion of fresh fruit, a mid-morning snack of plain Greek yogurt, lunch of lean chicken breast or fish with a leafy green salad, a late afternoon snack of a banana and a piece of low-fat cheese, and light dinner of steamed veggies with another lean source of protein such as turkey, salmon or tofu.
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Don’t carbs deplete or overdo calorie control
Although dietary modifications and controlled calories consumption are decent weight-watchers’ moves to ensure the success of your weight loss efforts, over-doing it by cutting your calories way too low for a prolonged period of time will eventually backfire, slowing down your basal metabolic rate as your body assume that it’s in a state of starvation requiring energy to be conserved at all costs, slowing down fat burning and encouraging its storage. To counteract against a restricted dietary plan that hit a pound shedding plateau, allow yourself periodic breaks with a higher calorie cheat day say once a week. Not only does this keep you sane and restore some form of decent social interaction with your mates on an eat-out weekend get-together, it will also send signals telling the body that it’s no longer starving, and can start burning fat faster again.
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Catch enough sleep to be slim & svelte
Cheating on your required nightly eye shut can derail your metabolism. Deprivation of sleep often lead to craving for unhealthy foods and impaired processing of carbohydrates consumed, with a higher chance of carb conversion to fat stores due to insulin insensitivity. In addition, day-time exhaustion secondary to poor sleep decreases your body energy level for its normal day-to-day functions, automatically lowered your metabolism with poorer calorie and fat burning capabilities.