The following The Commandments of fat burning are my recipe for staying lean year round. If you follow these time tested rules you will become a fat burning machine, stoking your metabolism and your internal furnace of calorie consumption to be more efficient in getting rid of that excess fat that has been dogging you forever. These strategies are simple, easy to implement and powerful in their results. So, let’s get ready to burn!
1. Check your greed at the door. The best way to keep that metabolism stoked to the highest levels of efficiency is to make sure you eat several SMALL meals throughout the day. Many people eat a sparse breakfast, have a quick bite at lunch and then belly up to the feeding trough at the end of the day for a huge dinner, usually with a second helping and desert too! Well, no wonder, your body is starving by the time you get there. Oh, by the way, eating too little actually slows your metabolism down! Bottom line, recent research from the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology showed that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day helps to burn fat. You will also enjoy the fact that you will not be hungry when you are eating 5 or 6 meals a day. Keep the portions small and consider using a meal replacement bar or drink for one of the meals so you don’t feel like your prepping food all day long.
2. Mix up your training. The biggest mistake I see people make in the gym is coming in every day and doing the same thing. I watch people hit the treadmill, set it on a fast walk, and then walk that way for 40 to 60 minutes or more! These same people complain about how they can’t loose any weight…no kidding! No shock there. Your body is functioning at a level that is so low you are really not burning calories with any efficiency. You need to mix things up. Train with weights, and train on the treadmill (or whatever your favorite aerobic equipment may be) but put in some 60 second sprints every 5 minutes and get the heart rate up. There are literally thousands of ways to challenge yourself safely and if you have no idea where to start, hire a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to give you some ideas, they are worth every penny! By the way, research has shown that training with weights is one of the best ways to boost metabolic rates.
3. Drink up! Hydrate yourself, but be sensible about it. I see people all day long who are drinking way too much water. Remember, everything at some point is bad for you, even water. It puts a lot of strain on your kidneys to filter so much liquid. Moderation is the key. If you are dehydrated it will cause your body to drop your resting metabolic rate…no good for burning fat! The advice we have heard for quite a while now is 8 glasses of water a day. Good advice. By the way, those sports drinks are worthless unless you are into about 90 minutes or more of intense exercise. Stick with the water as nature intended. Less calories, less sugar and easier on the body.
4. Time for some protein & fiber. Remember to eat enough protein and get plenty of fiber. Both of these are going to help increase your metabolic rate because there is a “thermic effect” produced by the digestion of this type of food that is much higher than a high carbohydrate meal. Yes, you still need the carbs too, at least 130 grams a day to maintain normal brain function. Also, if you eat protein and fiber as the last meal of the day and skip the carbs, research has shown this is also more efficient in burning fat while you are sleeping.
5. Skip the coffee & try Green Tea. No, I’m not trying to kill your caffeine addition. I’m not that stupid, although I think we are consuming way too much of the stuff. But if you’re going to get a fix, why not make it healthier? We have known this for some time, but green tea actually increases fat oxidation and as an added bonus it also has good immune system building effects as well. There are many brands out there, but recommendations are 200 to 300 milligrams daily.
6. Post workout – feed me NOW! Your body wants some fuel after working out and the sooner the better. Try to fuel up within 30 minutes of vigorous exercise to keep your metabolism running on high. A good way to go is to make a protein & carbohydrate meal. Try one of the many drinks out there (just watch the sugar on some of these) or make a fruit & protein smoothie at home. Added plus; you will also be helping your muscles recover faster and this will help you to be ready for the next workout sooner.
7. Get some rest, please! Ok, I know the day only has 24-hours. I know you are trying to do everything in that time and I also know you are sacrificing sleep in order to get it done. But sacrificing sleep is taking away one of your bodies ways of recovering from all that damage you do to it every day. Recovery is essential for keeping your body running at its most efficient levels. Sleep is critical to this process, not to mention all the benefits it has for your mental health as well. Shoot for at least 8-hours of quality sleep a night and you will notice huge benefits in how your body feels and you will be supporting your fat burning goals with an efficient machine.
8. The truth about alcohol. I know you don’t want to hear this…but someone must speak the truth! Alcohol is a fat burning enemy, even those of you who only indulge on the weekends. Alcohol has calories too, 7 per gram, and we know it slows your metabolism as well. Alcohol is a depressant and a powerful drug, but did you know it can also increase fat storage in cells? Sorry, but if you want a 6-pack then you need to loose the 6-pack in the frig!
9. Get enough calcium. The more we learn about calcium the more we realize it is a real friend to burning fat. This mineral is abundant in the body and current recommendations are making sure you get 1200 milligrams daily. Tasty treats like low fat yogurt and skim milk are excellent sources of calcium. Did you also know that it helps to manage estrogen levels? Believe it or not, this is also vital for men! Estrogen can be enhanced in the body by deficiencies in calcium and zinc and can lead to bloating and abdominal fat.
10. Low-glycemic meals? Huh? Ok, simple stuff really, just a fancy way of saying don’t eat meals that have a high impact on blood sugar levels. The real key in your meal consumption is to make sure you are eating a mix of lean meats and complex carbs. Eating less processed food, closer to how nature intended us to eat, will help to stabilize your insulin levels. This means you will be less likely to store fat.
Bottom line; good nutrition is not difficult to understand, but putting aside old habits can be daunting. Don’t try to change your world overnight. Pick one commandment a month to add to your life and within a year you will be running at peak efficiency and burning fat like never before.
Rodger Ruge is a Cooper Institute certified personal trainer for law enforcement and author of The Warrior’s Mantra, Barricade Books. Rodger can be reached through his web-site at [http://www.readyforce.net].