RK Tip of the Week|It’s all about your metabolism – Part 2

Posted on October 12, 2010


When I think back to when I did the Chicago Marathon, with no knowledge at all about what works, what doesn’t, and how you do it “right” – I laugh because it would be so different if I did it now. Not that I would, mind you! I have no desire to make that commitment again, once was enough, I’m perfectly content to keep with 1/2 Marathon distances! Much less stress you see. So what would I do different? I’ll just give away the answer now so you’re not in suspense. It’s the same answer whether you’re a marathon runner or someone exercising to see health conditions or body composition levels change  – I’d train my exercise metabolic rate to make me into a better fat burner.

The last Tip of the Week reminded you that you have several key things in your control that determine how much fat you hang on to, and how easily you burn it off. Remember, your metabolism is jump started by *moving enough to break a sweat almost every day, *lift heavy things in a dynamic way, and *eat regularly – at least within 2 hours of a workout & definitely within 1 hour of completing the workout.

I’ll tell you my story: I did the Chicago Marathon and at the end of it all, I did NOT look like a marathon runner. Still had body fat I didn’t want, didn’t get lean defined muscles in my legs. Didn’t finish strong. We didn’t get heart rate monitors at my gym until shortly after my race, and once I found out my metabolic rate, I realized I had trained for & run my race entirely using sugar as a primary fuel source. Thus why I didn’t lose body fat & craved carbs like a Atkins dieter on the intro-diet phase.

There are equations and charts & “fat-burn zone” buttons on cardio equipment & I’m going to tell you now, none of them are specific enough for you to get the best results possible in the quickest way possible. All of those charts & fat-burn buttons lump everyone into the same category, so if you, me, and Lance Armstrong were all the same age – those methods would assume we all are able to burn fat at the same level and the same rate. Clearly, that is not possible. So get specific with your cardio training so you can burn more fat, get faster, get better endurance, recover better & burn more total calories.

I am now offering the New Leaf Metabolic Rate testing service at the performance center where I train. If you’re ready to get specific with your exercise and your nutrition (the resting metabolic rate will dial those numbers in exactly for you) & get better results faster, then contact me directly (via the ‘contact me’ page at the top of the blog) to see the affordable program options we have available for New Leaf Metabolic Testing. We’ll measure YOU. YOUR DATA. Design YOUR PROGRAM to meet YOUR GOALS.

At the minimum, promise that you’ll never again hit the “fat-burn” button on your cardio equipment. Use the equipment manually so you can change the speed & resistance/incline to challenge your heart & breathing. If you can talk comfortably, you’re going too slow. If you can’t talk at all, or you’re practically out of control zipping around that elliptical, you’re going too fast. There is a personal combination of easy/moderate/hard intensity that is right for each person – just know that always going at the same pace gets you to a plateau in results really quickly. Mix it up.

And be sure to give your metabolism a fighting chance by eating within 1 hour of waking up – a solid protein, a little healthy fat, and a low glycemic carb. If you’re going in the pantry to decide which sweet flavored cereal you want in the AM, and not going in the pantry & fridge looking for the 3 items I listed, you’re missing a big part of the equation. I saw a commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios recently that opened with the little bee flying the person to the ‘sweetest breakfast’ i.e. the sweet honey nut cheerios. WHY does breakfast have to be sweet?? Save sweets for dessert, starting your day with a sugar taste on your tongue is a recipe for disaster. Same rule applies for those sick flavored coffee creamers – #1. Those are full of chemicals that are keeping you inflamed #2. Your coffee should NOT need to taste like creme brulee!

And if you’re a super amazing athlete who rocks out with workouts here, workouts there, workouts everywhere – you need to make sure you’re getting gobs of veggies & fruits (notice I put the veggies first! eat more of them!) so you have antioxidants to take care of all that muscle breakdown you’re doing. Those are much better carbs than sucking down a bag of pretzels with dinner.

The food you eat today is going to affect the workout you do tomorrow. Tomorrow’s workout is either going to get you closer to your goal & keep your metabolism revving high, or is going to beat you down because you didn’t eat enough of the right stuff the day before & you bonk early in the workout. The choice is yours!