Your metabolism isn't an instant-makeover machine, but you can order it to keep an eye out for big fat party crashers and throw them back onto the street. Learn these surprising truths, and you'll help Muscle conquer its flabby nemesis- once and for all.
Visceral fat fights fitness by releasing compounds that degrade muscle quality.
Burning calories in the gym is (almost) a waste of time
Sure, burning calories is great. But the energy you expend in the gym isn't as big a deal as those LED readouts on the treadmill might make it seem. In fact, we all have three distinct types of burns that make up our metabolism. See below.
BASAL (RESTING) METABOLISM
Your basal metobolic rate, or BMR, accounts for 60 to 75 percent of your overall metabolism. Surprisingly, it represents the calories you burn doing nothing at all. It's fueled by your heart beating. your lungs working to breathe, and even your cells dividing.
This burn results from the thermic effect of food or TEF. Simply digesting food-converting carbohydrates to sugar and protein to amino acids - typically burns 10 percent of your daily calories. You burn more calories digesting protein thon you do digesting carbohydrates and fat about 25 calorie. for every 100 consumed, versus zero to 10 for carbs and fat.
EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT METABOLISM
This part of your metabolism includes your gym workouts and other physical activities such as jogging or playing softball (called "exercise-activity thermogenesis,- or EAT). 1t also includes your countless incidental movements throughout the day, Like turning the pages of the magazine (“non-exercise-activity thermogenesis,”- or NEAT).
So why is it so hard to lose weight just by exercising? Why do you see so many overweight people in the gym? The answer is simple. Exercise and movement account for only 15 to 30 percent of your fat burn. Up to 85 percent of your calorie burn in a given day has nothing to do with moving your body. But that doesn't mean you should skip the gym-you just need to know how to make exercise work for you. The fact is, exercise can play an important role in preparing Muscle to conquer its greatest threat- Fat, of course.
The fatter you get, the fatter you'll get
Fat doesn't just show up at your door one day, rent a room, and live quietly alone with a couple of cats. Fat loves company. The more fat you open the door to, the harder you'll find it to stop even more fat from inviting itself in. Here's why.
Your BMR- basal (resting) metabolic rate-accounts for the majority of the calories you burn every day. It's determined by a number of factors: your sex, age, and height; your genes (most likely); and your body's ratio of fat to muscle. The problem is, fat slows your calorie burn. Fat is lazy on a metabolic level: It burns barely any calories at all. For your body to support a pound of fat, it needs to burn about 2 calories a day. Muscle, on the other hand, is metabolically very active. At rest, I pound of skeletal muscle burns three times as many calories every day just to sustain itself-and the more calories you burn, the more body fat you tend to lose. That's why Fat hates Muscle- because Muscle is constantly burning it off.
So Fat actually fights back, trying to erode Muscle. The main fat culprit is a nasty variety called visceral fat , which resides behind your abdominal muscles and surrounds your internal organs (the viscera). And visceral fat works its mischief by releasing a variety of substances collectively called adipokines. Adipokines include compounds that raise your risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, arterial inflammation, and high blood sugar.
Visceral fat also messes with an important hormone called adiponectin, which regulates metabolism. The more visceral fat you have, the less adiponectin your body releases and the slower your metabolism is. So fat literally begets more fat. In fact, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that the biologically active molecules that are released from visceral fat can actually degrade muscle quality-which, again, leads to more fat.
The solution? Bigger muscles, In addition to boosting your metabolic rate, muscle mass plays a key role in preventing more common (but no less deadly) conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, A survey of scientific literature published in the journal Circulation linked the loss of muscle mass to insulin resistance (the main marker of type 2 diabetes), elevated blood lipid levels, and increased body fat, especially visceral fat.
Weight training is the ultimate fat fighter
While muscle burns calories, bigger muscle burns more calories, That's because the physical work you need to do to build and maintain added muscle can have a dramatic effect on your overall metabolism, Research shows that a single weight-training session can spike your calorie burn for up to 39 hours after you lift, (And remember, this doesn't include the calories you burn while you're actually exercising. Think of those as a bonus,)
And the long-term calorie burn you enjoy from building muscle does more than just eliminate extra weight. It specifically targets fat! A study conducted by Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R. D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, showed that people who built muscle lost almost 40 percent more fat on restricted-calorie diets than nonexercisers and aerobic exercisers.
Another reason weight training is the ultimate fat fighter' The more muscle you have, the better your body uses the nutrients you consume, and the less likely it is to store your food (even junk food) as fat . See, your muscles store energy (read, calories) in the form of glycogen. When you exercise, your muscles call on that glycogen for fuel. After you exercise, your fat-storing hormones are subdued because your body wants to use incoming carbs to restore the glycogen depleted during your workout. So the carbs you eat after exercise are stored in your muscles, not in your spare tire.
But it gets better: If you complete a high-intensity workout (like the one below), your body will burn calories at an advanced rate for hours afterward, and it'll be desperate for energy to keep your heart beating. Since the food you're eating is being stored in your muscles, your body has to hunt for something else to burn. Guess what that is? Fat. Score another one for Team Muscle .
Rules of the ripped
Hunger tells your body to store fat. So eat smart to fuel new muscle and stoke your metabolism.
“I will eat protein with every meat and every snack."
At any given moment. even at rest. Your body is breaking down and building up muscle. says Jeff S. Volek. Ph.D ., R.D. Every time you eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein. you trigger a burst of muscle-building protein synthesis. And when you eat at least 30 grams. that period of synthesis lasts for about 3 hours- and that means even more
Your plan Eat at least 30 grams of protein at all three meals. taking it in from meats. seafood, cheese, eggs, and milk. For each snack, eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein. such as two hard-boiled eggs.
“I will never eat the world's worst breakfast."
What's the world's worst breakfast? No breakfast at all. When you wake up in the morning. your body is fuel deprived. It needs food to kickstart your metabolism. "When you shift calories to the morning. you lose weight and keep it off; says Dave Grotto. R.D .. author
of 101 Optimal Life Foods. In fact, regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450 percent.
Your plan Eat a considerable portion of your calories-30 percent to 35 percent of your total intake- in the morning. The very best breakfasts will match proteins and whole grains with produce and healthy fats. For example. try fried eggs on whole-grain toast and a protein-and-fruit smoothie .
“I will eat before and after exercise."
Great news for any man who loves to eat: You probably need to eat more. Eating before training speeds muscle growth, Dutch and British researchers report. Downing protein before and after weight training also helps blunt the fat-storing effects of cortisol, according to researchers at the Syracuse University. What's more, pre- and post workout protein also helps your body produce more stem cells, which help recovery and muscle growth. Finnish scientists have discovered.
Your plan Eat a snack composed of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes or so before your workout. and eat one of your protein-rich
meals immediately after exercise. Remember. lost time is lost muscle.
Target Visceral fat with this belly-busting workout
Here’s how to flatten her gut in less than 30 minutes, 3 days a week.
Use this interval method, It's short and intense, so it'll save you time. And unlike traditional steady-state aerobic exercise, it'll keep your body burning fat at a higher rate for hours alter you've finished. You can perform it on the road or on a treadmill, but if you're packing more than an extra 20 pounds, opt for an exercise bike 10 reduce the stress on your knees.
1) Start out at on easy pace (about 40 percent of your best effort) and
keep it up for 90 seconds.
2) Sprint at the fastest pace you can maintain for 1 minute.
3) Rest for 1 minute.
4) Sprint at the fastest pace you can maintain for 30 seconds.
5) Rest for 30seconds.
6) Sprint as fast as you can for 1 minute.
5 1/2 minutes
we're giving you two upper-body exercises, two lower-body exerci ses, and one core (abs and lower back) exercise. Do them as a circuit- that is, perform one after the other with no rest in between. Working your muscles in this way will allow you 10 progress in less time, eliminating any excuses, says Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S., author of The IMPACT! Body Plan. After all, this workout doesn't require tons of equipment, but it still provides the last results you want.
Do 10 to 20 repetitions of each exercise; complete three circuits, resting for 2 minutes between them.
Total Workout Time: 20 to 25 minutes