First off lets talk about your metabolic rate. You hear a lot online about the things you need to do to improve your metabolism. Eat this superfood or that superfood, eat breakfast, eat spicy food, drink green tea, take this pill, that supplement. I’m here to break it to you, there are really only three ways to create a meaningful increase to your metabolic rate. Increase exercise, eat more food, and/or, gain more muscle. None of those other factors, not even eating breakfast, matters in the grand scheme of increasing metabolism.
But why is it important to increase your metabolic rate? Well, you will lose more fat while eating more food. This means an easier time getting and staying lean, making you one step closer to achieving your ideal body.
So, if we look at the ways in which you can increase your metabolic rate, two out of the three we can apply to a fat loss goal. When losing fat you will be eating less calories, so you can’t improve your metabolism by eating more food, but we can gain muscle and exercise more.
Why not just jump on the treadmill for 45 minutes a day and call it good? Low intensity cardio might help you initially lose some body fat, but your body will become accustomed to that amount of cardio all the time and regulate your calorie usage accordingly. This is why variable cardiovascular training and weight training is far superior when trying to achieve a fat loss goal. Variable cardiovascular training allows you to mix in low intensity training on some days and high intensity training on other days. The reason why high intensity training is so important is that your body does not become as accustomed to that type of training and it is treated metabolically like a weight training workout. This yields a higher overall fat burning potential. It has been shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) raises your metabolic rate for 48 hours afterward, meaning you burn more calories over the next 2 days as opposed to low intensity cardio, where you only burn calories right around or during that exercise bout.
Weight training is so important for a fat loss goal because you build muscle. Having more muscle, not only means a faster metabolic rate, but it also means a better looking body. Gaining muscle while losing fat eases the pain of being a slave to the scale. If your jeans are getting looser in the waist but tighter in the thigh, or your shirts are getting tight in the sleeves but loose around the belly, that is a good thing even if the scale is not moving.
Though building muscle is a big plus, not everyone wants to be a bodybuilder. In fact, if you are reading this article you probably just want to get in better shape and look better on the beach this summer. So here is the ideal way to lay out your week of workouts for successful fat loss and muscle gain, to get that lean sculpted body you want.
Monday- Full body weight training (45-60 minutes)
Tuesday- HIIT (20-30 minutes (4-6 rounds 30sec high 2minutes low))*
Wednesday- Full body weight training (45-60 minutes)
Thursday- HIIT (20-30 minutes (1 minute high 1 minute low))*
Friday Full- Body weight training (45-60 minutes)
Saturday- Low intensity cardio (45 minutes)
*When planning out your intervals, your high intervals should be as hard as you can comfortably work for that duration of time; one minute high will be slower than 30 seconds high. Slowly work your way faster and faster over weeks. The low intervals are to recover so you are ready for the next high interval; so these should be about 60% of maximal effort.