How can you efficiently burn body fat? By firing up your metabolism, of course. And what is the best way to fire up your metabolism?
Cardio and Strength-Training
Most people who want to give their metabolism a boost to burn body fat believe that cardio exercise is the key. So they jump on the treadmill, ride a stationary bike, or go for a run at least three times a week.
It is also a popular belief that the more often and the longer you do aerobic exercises, the more body fat you will burn. Especially if you need to shed excess pounds within a few weeks, you huff and puff your way through your cardio workout five times a week, instead of just three; 45 minutes to an hour per session, instead of just 30.
After the first few weeks, you will definitely burn body fat, and feel like you are getting fitter and stronger. But in addition to being repetitive and dull, a moderately paced, high-frequency aerobic exercise is not the best exercise to maintain your weight loss progress. In the long run, after your initial weight-loss, your body will adapt to your repetitive exercise routine and start storing fat to tap into for the next workout.
In other words, your body will be creating a fat reserve instead of burning off the excess.
Additionally, the repetitive nature of your exercise routine will get your body used to handling easy, low-intensity tasks. Over time, however, your body’s capacity for work will diminish; your heart and lungs will not become any stronger, and their efficiency will be reduced. When your body gets exposed to high-level physical stress, you will have a difficult time catching your breath, both literally and figuratively. It will feel like you’re still out of shape.
If your aerobic workout does not push you to your limits, you are reducing your aerobic capacity and your fat-burning capacity along with it. In order to turn your body in a more efficient fat-burning machine, you will also have to build lean muscles through resistance training.
Building strong, lean muscles requires burning more fuel, which means tapping into more of your fat stores. And when you’ve burned off all your excess fats, your combined aerobic and resistance exercises will switch to burning the calories you consume, so that they no longer get stored as fats.
A properly executed resistance workout also entails a muscle repair and growth process that utilizes more of your stored body fat for fuel. Soon after you start your resistance training, your body will burn body fat nonstop, whether you’re working out or just sitting down and binge-watching.
The cherry on top of the cake is that placing high demands on your body trains it to handle almost anything that you throw at it, and this translates to an increased capacity to fight disease and to lifelong health.
Recuperate and Sleep
Here’s another misconception: you have to workout hard and practically nonstop to burn body fat, maintain your ideal weight, and build lean and strong muscles. You can rest when you’re dead.
The fact is, you should not push yourself too hard and deprive your body of a sufficient period of recuperation and sleep.
It is in between your workouts and during sleep that your body is able to restore itself; to repair the injuries and tears to your muscles; and to rebuild these muscles into stronger ones. This is the simplified mechanism by which your body develops stronger and leaner muscles through intense resistance training. When your body can adequately repair and build muscles in between workouts, it also burns body fat to fuel the process.
You have to let your body take a break from your intense fat-burning routine for at least two days, within which time your body will be able to repair and restore itself. Getting adequate sleep is also important so that you will always have the energy to sustain your fat-burning and muscle-building progress, as well as your other daily activities. Sleep is the body’s ultimate means of restoration and should be considered an equally important component of your weight-loss strategy.
When you go back to exercising after taking at least two days of rest and getting adequate, quality sleep, you will feel more energetic, and be able to perform your intense resistance exercises more effectively. The better you perform your exercises, the more successful you will be at burning body fat and building lean and strong muscles.
Don’t neglect your body’s need to mend itself and rest. You will have a hundred percent chance of achieving your goals when you listen to your body’s need for sufficient rest and sleep. Don’t forget: the quality of the exercise is more important than the quantity, and the quality and quantity of rest and sleep you get is just as important as the exercise itself.