Atlantic Coast Chiropractic

Increasing the body's fat-burning abilities

Last month we went over metabolic sabotage and what causes the metabolism to slow down. The process of metabolism is complex, involving numerous hormones and enzymes with varying functions in the body. The metabolism sets the rate at which your body converts food into fuel and this, in turn, establishes the efficiency of your body’s fat burning engine. In general the more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be.

If you have not done so, please go to last month’s blog on metabolic sabotage to learn more.  A slow metabolism is usually caused by prolonged excessive dietary restrictions and/or excessive exercise. Over time, muscle tissue begins to break down (catabolic state) and is used for energy. This catabolic state causes an even slower metabolism since there is now less lean body mass.

Four fixes for a broken metabolism include increasing caloric consumption, creating an after-burn effect, increasing protein intake, and strength training. Lets go into these in some more detail.

1. You must fuel your body with enough calories to get your metabolism regulating hormones back in check. It is critical to do this slowly. Over the course of weeks start adding 50 calories into your diet. Somewhere along the line, your weight loss actually starts to pick up again. Once this happens maintain that caloric load for several weeks.

2. The after-burn effect, known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is your body’s way of returning to homeostasis post workout. While EPOC occurs after most exercise protocols, it is most elevated after intense bursts of activity. If you push yourself in the gym or do intense intervals, you have the potential to have an elevated caloric burn for up to 48 hours. Forget the long cardio sessions and go for a short, high intensity interval workout. Any type of exercise will do as long as your are exerting yourself up to 80% for a short period of time, while also going at 20% for a short period of time and repeating the process. Look into High Intensity Interval Training for more details.

3. Increase your protein intake! No other macronutrient has as strong of an influence on your metabolism as protein. Protein is highly thermogenic, which means it produces heat through digestion. Approximately 25% of protein calories are used for the digestion process. I recommend getting at least .5g of protein per pound of lean body mass for the average person and more for the extremely active person. This will stoke fat burning abilities within the body.

4. Lastly, the single most effective method for boosting your metabolism is strength training. Strength training builds metabolism-boosting muscle along with a large list of other benefits. Simply put, muscle adds horsepower to your metabolism even when you are at rest. It turns your 4-cylinder pinto into an 8-cylinder corvette! I recommend adding strength-training workouts about three times a week for the average person. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go to the gym. You can get a great workout at home with body weight exercises and simple home equipment such as resistance bands.

Incorporate these simple fixes into your daily routine and watch the weight loss start to ramp back up. Follow the principles set forth over this and the previous 2 months blogs and ensure that you never plateau again due to the typical problems of the average American yo-yo diets!

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