Weight loss is about creating a calorie deficit so that you burn more calories than you consume. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on consuming fewer calories. But, you also need to jumpstart your metabolism if losing weight fast is your goal. And, the best way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.
Less Muscle Means Decreased Metabolism
One challenge we face as we age is our metabolism slows down more and more with each passing year. The reason for this is our hormones decline which makes it difficult for us to maintain muscle mass. The more lean body mass or muscle we have the easier it becomes for us to maintain metabolism at levels sufficient to control and lose weight.
Sarcopenia: Muscle Loss
The loss of muscle mass is called sarcopenia. The average man can expect to lose a half-pound of muscle every year after age 30 and at the same time add a pound of fat each year. The loss of muscle is greatest between ages 50 and 75 and averages 25%. This loss of muscle leads to lower energy and a loss of function sometimes leading to a loss of independency.
Loss of muscle mass and strength can be reversed only through resistance training. Let’s say that again – loss of muscle mass and strength can only be reversed through resistance training. It’s also the best way to lose fat.
Resistance training can be accomplished many ways. Resistance training can be performed using free weights, moving one’s body weight, elastic bands, and strength training machines.
Resistance training breaks down muscle tissue, which then needs to be repaired. That repair work requires the burning of substantial calories. In the process, not only does the muscle get repaired, it gets bigger, which means it can burn even more calories even when at rest. Resistance training turns the body into an energy or calorie-burning machine.
Other Benefits of Resistance Training
Resistance training can stimulate “birth” of new mitochondria, the power producing organelles of cells. This leads to more energy. Resistance training also improves insulin sensitivity preventing storage of excess calories as fat.
High Intensity Interval Training
While the typical cardiovascular or aerobic exercise can facilitate weight loss, better weight loss results can be obtained by incorporating high intensity interval training or HIIT two to three times a week.
HIIT sessions involve exercising the major muscle groups for short periods at high intensity (80% to 90% of maximum heart rate) followed by brief period of rest and repeated several times. Though training sessions as little as 4 minutes can improve cardiovascular fitness it’s best for the purposes of losing weight to work your way up to doing HIIT for 20 to 25 minutes.
After doing HIIT the body continues to consume oxygen. This excess post exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC keeps metabolism elevated in some studies in men up to 40 hours and in women up to 16 hours.
Nearly any aerobic exercise can be used to perform HIIT. After a warm-up an exercise can be performed at high intensity for a minute followed by a rest period for a minute or two and repeated over 20 minutes. In the Tabata Protocol an exercise is performed at high intensity for 20 seconds followed by a ten second rest period and repeated 8 times for a 4-minute workout. The protocol can then be repeated using different exercise so that a total of 20 minutes is spent doing HIIT.
Exercise and Hormonal Stimulation
In addition to increasing metabolism, both resistance training and high intensity interval training can stimulate production of growth hormone and testosterone. These two hormones are vital for maintaining lean body mass and achieving optimal weight.
Increase your metabolism through exercise and you better your chances of losing weight fast.
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