Powerful, superb, necessary, and vital are all words that draw a parallel between the relationship of metabolic rate and fat loss. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the amount of energy humans use during the day when at rest. It is imperative to understand that when we refer to energy, we are referring to calories. An elevated RMR throughout the day means elevated caloric expenditure, which usually equates to higher levels of fat burning. We can claim that a higher level of calories burned, while eating the same amount of food, will surely put your body in a caloric deficiency, which is the best technique to lose weight.
Weight loss is often the biggest road block to overcome but is only half of the store. The ultimate goal is to burn body fat while preserving or increasing lean body mass (i.e. muscle). In order for this to occur you need to be consistent with your resistance training, nutrition, lifestyle habits and do some cardio. Here are a few jump starters for you to consider:
Breakfast is the most essential meal of the day. Throughout the night your body has been in starvation / recovery mode for the entire 7-9 sleep hours. As a result, your metabolic rate has come to a screaming halt and is now in fat storing mode, depending on what you do next. This is one of the main benefits of eating a breakfast that is optimized to your needs. The right breakfast can also provide you with optimal amounts of energy to jump start your day. Try eating the following for breakfast:
Meat & Nuts: a healthy balance of a high-quality protein (grass fed beef, organic chicken, fish), combined with a quality nut (walnut, almonds), can provide the body with a nice jump start with a steady blood sugar climb while enhancing cognitive function. On the contrary, eating a low protein / high carb meal will spike your blood sugar, which will lead to fat gains and low energy.
Oatmeal: ¼-1 cup steel cut or organic rolled oats. Oatmeal is a great breakfast choice because it contains healthy whole grains, which are low glycemic resistance starches. Resistance starches are starches that are not stored as fat when in they are in excess, but rather they act like fiber and are flushed from your system. The best pairing for this meal is a high-quality protein.
Eggs: 2-3 whole eggs and 1-2 egg whites. Egg yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg and contain essential fats. However, do not go cheap on the eggs because a high quality egg yolk is healthy for you, a low quality egg is not… Fresh and healthy eggs will be vibrant, not a dull yellow. The best possible egg you can find is from a local small batch farm house. Yes, yes, those are hard to find in most city areas so do your research on some brands that are available to you, preferably organic and pastured raised. Add egg whites, without the yolks, to the whole eggs to provide a boost of protein without the increasing the fat and cholesterol levels.
Orange Juice: 1 cup. OJ is ranked as a moderate food on the glycemic scale. OJ is an excellent source for the essential vitamin C. OJ can help transition your body out of starvation mode more quickly because of its moderate to high glycemic sugar, which gets into your system more rapidly. Fresh squeezed with pulp is best. Orange juice is definitely something that can fit in to a high-quality balanced breakfast but should be restricted, quantity wise.
Protein Powder: If it's hard to get protein into your diet in the morning, then consuming a protein shake could be the difference in burning fat or storing fat. Grass fed whey protein will be absorbed into your system more quickly and often easier than any other kind protein. Whey contains essential amino acids that are necessary for lean muscle to grow. Whey is not the only option but is my number one go to. If you are looking for vegan options hemp, pea or a combination of the two can be a great supplement. However, whichever you choose, 20-30 grams is an optimal serving size.
Eat numerous meals / snacks per day.
A common misconception of dieting, or eating healthy, is to eat less not more. If you are merely eating a few times per day, or drastically reducing your calories, then your body will slow down its metabolic rate to use less calories throughout the day. As a result, your body saves / stores all the food consumed to utilize the next time it is deprived of adequate nutritional intake. Instead, eating every 2 hours allows your body to elevate its resting metabolic rate (RMR) and give you a chance to burn fat. Here are a few snacks that can help keep you eating more frequently.
Greek Yogurt: 6-8oz. Select a more natural yogurt with less sugar. Plain is the winner, but often it is too tart for most pallets. Try agave nectar or honey instead of sugar as the sweetener for plain. Fresh fruit, particularly berries, are a great addition as well.
Mixed Nuts: 1 small handful will suffice. Eating healthy fat has been proven to decrease body fat and omega-3’s is the best. Almonds are the most popular nut recommended to eat. However, there are numerous nut choices that are great to eat. Try walnuts, cashews, and pistachios. Dry roasting the nuts brings out the essential oils and enhances the flavor tenfold. Walnut are my personal favorite for an omega-3 kick…
Nut Butter & Apple: one medium size apple and 2 tbsp of peanut or almond butter. Choose a natural nut butter that has no hydrogenated oils or sugar in it. Major nut butter brands like Jif and Skippy often hide trans-fat hydrogenated oils and fractionated oils. Combining an apple with the nut butter will provide you with the daily value of the powerful nutrient, lycopene, as well. Lycopene is a carotenoid that has numerous health and protection benefits for the human body.
Small Meals: it is a big mistake to believe that meals cannot be snacks. The major difference between a meal and a snack is the portion size, which is something that should be curtailed to the individual. The most general and common suggestion I make is lean towards protein and fat when snacking, reduce your carbs. Try 3-4oz of lean meat protein with some veggies or some fruit. Really the combinations are endless with this one but it is helpful to always have healthy left over from dinners.
Perform complex weight exercises using less rest time between sets / exercises.
In order to increase your metabolism to heights of extreme fat burning you must lift weights. Everyone talks about doing cardio cardio cardio!!! Well cardio is not the answer. Cardio can be a helpful tool when one is looking to enhance their cardiovascular capabilities and increase their total calories burned for the day; however, too much cardio often leads to fat increasing as it becomes a fight or flight symptom, storing fat as a result of excessive stress. Lifting weights, on the other hand, increases lean muscle and therefore results in greater calories burned and fat loss. Performing complex multi-joint exercises, with weight that makes you struggle, is the most effective way to elevated your metabolic rate and burn fat. Choose exercises that require more than one muscle at a time. Use rest times of 60 seconds or less between sets, as well as exercises if performing a circuit format.
Squats: back, front or split squats are all great lifts. The complexity and effort required for these movements make this a fat killer. When performing front or back squats, do them at full range-of-motion (ROM).
Deadlifts: Deadlifts are the greatest total body strength exercise and will tax every muscle within your body. If your form is faulty, practice from a hip down approach. What I mean by this is… start with the bar at the hip lines with you fully standing, then slowly squat down until the plates touch and stand back up. Learning how to deadlift hip down is much better the learning ground up.
Other Upper Body Lifts: these can range from power cleans, snatches, jerks, push press, functional clean to press, one arm dumbbell swings, etc...
Multi-joint complex lifts develop type II muscle fibers (fast twitch) and results in enhanced functional muscular capabilities… leading to higher work output and fat burning capabilities.
(check out www.functionalmusclefitness.com and click on "exercise of the week" to view exercises)
Drink green tea, coffee, or supplement caffeine.
Caffeine enhances blood flow, contains numerous antioxidants, and provides great energy. Caffeine can also increase fat loss by increasing your metabolic rate. Coffee is one of the highest antioxidant foods on the planet and has numerous health benefits. However, not all caffeine is created equal. Buffered caffeine that is low glycemic. This source will not give you the jittery feeling that most caffeine users get when consuming too much caffeine. It also provides more of a sustained energy. Green tea is a great choice for those who are not coffee fans. Green tea has less flavor and contains less caffeine per serving. However, too much caffeine can be detrimental to your health and lean muscular development / growth. Studies have shown negative side effects when individuals consume over 300mg per day. One of those side effects is a decreased production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
Coffee: choose organic in any form. Limit the amount of artificial sweeteners used. Do not be fooled by the creamers that are on the market claiming to have zero sugar and fat. Nearly all mainstream creamers contain hydrogenated and fractionated oils. If you need a little cream I suggest a little organic grass-fed whole milk.
Tea: Loose leaf high quality seems to be the most beneficial kind.
Regardless of the methods used or not used, increasing your metabolic rate is essential in the fight against fat. Other topics that are not mentioned, but play a huge role, is macro nutrient balance and insulin sensitivity. We will save that fight for another day.