Get More Burn From Your Workout
What's the secret to losing more weight? Boosting your metabolism. And how do you do that? Here's how: Build muscle mass -- and more.
We walk and we walk. We could walk from Atlanta to Los Angeles, and still
not lose that extra 10 pounds -- at least, that's how it seems. If you've hit a
plateau in your weight-loss program, here are some tips to get more burn from
Boosting your metabolism is the secret, says Katie Heimburger, an exercise
physiologist in Atlanta. What exactly is metabolism? It's the amount of energy
-- in the form of calories -- that we burn during the day.
Sure, we burn calories when we run or walk. But we also burn calories when
we sit at the computer or TV, even when we sleep -- what's referred to as
"resting metabolic rate."
Tip #1: Build muscle mass. When you increase your muscle
mass, you boost your resting metabolism -- and that makes your body burn more
calories, says Heimburger. "That's why we recommend adding weight training
to an exercise program."
Some examples: using hand weights to do bicep curls, using weight machines
at a gym, even doing specific calisthenics like push-ups and abdominal
crunches. "If you're building strength, you are losing weight," she
Any kind of strength training is going to increase muscle mass, agrees Jamey
McGee, fitness director at Wellness Center at Meadowmont, part of the
University of North Carolina Healthcare System in Chapel Hill.
"That's why we have classes like yoga and pilates, to strengthen your
body," she tells WebMD. "Pilates is about strengthening the core of
your body -- your back, your abdomen. Some forms of yoga have a similar
Heimburger recommends weight training twice a week. One advisory: "I
don't recommend carrying weights or wearing ankle weights while you're walking.
Adding weights could damage your joints. Weights should only be used when
you're standing still."
A personal trainer or exercise physiologist can also set you up with a
well-balanced strength-training program that targets the major muscle groups,
Tip #2: Get plenty of cardiovascular exercise. There's no
getting around it -- the biggest burn comes from cardiovascular exercise, she
tells WebMD. That means running, hiking, walking, cycling, taking aerobics
classes, dancing, kickboxing, or using cardio machines at a gym, anything that
gets your heart rate up.
Ideally, you should do this four to five times week for 30 to 40 minutes
each time. "The whole idea here is just getting out there and burning as
many calories as you can," says Heimburger. "What we say is, you should
be exercising at a level where you can talk, but you can't sing."
Tip #3: Focus on frequency, duration, intensity. "As
long as you step up your exercise program from what you're doing now, you're
going to see faster weight-loss results," Heimburger tells WebMD. "Step
up the amount of exercise, the length of time of your workouts and the
intensity, and you'll definitely see progress."