Nutrition

Kick-Start Your Metabolism: Part 1

An easy-to-follow method to lose fat and gain lean muscle.

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Kick-Start Your Metabolism: Part 1
Kevin Horton

In order to lose weight and put on lean muscle, the formula is pretty basic: Follow a healthy and balanced low-fat diet, rid your program of processed foods and preservatives, control your portions, and adhere to a solid workout program that includes both resistance and cardiovascular training. It sounds uncomplicated, and in most cases it is—as long as you stick to the program you’ll receive the desired results you’re looking to achieve. However, what do you do when your body and metabolism have had enough and your system shuts down, and no matter what diet you follow, no matter how long and hard you train—you simply can’t lose weight and all progress has halted?

Whether you’re a serious athlete who has come off a long, intense preparation, an athlete who had to go into “system shock mode” and basically starve yourself to achieve your results, or if you’re an individual who has gone from one extreme to the other with your body and are experiencing a sluggish or what seems like a nonexistent metabolism—you can get back on track. In this article, I’ll lay out the necessary steps to recharge your metabolism to have it running more efficiently than ever.

The body is an amazing machine and it will learn to adapt to virtually any scenario—it can utilize the foods you supply it with to grow and build muscle, or if the body isn’t receiving enough nutrition or has been on a restrictive program for a long period of time it can “shut down” and slow weight loss and hinder progress as a mode of protection. Your body will adapt to the metabolism for any situation, but unfortunately if the body feels you’ve been on a restrictive diet for too long or have dieted too severely—the metabolism will slow down and stall as a survival tactic. You’re now left in a predicament—you have to both remedy the situation that put you in a metabolic standstill and then learn how to kick-start and invigorate your metabolism so you can get back to forward progress.

HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THIS POINT?

When experiencing a metabolic meltdown, it’s easy to place the blame on an underactive thyroid or getting older—as we’ve all had it drilled into our brains that once you hit a certain age, your metabolism just gets slower. In reality, the causes behind the problem arise from going to extremes with your diet, such as excessive calorie restriction or harsh dieting for lengthy periods of time, throwing your body into “survival” mode and either slowing your progress drastically, or stopping it altogether. The good news is that metabolic hedging in cases such as these can be corrected. You can revive a slackened metabolism at any age! Not only can you resolve the problem, but also, by implementing the appropriate nutritional program and training regimen, you can boost your metabolism and turn your body into the finely tuned fat-burning, muscle- building machine you’ve always wanted.

After seeing misleading before-and-after images plastered on television and magazine ads showing extreme weight loss of 30, 40, 50, or more pounds in a matter of a month or two, it’s easy to see how a person would become frustrated when they haven’t reached that same type of weight loss in the time stated on the ads. Deep down, you know that these ads are gimmicks to sell products, but you’re desperate to lose weight, build muscle, and get into shape—it’s easy to get caught up in ploys such as these.

If you aren’t losing weight on your current program, it’s easy to think all you need to do is just keep cutting away the calories and adding in more cardiovascular training until you do lose the weight. At first you’ll notice some weight loss, but the longer you put yourself into a restrictive, starvation-diet mode, your body will retaliate—and it’ll do so by slowing the metabolism.

Obviously, you’ve learned that excessively restrictive, lengthy diets will definitely kill your metabolism. My practice has always been to feed the metabolism as well as the body. By this, I mean that when you eat meals, you’re giving your metabolism fuel to burn. By giving your metabolism the correct amount at each meal and the correct amount of meals in a given day, you will consistently keep your metabolism running, and this will in turn help to burn fat and build muscle. The key is to knowing exactly how many meals and how much at each meal you specifically need to keep this type of forward progress. 

 

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