Fire Up Your Metabolism!

Don’t let these mistakes zap you of the best fitness results!

When you hit the gym or get fired up for a great workout at home, I’m sure your intent is to make every minute count and get the most out of your fitness time. Whether you realize it or not, there are some common mistakes that can sabotage that post workout metabolic burn. Want to know the common offenders? We asked some Billings trainers to spell out some of the biggest blunders they see at the gym.

Mistake #1: You’re stuck in a workout rut

If you think hopping on the treadmill day in and day out is the best way to burn calories and shed some pounds, think again. Not only will you be bored, your muscles will be bored too. Jason Patch with Granite Health and Fitness says he’s seen it time and time again, folks step on the treadmill at lower speeds and in his words, “seem to walk forever.”

The Fix: Switch up your workout to keep your body guessing your next move. Patch says, “If you incorporate higher paced intervals, it will get your metabolism going and get that fat burning.” So, instead of walking for sixty minutes at three miles per hour, switch up the pace so that your body is moving quickly for short bursts followed by a few minutes at a slower pace. Patch says that you’re sure to see results, which is a step in the right direction.

Mistake #2: Taking off the weight

Many women think if they incorporate strength training by lifting weights, they’ll see their body bulk up instead of slim down. Patch admits, “Some women are afraid to do any kind of strength or resistance training.” He says what many women don’t realize is that, “Weight training will actually boost your metabolism.” Paul Nottingham, trainer with the Billings Athletic Club, says just make sure that you start and not end your workout with weights. “If you start with 45 minutes of cardio and then go lift weights, your body is already going to be tired. It’s not going to work at its full potential.”

The Fix: Get more iron, not in your diet but in your hands! By incorporating a strength training workout into your routine at least twice a week, you are picking up the ultimate flab melter. Why? Muscle burns calories even when your body is at rest.

Mistake #3: Being Under Water

Most people don’t realize that the body is made up of 75% water. Not getting enough water and becoming dehydrated will actually slow down your metabolism. “When you don’t stay hydrated, you burn less energy and you end up feeling lethargic,” Patch admits. And, if you’re the type to turn to coffee or energy drinks, Patch says that can create an even bigger dilemma. “Those drinks tend to make you crave high levels of carbohydrates.”

The Fix:  Plain and simple, you just need 8 to 12 cups of water a day.

Mistake #4: The Calorie Battle

Many are still under the impression that if you want to lose weight, you have to restrict calories. Some fall into the calorie trap and decide that instead of changing portion size at meal time, they’ll skip meals altogether. “When you stop eating or get your calories to low levels, your metabolism shuts down completely,” Patch says. “It sends the signal that you are not getting the proper nutrition you need.” So, instead of burning calories, your body holds onto them.

The Fix: Trainer Paul Nottingham encourages his clients to eat 5 or even 6 mini meals throughout the day to keep that energy pumping. “If your body gets into a routine like that, it is going to continually burn and your metabolism is going to be working harder to burn fat.” He adds, if you skip a mini-meal, make sure it is never breakfast. He says this meal actually wakes up your metabolism, “Breakfast is always the most important meal because you end up burning that meal throughout the entire day.

Mistake #5: Hooked on “Fat Burning” Mode
Many workout machines these days have different programmable workouts. You click a button and before you know it, you’re in fat burn mode. It’s based on the premise that at a lower intensity, your body will grab your fat stores for fuel. What most don’t realize is, these programs work you at a lower heart rate and lower rate of intensity to simply burn fat. What does this really mean? You’re not actually burning as many calories and revving your metabolism as much.

The Fix: If you are looking to burn more calories and beef up your metabolism, kick it up a notch and go for the cardio.

Mistake #6: You are what you eat

It goes without saying that if you want to see results at the gym, you have to back it up with some good solid nutrition. You can’t spend an hour working out only to splurge on a large pizza and beer afterward. Eating right gives your body the best possible “fuel” for the best possible workouts.

The Fix: Right now one of the biggest crazes is the theory of “clean eating” or what’s come to be called the Paleo-Diet. Patch says the philosophy is like that of the Paleo or “caveman” era. Patch laughs and says, “Don’t eat what you can’t grow or kill.” It’s a low-carb, high protein diet that pushes all fresh foods. Carbohydrates are coming from vegetables instead of breads, pasta or rice. Patch adds, “Back in that era, people were very fit because they were eating fresh foods and they literally had to work and sprint for their food.” The formula is easy to follow – choose fresh foods and balance that with short, high intensity workouts.


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