Weight loss sounds easy enough on paper: You know that it’s a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned, so you need to reduce the amount of calories you eat while also expending more energy through activity. Changing your diet involves education and a fundamental decision to get healthy, but changing the amount of energy you burn can require greater effort.
For many people, one problem that contributes to excess weight is that they have a slower metabolism. This means that their bodies burn calories at a slower rate than someone who is naturally thin. For these people, going for a walk every day might not be enough activity to prompt the weight changes they’re expecting. Getting to the heart of the problem – their slower metabolism – is a smarter strategy for long-term results.
One of the best ways to boost your metabolism is by building muscle mass. This is because muscles are a major energy consumer in your body, and consume more energy than fat. You can think of your muscles as a forest fire, whereas your fat stores are simply one lit match. Toss a log (calories) into a forest fire, and it’s quickly consumed. Put a lit match to that same log, and it takes much longer to burn. This is the effect muscles have upon your metabolism and burning the calories you consume.
That’s not to say that forms of aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging, biking or swimming, aren’t important to your weight loss regimen. They certainly are, because you burn a lot of calories during those activities. But building muscle means your metabolism will work harder all the time – even when you’re watching TV, sitting at the computer, doing chores, or sleeping.
To add muscle mass to your frame, incorporate 30 minutes of weight training exercise to your workout routine at least three times per week. You can join a gym, if you want, and seek the advice of a personal trainer. On the other hand, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home using your own body weight as resistance. Create a routine based around pushups, crunches, lunges, planks, and squats. There are also plenty of exercises you can do with a simple set of hand weights.
Remember to fit plenty of lean protein into your diet, so that your body has the right fuel to build those muscles. And as always, stretch before and after exercise to prevent injury, and never attempt to lift more weight than feels comfortable to you.