Boost Your Fat-Burning Ability

Boost Your Fat-Burning Ability

Eston Dunn Special For eFitness

Do you have trouble exercising at noon or after work, even though you’re truly committed to exercise and it’s the only time you have to work out? Do you feel so exhausted that you just can’t face the gym? Your diet - rather than simple sloth - might be the problem.

If you tend to skip meals in an attempt to save calories, you may be robbing yourself of important fuel for your workout. While skipping meals may temporarily make your abdomen feel flatter, doing so can also leave you feeling tired, irritable and unfocused. Then you’ll be tempted to forego your noon workout, or go home, eat and stretch out on the couch in front of the TV after work.

However, if you follow some simple, sensible dietary practices throughout your day, you’ll get that workout done. And rather than feeling light-headed and exhausted afterwards, you’ll be energised and refreshed.

One key to staying energised to exercise is to keep the amount of sugar in your blood - and thus, your energy level - stable to prevent ups and downs. You can best do that by eating a series of small meals throughout the day - as many as five or six - that are composed of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads, beans, whole grain crackers and fruits. If you plan ahead and make time for grocery shopping, you can easily pack some simple meals and snacks to take to work with you.

Consuming complex carbohydrates helps keep your blood sugar stable because they are digested and absorbed slowly into the blood and don’t require your pancreas to produce much insulin. Refined carbohydrates, such as potato chips, doughnuts and cookies are absorbed very quickly and trigger the pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin.

So while they may give you an initial boost, your energy will drop quickly - and your mood will follow. The amount of sugar in your blood is also related to the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is an important chemical called a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

If your level of serotonin is where it should be, you’ll have a sense of well-being and confidence - and feel ready to tackle the treadmill. Should it drop, you may feel tired and depressed. If you often experience a craving for carbohydrates, this may be your brain’s way of telling you it needs more serotonin.

Doesn’t caffeine boost your metabolism? Good question. Many athletes rely on caffeine for the initial kick it can provide. Remember, though, that caffeine can also affect the amount of insulin, and thus, sugar in your blood. Further, it can cause dehydration, which can also sap your energy. While drinking a caffeinated drink may help get you to the gym, within an hour you may feel tired and too light-headed to complete your workout, or to do it well.

A better solution is to try spacing your food out by taking something from every meal and eating it 2-3 hours later. Keep in mind that finding the right combination of food and drink to energise your workout - whatever time of day you choose -- may take some experimenting.

It all depends upon your individual tastes and metabolism. With a little patience, an open mind and a little creativity, you’ll determine which foods suit you best. Also, the more muscle, the more calories we burn, so weight training at least 2-3 times a week helps too!

One of the many benefits of exercise is an increase in energy. If you are unable to exercise for physical reasons, keep in mind that a majority of weight loss does come from diet, and the maintenance of fat loss and improvement of health and fitness comes from exercise. You can lose weight through diet alone if you are unable to exercise.

However, you should try to muster up some energy to exercise because you can get benefits from short intermittent bouts of exercise. So doing 10 minutes of walking three times a day adds up to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity.

It's important that you take the time for yourself and begin to incorporate some activity into your lifestyle. In addition to increased energy, some other benefits include decreased risk of disease, reduction of fat, increase in metabolism, etc.

Exercise can do that for you in as little as 20 minutes a day most days of the week. Think of your body as a fireplace: If you put too much wood on at once, and the fire will smother and burn out. If you continually add wood, the fire will burn out. If you add small amounts of wood all day, the fire will burn strong and steady. Your body functions in the same way! Small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism burning.

Lack of energy can be related to a combination of several factors. Are you getting 8+ hours of sleep a night; eating wholesome and nutritious, easily digestible foods; gradually building up your exercise routine?

Your energy output is primarily a factor of your energy (food) input. Keep in mind that if you are eating a diet high in sugar or processed foods, your energy level will spike and crash. If you follow a sensible meal plan, you are fuelling your body all-day and keeping your metabolism burning at a higher rate.

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