Appropriate weight lifting programs are crucial if you want to tone up (and who doesn't?).

Are you performing weight lifting programs regularly?

Learn what you can do to permanently raise your metabolism so that you never have to go on a low-carb diet or do cardio for hours to lose weight!

Gina Paolino, chest press, form

Do you have a "slow metabolism?" If feel that you do, you've probably tried a variety of diets. When people want to shed pounds, they usually start with trying to eat fewer calories--that is, they follow a specific diet or they cut back on portion sizes and snacks. Everyone requires a certain number of calories per day to maintain their weight, so by dieting people are hoping to eat less than their body burns, and therefore lose pounds.

More often than not, when you deprive your body of too many calories, you end up constantly hungry, tired and moody, or you just simply miss all the things you used to eat. The other problem with the calorie-cutting system is that as you lose weight, you need to fewer and fewer calories in order to lose more, since a smaller body requires fewer calories to maintain its weight.

It seems there has to be another solution--and there certainly is. The other side of the calorie equation, the number of calories you require to maintain your weight, can also be altered. One obvious way is through exercise. Moderate cardiovascular exercise (walking at a brisk pace) is popular with those trying to lose weight because it burns calories (also known as increasing your daily caloric needs. This means you could eat the same amount you used to and still lose weight. What most people DON'T know is that moderate cardiovascular exercise only burns calories while you are actually performing the activity, whereas there are other types that have a metabolism-raising effect for up to 24 HOURS after the activity.

There is certainly an effect from moderate cardiovascular activity when it comes to your body weight, but it can be fleeting. For example: a 180-pound person burns about 320 calories walking for a half hour at 4 m.p.h. Unfortunately, two extra cookies or a candy bar will put those 320 calories right back in your body, leaving you right where you started calorie-wise. Let's take a look at some other techniques, including by far the most powerful one, that give a more permanent metabolism-raising effect by increasing your daily calorie needs OR preventing a drop in your metabolic rate. What is that technique? It's consistently following weight lifting programs.

~Key No. 1~

Perform Weight Lifting Programs regularly. Weight lifting programs involve the use of free weights or weight-stack machines. They can also include challenging bodyweight exercises like chin-ups. Your weight lifting programs ABSOLUTELY MUST include heavy compound weight lifting exercises for the upper and lower body to fully stoke and increase your metabolism. These include squats, deadlifts, leg press, lunges for the lower body, and chest press, shoulder press, and rows for upper body. Isolation exercises may be included in your weight lifting programs as well: those hit just one muscle or muscle group at a time (such as a bicep curl) and are also important for muscle development, but not so crucial for raising metabolism and building muscle mass. Your weight lifting programs should emphasize compound exercises, especially if you don't want to spend tons of time working out. Compound exercises build muscle the fastest, and help maintain muscle and bone tissue when a person is hypocaloric (losing weight). Each pound of muscle you manage to build burns about 30 extra calories a day. This is why men usually can eat more than women without being fat: they carry more muscle, and consequently require more calories. Athletes tend to eat a lot of calories yet stay lean, and almost all of them follow weight lifting programs or intensive exercise within their practices.

When I say you need to do "heavy" weight lifting programs, I mean that you should choose a weight that allows you to do between 6-12 repetitions before your muscle gives up. Always maintaining good form, the heaviest weight possible is the weight you should choose (if you're a beginner, use 15 reps and lighter weight for the first month or two). The legs, glutes and back are especially important to target because they have the potential to develop more muscle mass than any other part of your body. By developing them through the proper weight lifting programs, not only will you have a tight, toned, and shapely appearance, but your body will also burn more calories every day as a result of that extra muscle mass. This helps you burn fat without having to drastically under eat or do hours of cardio. Also, consider the fact that you also need to be filling out your body with something to replace the fat that is melting away. Muscle is denser than fat, so as you continue to follow your weight lifting programs you will get more compact and tighter all the time. Both men and women look better when they follow weight lifting programs in conjunction with dieting--it just is not attractive to see skin and bones. And women, don't worry: over 99% of women just don't have the hormonal makeup to build a "manly" physique. You are doing this training to create feminine curves and raise your metabolism. Again, heavy is best. The heavier the weight lifting, and the more intense workout overall, the greater your post-workout caloric burn will be. This lasts for up to 24 hours after the workout--meaning that you are burning more calories than you normally would this entire time, even while you sleep. This extra caloric burn is in ADDITION to the calories burned during the actual weight lifting workout, of course, which is a greater amount the harder you train.

~Key No. 2~

Eat 3-6 times a day. The importance of this key cannot be overstated. Eating regularly works like a charm to improve your health, energy levels, mood, muscle tone, bodyfat levels… the list just goes on and on. It also helps your body make the most of the effort you are putting into your weight lifting programs. Ideally, you should have some protein, carbs and fat in each meal, minimeal or snack. It's not important to hit any specific ratio like the "Zone" concept, but try to include a bit of each. That way by the end of the day you should have sufficient carbs, protein, and fat and a good balance amongst them. For more help with diet, click here: free diet plan. Your best bet is to choose carbohydrates of the complex variety, which, along with the frequency of feedings, keeps your blood sugar regulated and your glucose metabolism in top-notch shape. Eating more often also means that you never get so ravenously hungry that you lose control. Dieters actually should be eating MORE frequently than those who are in maintenance phase. This is because dieters are more apt to be hungry since they are hypocaloric (expending more calories than they consume). Eating more frequently helps fight hunger and greatly aids in diet compliance. However, don't feel you HAVE to eat 6 meals. If eating 3 meals works for you, great. You probably could lose fat at a similar rate with 3 feedings or 6, at least when you start your diet plan. Some people need more frequent, smaller feedings to feel energetic and keep losing fat, however. This could mean 4-6 minimeals or 3 meals and a couple of snacks. Experiment with what works best for you. The leaner you get, the more tinkering you might need to do to stay on track. Eating often helps support the effort you put into your weight lifting programs, too.

~Key No. 3~

Get in the habit of 2 -7 days per week of cardio in addition to your weight lifting programs. Cardio (in conjunction with diet and weight training) is the best way to fat reduction, NOT " spot reducing " exercises. Some people like it, most people hate it, but to lose weight faster you simply must do it: cardio! Cardio helps people lose fat in a myriad of ways (and works best to help with fat loss in conjunction with weight lifting programs). Cardio helps burn calories, resulting in pounds lost if your diet is in order. It helps to regulate blood sugar and appetite. It helps to maintain lean mass (when not done to excess) and promotes loss of bodyfat. These things are true of cardio in general, but higher intensity cardio in particular is so much more effective for weight loss. If you are looking at the last 20 pounds or so of a diet, you will always lose faster and be leaner if you interval train. By alternating periods of recovery pace cardio (3 m.p.h. flat walk) with all out effort (sprint), you can crank up your metabolism to get that post-exercise calorie burn, similar to what happens when you weight train vigorously. In addition, with high-intensity interval cardio you will burn more calories per minute of exercise than you could ever burn working steady-pace cardio. Now, this intense type of training should not be undertaken every day. Some cardiovascular activity, however, is wonderful for your metabolism if you do it on a daily basis. This is not a requirement: one, two, or three days is so much better than none. But if you are looking to increase your metabolism as high as you can, do at least 30 min. of cardio exercise 5-7 days per week. If you choose to do more days, some of them can be lighter in intensity: such as walking the dog. Quick tip: if you perform cardio back-to-back with your weight training workout, always perform your weight training first. To find out why you should perform weight training first, click here.

Besides the benefit of calorie-burning, cardio also increases blood circulation to the peripheral regions of the body (limbs). As a result, cardio helps prevent fat storage and helps facilitate fat mobilization.

If you are not significantly overweight, look to do the activities that burn the most calories per minute. These include climbing (hills or incline walking or stairs) and running. Bicycling and walking are better choices for the significantly overweight. Recumbent bikes are a favorite for many who are starting out. Because you are in a "reclining" position with your back supported on a wider, more comfortable seat, it makes exercising more pleasant for those who aren't already in the best of shape. Click Some people like it, most people hate it, but to lose weight faster you simply must do it: cardio! Cardio helps people lose fat in a myriad of ways (and works best to help with fat loss in conjunction with weight lifting programs). Cardio helps burn calories, resulting in pounds lost if your diet is in order. It helps to regulate blood sugar and appetite. It helps to maintain lean mass (when not done to excess) and promotes loss of bodyfat. These things are true of cardio in general, but higher intensity cardio in particular is so much more effective for weight loss. If you are looking at the last 20 pounds or so of a diet, you will always lose faster and be leaner if you interval train. By alternating periods of recovery pace cardio (3 m.p.h. flat walk) with all out effort (sprint), you can crank up your metabolism to get that post-exercise calorie burn, similar to what happens when you weight train vigorously. In addition, with high-intensity interval cardio you will burn more calories per minute of exercise than you could ever burn working steady-pace cardio. Now, this intense type of training should not be undertaken every day. Some cardiovascular activity, however, is wonderful for your metabolism if you do it on a daily basis. This is not a requirement: one, two, or three days is so much better than none. But if you are looking to increase your metabolism as high as you can, do at least 30 min. of cardio exercise 5-7 days per week. If you choose to do more days, some of them can be lighter in intensity: such as walking the dog.


Besides the benefit of calorie-burning, cardio also increases blood circulation to the peripheral regions of the body (limbs). As a result, cardio helps prevent fat storage and helps facilitate fat mobilization. If you are going to perform cardio and weights back-to-back, as a general rule it's best to perform your cardio first.

If you are not significantly overweight, look to do the activities that burn the most calories per minute. These include climbing (hills or incline walking or stairs) and running. Bicycling and walking are better choices for the significantly overweight. Recumbent bikes are a favorite for many who are starting out. Because you are in a "reclining" position with your back supported on a wider, more comfortable seat, it makes exercising more pleasant for those who aren't already in the best of shape.

If you are just starting an exercise program, you need to stick to bicycling or walking until you have developed a fitness base from which to achieve higher and higher intensities. People who are just starting out get so much out of just doing SOMETHING that you should take advantage and move, but don't push yourself to the limit. You don't need to, and it's not healthy. Just get yourself into a routine and you will eventually achieve all your goals. A treadmill or elliptical trainer are good choices for home cardio equipment that can accommodate all levels of fitness.

Visit our treadmills page to begin supplementing your weight lifting programs with some cardio. Or, perhaps you'd rather use an elliptical machine for your cardiovascular workout.

~Key No. 4~

Active recreation. If you spend your free time engaging in active pursuits, you will be burning extra calories and having fun at the same time. What could be easier? Watching TV and sitting at the computer are the worst things you can be doing for your waistline. Actually, eating while doing said activities probably is worse…but you get the idea. If you don’t already partake, think of things you used to do as a kid or that you have done in the past, or that you do once in a while and enjoy it, and make it a regular habit. This activity will help supplement your cardio and your weight lifting programs. Find a friend or family member to enjoy the activity with you. Skiing, pickup basketball, hiking, leisurely bike rides, these all are ideas. You will burn lots of calories and have lots of fun. You'll find these activities even more enjoyable when you're in good shape due to following cardio and weight lifting programs. Another thing you might consider, if you don’t do this already, is completing household jobs like mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway by yourself instead of letting someone else do it or hiring someone to do it. You can earn some brownie points or save a few bucks, and burn some serious calories.

~Key No. 5~

On the job (or at home), move! Whenever you have a choice, always choose movement. you don't want to limit your "exercise" to cardio and weight lifting programs. When there are boxes to be carried or errands that can be run on foot, jump in and volunteer to do it. If you are talking on the phone, stand up and pace instead of sitting. Save some of the active tasks to yourself and delegate the sedentary ones to others. See, it’s funny that in today’s world every effort is made to do less physical work- and look where it got us! About half of American adults are overweight. Yikes! In our relentless pursuit for convenience and ease of living, we have made ourselves (as a society in general) sick and unhealthy.

~Key No. 6~

Supplements. Here, we get more into the issue of preventing metabolism slowdown. Did you know that deficiencies in any of the vitamins and minerals our body needs can set you up for a metabolic slowdown? All the processes the body depends on to function at its peak require everything to be available in sufficient quantity, some on a daily basis. You won't progress much with your weight lifting programs and your cardio if you are deficient in vitamins and minerals. The water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the body for any significant length of time. Unfortunately, in the American diet it is hard to get all of the micronutrients that used to be readily available in food. Most of our food is stripped of its vitamins and minerals by the food processing; sometimes, the companies add synthetic ones back in to try to make up for this. "Enriched" products are made in this way. They will never be as nutritious as the natural food, but unfortunately this high-quality, nutritious food is harder and harder (and much more expensive in the organic products, which are sometimes unknown as to their nutrient status) to come by these days. However, by eating a balanced diet that contains sufficient calories and a variety of foods, you can greatly increase the amount of quality nutrition your diet provides. Click here for help constructing your own diet plan.

A multivitamin/mineral can go a long way to setting your needs straight. Weight lifting programs and cardiovascular exercise also "cost" your body nutrients, so if you exercise it's ultra-important that you supplement to be sure you're getting everything you need.

Beyond that, we have the issue of minimum versus optimal nutrient levels. The RDA states the amount of vitamins and minerals you need to avoid being sick, but not necessarily the amount you need to thrive. Certain substances, one being creatine monohydrate, has a significant effect when taken in doses impossible to obtain through food alone. You can get by just fine without it, but your friend who is doing everything the same as you plus supplementing with creatine will be leaner with more muscle, therefore a higher metabolism, and less fat--thus getting better results even when following the same weight lifting programs. Some experts believe that vitamin C should be taken in mega doses while dieting to aid in immunity and recovery via the reduction of free radicals. Indirectly, these things all contribute to a higher metabolism. Fish oils are another great supplement. If you are deficient in the essential fatty acids, which is quite common, fat burning is slowed and muscle loss is common. All these supplements I've mentioned can be found in the highest quality and best price here: my recommendation for the best place to get supplements for your health, your cardio performance, and your performance with your weight lifting programs.

~Key No. 7~

Good night’s rest. 6-9 hours of sleep (whatever amount makes you feel like you had a great night’s rest without needing an alarm clock to wake up) sets the stage for you to have an efficiently running metabolism. Chronic sleep loss affects the processing and storing of carbohydrates and the regulation of hormone secretion. The effect can be so drastic that after just one week the changes resembled the effects of advanced age and the early stages of diabetes. Loss of sleep also increases the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone that eats away muscle and bone tissue and increases the deposition of abdominal fat. Yes, you really can be so stressed out that you develop a gut! If you have more fat stored around your middle, it may be due to this hormone, or to a diet high in sugars and alcohol.

So how do you get enough sleep? Well, the answer depends on why you might be a poor sleeper. Some people do get tired but purposefully stay up late and awaken early to try to get more things done. If this is the case for you, don’t bother. You are harming your body too much, and it is proven that sleep deprived people are LESS productive per hour worked. Discipline yourself to stick to a set bedtime. Don’t watch T.V. in bed and avoid doing stressful work in the bedroom. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid performing cardio or weight lifting programs in the three-hour period before bed. And DON'T be guzzling coffee or cola all day (or other beverages high in caffeine) and expect to get a good night’s sleep. Even if you ARE able to fall asleep, having caffeine in your system (it has a four-hour half life, so yes it is still in your system) makes for a less restful, restorative sleep. You just don’t hit the deep phases like your non-caffeinated friend does. One or two cups in the morning is OK, and tea is OK. Any more, and you’re in trouble. Besides these simple sleep habits, you might need additional help, possibly even medication for insomnia. This information is beyond the scope of this article, but look into ways to get more sleep if you aren’t right now. Check out The Better Sleep Council for more sleep tips.

Well, there you have it: The seven foolproof tactics for you to apply to your life. Every one of them is guaranteed on my word to affect your metabolism for the better. That means that if you are taking in a good amount of healthful calories through your diet you will still be losing weight, at least one pound a week. The adequate calories are an important part of this: food is actually thermogenic, meaning it requires energy to be assimilated into the body. Yes, eating calories burns calories! Some people try to be really gung-ho and they do everything above to raise their metabolism, then do everything possible to eat as few calories as possible, including skipping meals, avoiding animal protein, avoiding all fat, eating salad every day for lunch…the body goes into a shock emergency state at that point to conserve calorie and fat stores because it perceives the energy crisis. This is BAD for your long-term weight loss goals because your metabolism will be slowed to a crawl. The ideal situation is for you to be eating just slightly less than you burn each day, resulting in a steady weight loss without those rapid losses and gains or the dreaded plateau. Weight lifting programs and cardio programs are powerful tools in keeping weight loss moving and keeping you healthy.

These seven steps might seem overwhelming, but maybe you are already doing a couple of them. You can start with just one and incorporate it into your life: I PROMISE you, you will notice the difference. Remember, think "progress" not "perfection." Every little bit helps. The number one thing you should do is start following a variety of weight lifting programs if you haven’t been already. “Behaviors,” including following weight lifting programs, generally take at 30 days to become habits, but once you are in the groove you will be well on your way to having a lean, toned body.

Click here is you'd like help on finding the time to exercise, even if you've got a demanding job or young children to take care of.

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Need help with your weight lifting programs?
Don't hesitate to contact Gina.

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