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How To Increase Your Metabolism And Burn Fat While You Sleep

October 26th, 2010

Did you know you can program your body to burn more fat ALL THE TIME? I’m talking not just when you’re physically active, but every minute of the day, and yes, even every minute of the night while you’re sound asleep. Now that’s what I’d call getting your body to work for you!

Increasing your metabolism (or fat-burning ability) really is simple once you know how …

Here’s the scoop:

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which most people would more commonly refer to as your metabolism, is what dictates how many calories you burn each day just by being alive. Yup, even if you just sit on the couch all day stuffing your face.

For the average person, about 60-70% of the calories they burn each day come about by doing precisely nothing. All you have to do is keep breathing. Most people burn an additional 20-30% of their calories through daily activity (including low to moderate levels of exercise), and the other 10% is through the thermal effects of absorbing and digesting your food.

Making your BMR do magic tricks

If you want to be one of those people who has a higher than average BMR and therefore (more easily) burns high amounts of body fat you need two very important things.

  1. The willingness to work hard on your body through correct training and nutrition
  2. The knowledge to do it the smart way rather than the (conventional wisdom) ‘right’ way

And one of the smartest things you can do to maximise your weight loss is to build more lean muscle so that your body works FOR you rather than AGAINST you. Don’t get scared now – I’m not talking about bulking up or becoming a body-builder. Even a small increase in muscle mass can dramatically impact your BMR. This is a generalised calculation, but it does give you an idea. For every pound of muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50 calories per day – just by being alive. Sure, 50 calories isn’t much (about 12 M&Ms), but what if you were to build 5 pounds of extra muscle? Or 10? Keep in mind that 10 pounds of muscle would be equivalent in size to 4 tennis balls – spread out over your whole body – so it’s not as though you’d be physically bigger. In fact, if anything, you would look a lot leaner – I know I’d rather have 4 tennis balls worth of lean, toned muscle on my body than 4 footballs of pudge (the approximate size of 10 pounds of body fat). To put it another way (and I love this saying), you may end up weighing the same as you previously did, but you’ll take up less space in the world.

You’d have to agree this is a good thing, yes?

Building lean muscle

The most effective way to build lean muscle is to train with weights. For beginner’s, even once each week will cause you to build muscle. If you are more experienced I’d recommend 3-4 times per week. In my experience, multi-joint full body exercises are the best way to go when starting out. Some of the best choices include deadlifts, squats, chin-ups, lat pulldowns, seated row, bench press, dumbell press (chest and shoulder).

Remember that increasing your BMR is not something you will do overnight. Building muscle is an ongoing process, and it takes some people longer than others. Those with a slight build can expect to gain around 0.7 pounds for every 12 weeks of training, while those with a solid build may build up to 3.5 pounds of muscle in the same time frame. The flipside of this seemingly slow process is that committing to a structured (and, ideally, individualised) nutrition and training program will have you noticing weekly and even daily changes in your muscle tone and general wellness from the get-go. If you’re really wanting to turbo-charge your results then introducing appropriate supplements and perhaps a split-body routine would ultimately be the way to go in my opinion.

a note on weights and anti-aging

A final point before I leave you to go hit the weights room. Even if you’re happy with the way you look right now, or still aren’t convinced on the weight-training front, remember that for every year that passes as a non-exercising adult, you lose approximately 0.5-2% percent of the muscle you had as a young adult. This decline begins around 25 on average, and is accelerated in those are very inactive. This explains why so many naturally thin people end up with a soft and droopy look in later years, or a sudden and unexpected surge in weight once they enter their thirties.

The moral of the story? Train with weights and burn fat 24/7.

Have you noticed a change in your body since introducing weight training, or changing the way you train with weights? Please share!

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9 people have commented
  1. Simon V says:

    Kat i am 44 and since i stopped playing rugby i had put on loads of weight. However at the beginning of this year, since changing my diet and working out with weights I lost nearly 2 stone. I then had a biosigniture done working with Lucy and Richard phillipps. I followed their diet, training and exercise programmes and my weight is just falling off. I have now lost nearly 4st and I’m stronger, fitter and healthier than I have been since my 20s and every week I look better and feel more healthy.

    • Kat Kat says:

      Hi Simon. That is an INCREDIBLE story. Well done you :) and, of course, well done to Rich and Lucy. They are both fantastic examples of people who walk the talk, and I have a lot of respect for them.

  2. Hayley says:

    Hey Kat, Yes I’ve definately noticed a postitive shift in size doing weights training three sessions a week. I have to ignore that scales but keep trying on the ‘fat clothes’ to remind myself 14 to small 10, 14 to small 10! I was also recently inspired by my Aunty, her story will keep me going!
    She is 66 and recently fell off her bike, after her scan the doctors said she had a nasty injury ( cracked pelvis) however any other woman her age would have shattered bones, they said her bone density was incredible. She’s been into weights since her thirties.
    I thought that might encourage some girls that it pays off long term too:)

    • Kat Kat says:

      Wow, that’s definitely a great testimonial for the weights room! I know what you mean about not looking at the size (or the scales). Old habits die hard, and unfortunately many of us are conditioned to care about a certain number. A personal example is that in my mid-twenties I was about 60kg and size 12; now I’m 60.5kg and size 8. Density is a good thing!

    • Kat Kat says:

      That’s a brilliant testimonial for the weights room! I know what you mean about worrying about the size (or scale). Unfortunately I think it’s something we are just conditioned to do. I still get annoyed about the scale sometimes, because I have this ‘thing’ about being a certain amount. Never mind that in my mid-twenties I was 60kg and size 12, now I’m 60.5kg and size 8! Density is a good thing for sure!

  3. Hugh says:

    I just passed your post onto one of my clients, whom I am trying to get to weight train (circuit train) twice per week to stoke up her metabolism. This “trick” to losing fat is one that not many people realize and females, especially, are a little resistant to picking up the weights b/c they don’t want to bulk up.

    • Kat Kat says:

      That’s very true … unfortunately a lot of us gals have been taught to be scared of lifting heavy weights. The truth for 999 out of 1000 women is that even if they were TRYING to bulk up muscle they’d have a tough time doing so! Not lifting heavy weights is a sure-fire way to keep high body fat in my opinion. Thanks for sharing my post Hugh!

  4. [...] time. Add in some calories burnt for daily activity and for staying alive (digestion, breathing etc actually burns up a fair few as discussed in this post about burning fat while you sleep), and you can’t help but [...]

  5. [...] « How To Increase Your Metabolism And Burn Fat While You Sleep Do You Need To Kill Your To-Do List To (Finally?) Achieve Your Goals » [...]

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