To achieve a better figure for Vader, I had two goals - I had to lose weight, and I had to increase my upper body muscle mass, mostly in the chest, arm and shoulder mucles. You can do both in one hit - to increase your basal metabolism, build muscle. Muscle cells are up to eight times more metabolically active than fat cells; muscle burns more calories than fat.
Resistance training teaches that an exercise routine should start with warming up, followed by stretching and only then starting on the basics, which happen to be the larger groups. These are the upper legs, back, chest and shoulders. The smaller groups are involved during a work out of these muscles, but can be concentrated on afterwards. There's more on this subject here. Importantly, you can tackle both body-building and weight loss by concentrating on resistance training - not cardiovascular exercise! Not that I'm saying cardio isn't important of course, just not as important to weight loss as people think. Note how much physical exercise effects your metabolism: just 25 percent.
I almost had a slipped disc some years ago due to a lack of supportive back muscles. Apart from being good for a Vader figure, this routine is good news for my back too. Win!My fitness regime now includes:
Although difficult for some at first, having an ongoing healthy diet is also important to improving metabolism. Apart from reducing your daily calories, increasing your protein and high-fiber carbohydrate intake will improve the thermic effect of your diet. Your resting metabolic rate increases two to three times more after eating such food, so make high-fiber fruits, veggies, beans and cereal the main part of your diet. While initially this doesn't seem as much fun as a good fudgey cake and ice cream (and believe me, I know about good fudgey cakes and ice cream!), you can honestly learn to enjoy living like this. Good food does taste very good, especially fruit and pasta. Don't settle for rubbish - get organic produce, get quality juice drinks that are not made from concentrate, such as the most excellent Innocent smoothies. I've had a go at making my own smoothies using a Kenwood Concert - with brilliant results. Just chuck decent diced mango, fresh banana, orange juice and fresh strawberries into a smoothie maker and make some noise. Chill the results, have it with ice! You won't look back. Basmati rice with kidney beans? Beans on wholegrain toast even. You'll feel more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
A couple of years ago, I hadn't been going to the gym and I'd put on a couple of inches. I reduced my lunch diet to an apple, two Mullerlights and 250ml of Innocent smoothie, every day. I eat cereal and skimmed milk in the morning. My dinners tend to be whatever I fancy cooking up. :) While this prevented my weight from increasing, I wasn't losing what I'd put on. The difference came when I started working out at the gym two to three times a week. There are many benefits to increasing muscle mass, aside from acheiving a far better Vader figure.
You don't have to say goodbye to the jammie dodgers forever. I certainly haven't. When you've got your metabolism under your command, you can enjoy modest helpings of cake and not put on weight, because your metabolism will see to it. Just don't go too crazy thinking you can eat three Mars bars a day. ;o)
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