Six Ways to Kick Your Metabolism into Overdrive

Dial in your best physique ever.

6. DON’T CARB-DEPLETE

I know it seems counterintuitive to not cut carbs and expect to lose fat and get defined, but most people cut carbs way too far out from a competition or event. And then, even when they do cut carbs at the right time, they cut them too drastically, or around a single meal or two. Your body responds both acutely (meaning very quickly) and then chronically (meaning over time) and those two processes are both critical for timing your look, but also for contributing to metabolic issues.

The acute

response is what you want for your physique to get ripped and hard. The chronic adaptation is what can crush your metabolism into a hibernation that would make a bear take a second look. Keep your carbs constant, and keep them relatively high (not less than 40% of your total macro intake). In fact, if you can train your body to work with 55%–60% carbs, you’ll have rock-star shredding capabilities in the long run. The trick is to teach your body how to use carbs, so when you do cut or load, the acute response is all that happens.

When you chronically starve your body of needed carbs, it will go in to storage mode, and turn just about everything you consume into subcutaneous fat. Additionally, water will  eventually accumulate, even with low carbs, causing swelling between the lines, making you look fat. Once you’re seriously carb- depleted, it’s hard to deplete any more. While true, when you go to load you may get lucky and time it perfectly and look ripped, but the effect doesn’t last long, so if you are off by even an hour or two, you won’t look so good. The cure is to take in carbs at every meal and keep them as constant as possible so your body knows it will always have them to deal with.

5. KNOW YOUR “CARDIO” BALANCE

You have two options and you need to decide which is more appropriate for your needs. High-intensity aerobic activity will do three things: burn more overall calories—but primarily sugar; increase your overall metabolic rate (which is good)—but it will create a large conflict with your muscle-gaining ability as it becomes somewhat catabolic to muscle tissue. Option 2 is low-intensity aerobic activity, which, while great for mobilizing fat—making it the primary choice of fuel—it doesn’t help with other aspects of pushing the metabolic threshold and improving your overall rate.

Both training methods are needed, and neither should be discounted. While advocates of a particular method would tell you the other is bad, I suggest a more thorough approach that boosts metabolism but prevents catabolic muscle exposure. To keep your fat stores at bay, choose the low and the slow more often. When that’s combined with heavy-duty, muscle-building lifting, it won’t interfere with the building process and will help burn of the real fat. The high- intensity stuff should be reserved for the times during a regular training cycle of trying to lean out, but also done in short bouts so as not to confuse your body with which fuels to use.

In other words, short bouts of hardcore sprints tells your body that the increased muscle provides more power and strength for those sprints. Chronic beating up of your body in high-intensity efforts tells your body that it needs to lighten the load to become more efficient, and hence, it starts to attack the muscle. To make the most of high-intensity training, do it once per week, no more than twice, and keep it short (under 30 minutes). But most importantly, you need to understand that cardio is not for creating a calorie deficit—that is why you diet. Instead use varying cardio to boost your metabolism by getting fats and sugars moving, to keep the body used to burning, and to provide the needed exercise rush to drive your metabolism. Don’t overdo it, instead, “underdo” it, so your body wants more and learns to process fuels more efficiently.

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