Today we have the 1st in a 6 week series dedicated to getting you in the best shape possible by summer!
And with gas prices topping 4 bucks a gallon this week, we’re going to start with your engine! The internal combustion engine in your car creates motion and heat in very much the same way your body creates motion and heat. Your car’s engine combines fuel and oxygen to create thousands of tiny chemical reactions that run your car’s engine. The faster these (extremely quick) reactions (explosions) occur, the faster your engine runs. The primary fuel types are octane and, to a lesser degree, ethanol, both of which are carbon based (organic) compounds. Byproducts of this chemical reaction are heat, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other carbon particles.
Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins … all organic compounds, and your 3 sources of fuel … all undergo chemical reactions with oxygen that ultimately contract muscle fibers. We even talk about it the same way: ” … doing some cardio to burn a few more calories.” A (capital ‘C’) Calorie, is in fact the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water 1 degree centigrade. So, ‘burning calories’ is technically, literally, and figuratively accurate. But with respect to the human body, we also call it something else: metabolism.
At the chemical level metabolism is merely the production of heat through the conversion of energy sources into energy for body motion. Our bodies are, therefore, quite literally heat producing machines! The byproducts of metabolism is (like the internal combustion engine) heat, carbon dioxide, and other carbon particles.
How, and in what proportion these fuel sources are utilized is fully described in my Heart Rate Zone Training to Look and Feel Fantastic report. Just shoot me an email if you’d like a copy. Or, check out my Fat Burning Myth blog entry from a few months ago for a quick tutorial. The philosophy is quite simple: the larger your metabolic engine, the more fuel you require. So, if you have more body fat fuel clinging to your bones than you’d like, making your metabolic engine a bit larger will help, quite literally, to burn off that fuel.
Increase your lean body mass. Lean body mass includes bone, blood, and muscle tissue. Increasing your lean body mass allows you to consume more energy when you exercise, but, and more importantly, increased lean mass allows you to consume more energy when you are at rest. And we are typically at rest as much as 95% of the day, so having a larger, idling engine burns more fat. Lean body mass is living, “breathing”, calorie consuming tissue that continually requires fuel.
And just as a large SUV V8 engine will consume a lot more fuel than a compact 4 cylinder engine, the larger your body’s fuel consuming engine (lean mass), the more fuel you’ll consume.
How do I increase Lean Body Mass?
Well, uh, exercise! And in particular, conduct resistance exercise. Build additional muscle tissue, incrase your blood volume, and add bone mass with resistance exercise at least 3 times per week. Seek the advice of a fitness professional if in doubt.