With winter fast approaching and colder days upon us, our fitness goals become even more of a challenge, especially weight loss.
During the winter months, when days are shorter and there’s less sunlight, our metabolism slows down and our moods may not be as energetic. However, it’s not a total loss, because one of the benefits of colder days is that your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature and this means it has to burn more energy.
While you know how to burn calories in the gym, what you may not know is that you can prolong these fat-burning effects all day long. Thermogenesis is the name of the game. In simple terms, thermogenesis is the creation of heat within the body during energy production and transfer at the cellular (mitochondrial) level.
There are three kinds of thermogenesis – exercise-induced, diet-induced and thermo-regulatory thermogenesis. The latter form is further broken down into shivering and non-shivering and is concerned with maintaining the body’s core temperature. We are going to focus on the first two.
Exercise-induced thermogenesis is the result of action and the muscles requiring energy to fuel that action, whether it is cardio, weight training or running for the bus. This kind of thermogenesis doesn’t last very long, so it is important to find other ways to continue to burn fat long after you’ve left the gym.
Diet-induced thermogenesis is dependent on three things:
- The type of foods you eat
- The timing and frequency of meals
- The number of calories you intake
Digesting food requires a tremendous amount of energy and this means calorie burn. To take advantage of this process, opt for foods with a high thermic effect. These are foods like proteins, high fiber foods, caffeine and spicy ingredients like hot red peppers, ginger and cinnamon. Just by sprinkling your food with chilli flakes, you will elevate its thermic effect, creating a high concentration of thermogenesis which translates into burning more calories and fat too, and you can’t argue with that.
The more often you eat throughout the day, the more likely you are to stimulate thermogenesis. So, take your daily total amount of calories and break them down into smaller meals until you have 4-6 meals a day. Since digesting food creates energy and burns calories, the more you eat, the more fat you burn – as long as you stay within your daily allotted amount. Now you can see why skipping meals is so counter-productive to fat loss.
The number of calories you eat in one sitting is vital to the success of thermogenesis and fat burning. If you’re really serious about thermogenesis and knowing how many calories you need in one sitting to burn the most calories, you would need to take a glucose tolerance test. If you know your daily number of calories, then dividing that into at least 4 smaller meals will definitely sustain the fat burning effect of thermogenesis and help you to burn fat without compromising muscle.
Because protein is considered a highly thermic food – with a thermic effect of 30% – it is important to include it in every meal. If you’re a serious trainer, one of your daily six meals will be supplementing your workouts before and after. By taking a whey protein isolate shake before and after training, you can stimulate thermogenesis for a higher burn during your workout and can sustain this effect after your training by ingesting another protein shake afterwards – within 45 minutes of working out. This will also greatly benefit your muscular recovery and growth.
So if you want to kick your sluggish wintertime metabolism in the butt and get energized, follow these thermogenic rules and you’ll be embracing spring as lean and mean as you left it.
Originally published @ FITLODE.COM