This article is a big DO!
If you've been following so far this year, you'll have cut the junk food out of your working day, convinced a bunch of friends to help you move more, studied your daily and weekly routines to find out when you can prioritise your health and started your fitness routine early with good quality regular walking. You may even have signed up for a charity fundraiser to keep you on track.
This means you're ready for the next stage: Metabolic programming! Yes, you'll be using sciencey type words to make you fitter. Don't worry if you're not quite up to it yet, just read on. Once you understand the basic theory you'll be able to apply it in gentler ways and feel confident that you're making safe and effective changes to your health.
What is it? Metabolic training is exercise to significantly increase the amount of calories you burn.
Why? Over time this will increase your body's muscle percentage which, in turn, has a positive effect on the amount of calories you burn even while resting.
How? This is achieved by allowing your heart rate to increase to a point where you feel mild but manageable discomfort and then using a variety of exercises to achieve "local muscle fatigue" in large muscle groups.
A Metafit class, for example, will last only 25-30 minutes, the calorie burning effects during recovery will continue for 48 hours and regular attendance will change your basal metabolic rate which is the amount of calories you need simply to fuel your body. (See below for local contact details for Metafit classes*).
Where's the catch? It will feel uncomfortable, especially if you're new to exercise. If you've done this kind of training correctly there will be muscle soreness around 36 hours afterwards. Without guidance it's possible to get caught up in the moment and slip into poor technique and there is a theory that you may feel more hungry and likely to binge after such a class. This last point has been tested and mooted lately but plan your meals carefully until you're accustomed to how your body will feel after a session.
Where do I begin? Try a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or Metafit class to get some help from an instructor or look up some of the great smartphone apps that are available. Check out 7 minute fitness apps which split a variety of exercises into 30 second blasts. While not truly aiming for local muscle fatigue they will have a similar effect and can be done quickly anywhere. I've made a special pdf version of these exercises with adaptations to make sure you can start low and build up when you're ready. Download it here. Just choose whether you want Basic, Modified or Tough. Be safe!
This type of exercise requires adequate rest between sessions so is suitable for 2-3 times a week tops. You can still exercise in between times so consider a brisk walk and a Pilates class to complement it. A good rule is don't try it if your muscles are still smarting from the last session.
What do you think of Metabolic Training? Will you give it a go? Let me know on Facebook.
Enjoy Good Health!
*Metafit: Shari Sidley, SAS Fitness