How you move, how you fuel and how you rest should all support a Mad Dog Metabolism and you can ignite that fire if you exercise smarter to burn fat 24/7. It’s the ultimate situation for any of us trying to lose weight or maintain our ideal shape. It’s critical as we age to help prevent the natural decrease in caloric allowances. You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule and working smarter not harder. It’s the same for your health and fitness goals (assuming you already work hard enough). Burning extra calories even at rest is truly the prize. Here’s how to do it.

1. Lift-pull-push-twist and pump iron. More lifting in the weight room equals less weight on your body. We are naturally losing muscle mass, for some of us as early as in our 20’s. Women lose up to 10-percent starting around age 35. Using that as an example, we could essentially weigh the same but have eight pounds of fat where we once had muscle. Yuk. Actually, yuk+slower metabolism or what I call a Lazy Dog Metabolism. Less muscle means less calorie burn at rest. Mad Dog talk: get your ass in the gym or however you want to do it and get some resistance training in for at least 2-3 times a week for all body parts.

2. Intervals. Can I preach these enough? Move to the point of getting out of breath, recover for the same period of time, and repeat for a total of 20-30 minutes. Get uncomfortably out of breath, like running up a flight of stairs. You can do cardio machines, body weight exercises, calisthenics, dance moves or your own combinations. This is much, much better than long, low-level, Lazy Dog cardio sessions. Here’s a simple walking example. Personally, I love Tabata’s. My 14-year-old reported this after one of his interval sessions on our spin bikes. “I threw up in my mouth. I think I pooped my pants a little and I was wobbly when I got off the bike.” I informed him that he overdid it (ya think), but how hard do you think he worked? Mad Dog talk: no whining and work harder. Poop your pants if you have to.

3. Make sleep and rejuvenation a priority. Research tells us that sleep deprivation interferes with our body’s ability to metabolize foods. It also increases the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the appetite suppressor leptin. Your strength-building and repair time is your sleep time. Very difficult to have a Mad Dog Metabolism when you get less than eight hours. Personally, I can get by on even five to six hours, but I feel like devouring a loaf of bread and washing it down with liquid chocolate when I do. And, I said get-by, not thrive. I’m sure my metabolism comes to a screeching halt. Mad Dog talk: we are somewhat of less than our best and we are not burning fat properly when we don’t sleep adequately.

4. Fuel yourself like a bodybuilder or fitness competitor with lean protein and healthy fats along with TONS of fresh veggies at EVERY meal. Eat organic when possible and eat WHOLE foods so your body recognizes and knows how to process everything you consume. Lean protein and veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats and fruits (eaten separately and earlier in the day) since they are sugar. Eat 3-5 “meals” a day. No handfuls of crackers unless you add a source of lean protein, but even that isn’t great since crackers are processed. Mad Dog talk: anything processed is masquerading as real food but it’s truly a food-like substance. It’s crapola for your body and your metabolism. (Shameless plug time. My family’s staple is Shakeology and I add extra protein powder when we need a solid meal replacement with dense nutrition. Yes, I can get you a sample. No, I am not trying to sell you to make a buck.) Two other important notes, get that lean protein in your body within an hour after your workout. Small window to truly replenish. And, do I have to mention that you need a protein-packed breakfast? Guess what we often use/drink?!

5. Drink water-lots of it. Avoid processed sugar-all of it. Around half of your bodyweight in ounces for water. In regards to sugar, simple carbs include things like pasta, pretzals, chips, crackers, etc., and they murder your metabolism. Simple carbs and sugar stimulate the release of insulin and as we age (or gain weight), we lose sensitivity to insulin, and glucose is unable to enter the cells. Worse yet, this means that our body stops using those carbs for energy and instead stores them as fat. Bad. Just bad. Keep away from any foods that have ingredients ending in ose such as sucrose, lactose, dextrose, and maltose in addition to high fructose (corn syrup).

6. Manage your stress before it manages you. I say this all the time because we just don’t get it. Chronic stress causes cortisol secretion. Cortisol sort of “redirects” our fat into our abdominal area from other parts of our body and it is visceral fat which has been proven to be a key metabolic slow down factor. On top of that, we all know what happens when we get “stressed out” and need a time-out…comfort food, perhaps? And, it’s usually high fat, high sugar comfort food. Find ways to control your stress. One of the best tools besides exercise is meditation. Here’s a link for beginners.

7. Attention party animals, you will take giant steps backward after a night of excess indulgence. Most of you (reading this) are most likely not in your 20’s or even 30’s but if you are – enjoy your naturally faster metabolisms. The bounce back effect takes many bounces when you get to your 40’s and beyond. Our liver normally breaks down stored fat for energy but after heavy alcohol consumption, we naturally prioritize the detox over the metabolism of fat. In other words, the fat hangs around while our liver fixes our alcohol toxicity. A drink or two is not a big deal. Get to the six-drinks range in one outing and you are asking for a Lazy Dog Metabolism.

So, there you have it. And, don’t think I haven’t made all of the above mistakes. But, between my own life experiences and that of my clients, I can tell you that these seven suggestions will make a huge difference in reducing body fat and keeping it at an optimal level. Have you had success with any of these or your own? Sharing is caring!