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FAT BURNING - FACTS AND MYTHS

Your metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories every day. The higher your metabolism rate, the more calories you are burning and the easier it is for you to lose/manage weight. However, the problem is that metabolic rate declines with age and one finds it more difficult to burn body fat with workouts and diet alone.

The awareness of link between metabolism and fat loss/weight management among masses has given birth to large industry to provide shortcut / quick fix solutions for boosting the metabolism. These include, but not limited to, powders, potions, pills, drinks and secret techniques that are promised to raise metabolic rate and help burn fat. The fact is, very few of these metabolism boosters actually work.

1. Fat-burning pills -  Most fat burners are simply caffeine pills with a few other ingredients, such as  green tea, Hoodia etc. Independent research hasn’t proven the effectiveness of these pills. One may get an increase in mental energy from them but that is all; one doesn't get a boost in metabolism or burn fat.

2. Breakfast boosts metabolism - indirectly, not directly. Rich breakfast, comprising of protein, fiber, fruit and vegetables keeps you satisfied and your appetite in check till your next meal. Try having a rich omelette containing broccoli, mushrooms and onions.

 3. Ice-cold water with lemon juice - The theory is that body will burn calories to warm up the water, while lemon juice is a natural fat burner. This is not correct.

 4. Green tea - The claim is that green tea burns an extra 80 calories per day. The fact is that studies have shown burning of 80 calories in young men on the first day of supplementation. But it is not a lasting effect as the body gets used to green tea.  Green tea will help you lose weight only if you replace your high calorie caffeine mug with unsweetened green tea cup.

 5. Eating small frequent meals - This has been proven to be a good metabolism boosting strategy with additional benefit of helping in cholesterol control. It is simple and effective. Start the day with breakfast and then take small meals/snack/salads/fruit and vegetable servings every four hours. This will give you mental alertness as well as make body to burn more fat.  Be aware of the size of your meal portions; when we say eat between 6 to 8 times per day, this does not mean you should have 6-8 full meal size portions.  Think of taking your 3 meals per day and dividing them in half.  In theory you still consume same amount of food that is equal to 3 regular meals.

 6. High Intensity Interval training - Definitely YES. In comparison to cardio exercises, high intensity interval training results in a greater increase in post-exercise metabolism. Interval training is simply a short bout of hard exercise followed by a short bout of easy exercise, repeated 5-10 times.

7. Strength training.   Definitely YES and probably the best. It has been proved that strength training doubled post-exercise fat burning.

Magic pills and potions just don't work. The good news is that you can increase your metabolism through regular exercise and improved diet and eating habits.

Building muscle and eating the right foods in the right amounts help you keep your metabolism stoked.

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