Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Switch (Part 2)

It’s been a while since the last post about how to make The Switch happen.

I’ve been a bit busy(ier) with work, normal life, and mainly from my long distance triathlon training and racing. The Ironman race is going to be happening almost a month from now, so I had started to become serious (kind of!) with my preparation, and I have not had much time to write more blog posts. Sorry!

To make up the lost time, let me go directly to one more powerful tip that will help you take full advantage of your Perfect Fat Burning Machine:

Increase your protein consumption
With our current diet habits, we tend to eat too much carbs and too little protein. This is a mistake, because the right amount of protein in your diet brings you many benefits to your health, your fitness and your looks, too. I will actually write a full blog post in the near future about the Power of Protein to go into more details, but for now, let me focus on how protein can help you burn fat. Lots of it!

If you eat a good amount of protein in all your meals, breakfast included, you have three positive effects for fat burning:
  1. Your hunger is satisfied for much longer (so you do not eat too much during the day)
  2. Your metabolism becomes faster (so you end up burning more calories and body fat)
  3. You build -or maintain- muscles more easily (and the more muscle you have in your body, the more calories and fat you burn daily, even while sleeping!)

Three synergistic effects for the price of one!
Great deal, huh?!

So, how can you make it happen?

Start by checking if you are consuming at least 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of bodyweight you have a day. For example, for a guy weighting 80 Kilos, he should consume at least 80 grams of protein during the day. These grams should be spread out in each meal, at about 25-35 grams per meal (about one chicken breast portion or steak portion)

In my case, as I am training and racing (this damages the muscles and they need to be repaired using extra protein from the diet), I consume much more protein than that.

To make it practical, use your main meals to consume large amounts of protein:
  1. Breakfast: this meal is critical to boost your metabolism and set your day. Don’t waste it with donuts, cookies or sugary cereals that have very little nutrients in them and lots of calories. Use instead plain yogurt (a large portion) with no sugar added and fruits or natural cereals. You could also use ricotta cheese, or if you enjoy it, also eggs, ham or even salmon (I don’t like salmon at all for breakfast, but in some countries is very common). The point is to find what you like (yogurt for me!), but consume large amounts of protein for breakfast. You will notice a positive difference in your energy and hunger levels during the whole morning.
  2. Lunch and Dinner: make a large portion of either chicken, turkey, fish, beef or tuna (whatever…just make it large and vary it every day) and add lots of vegetables dressed with extra-virgin olive oil. Make a large portion of both protein and vegetables. Don’t be afraid about the calories! If you do not add bread, rice, pasta or desserts, you will not gain weight by eating this. You will instead “train your body” to burn fat as fuel, and the best thing is that you will not be hungry for many hours.
As I do not like to measure everything (it is boring and unpractical!), I check if the amount of protein I am consuming everyday is appropriate with two things:
  1. Are my nails growing fast and strong? Is my beard and hair growing fast? This is in an indication that there is enough protein in the diet to help build and repair body tissue (muscles, hair, nails, etc)
  2. Am I getting sick frequently? Catching colds or the flu? Allergies? This might indicate that I am lacking protein in my diet, as a strong immune system is greatly supported by enough protein in the diet. By the way, I do not remember when was the last time I had a cold (knocking on wood now!!)

If I think that the level is too low, I usually adjust it by adding extra protein using Protein Powders to supplement my normal diet. The chocolate flavor, whey protein shakes are my favorites!

Go ahead!
Increase your protein consumption drastically from today!

Try it!
You will immediately notice that you are less hungry.
Your body temperature will rise slightly (this is your metabolism speeding up!)
And you will start to see muscles in your body that you didn’t know they even existed!

Additional protein is the secret weapon to make The Switch really happen even with people that usually have problems losing fat.

As always, test it by yourself!
And then let me know if you are happy with the results
(I know you will be!)

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