before and after of personal trainer Westwood client

Metabolism Boosters

With all the talk about metabolism, can we trick our bodies to burn calories more efficiently? Apparently we can!

People with high metabolism burn more calories that those with low metabolism. Because every time we eat, our bodies rely on the energy provided by the metabolism of the calories we consume. The enzymes in our body’s cells break down the food and turn it into that energy that also keeps our heart beating, our mind thinking, and our legs moving. The more calories we burn, the easier it is to lose those unwanted pounds. And guess what—there are tricks to making the metabolism work harder, all day and night, 24 hours a day.

Egg White and Oatmeal Protein PancakeEat your breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up

You know that eating breakfast is important but don’t wait too long before you eat. If you do, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism to save the energy. What to eat? Egg white omelet with green veggies or a half cup of cooked steel-cut oatmeal with berries are your best bets.

metabolism boostersStrength training

That’s right! Hit the gym a couple times a week and make sure you do the weights and you will reverse 50% of the metabolism slow-down that comes with aging. Muscle weighs more than fat and uses more energy and strength training increases your resting metabolism by 100 calories per day.

Eat your Omega-3s

Eating fish not only balances blood sugar and reduces inflammation, it helps to regulate metabolism. Omega 3 supplements, flaxseed oil and walnuts work just as well.

Drink Green Tea

Studies have shown that those who drink green tea have higher metabolism because of an active ingredient, called catechin.  Catechins stimulates the burning of calories and speeds the loss of belly fat.  So pour yourself a glass and drink your way to a slimmer you.  Be sure that your green tea is unsweetened and calorie free. I have a client that has recently transformed his health and lost 10 pounds of fat by cutting way down on alcohol (I’m trying to get him to zero) and drinking green tea instead. He’s lowered his cholesterol, blood pressure and bodyfat radically.

Not into drinking tea?  Me neither.  No worries, there’s a green tea pill for that!

metabolism boostersCardio With Less Intensity

Of course, intense weight training will build lean mass and speed up your metabolism. Cardiovascular exercise will burn calories and but it is the steady and consistent cardio workouts that will ultimately burn bodyfat. For best fat burning results with your cardio, use a continual moderate pace keeping you at 65 to 85% of your maximum heart rate – otherwise known as steady state cardio.

Go Organic

organic food farmers market santa monica

If you don’t want to spend more on buying organic fruits and veggies, this may change your mind. Pesticide-free produce keeps your fat-burning system burning all the time because they don’t expose your thyroid to toxins. Thyroid is your body’s thermostat and determines how fast it runs. Also your thyroid is extremely sensitive and can be damaged easily by many factors, most specifically toxins.


Drink Your Water Cold

icewater metabolismResearchers say that people who drink 8 to 12 glasses of water per day had higher metabolism than those who drank only 4 glasses. And make sure you drink your water cold. Your body has to work harder to heat that water to your core temperature.

Spice Up Your Meals

Not everyone likes it hot, but studies show that certain spicy foods can boost your metabolism. Try to use red peppers, cayenne, jalapenos, habaneros, and tabasco in your recipes. Another perk: the active ingredient, capsaicin, found in those foods, may also work to decrease appetite centers in your brain. And ginger is another special ingredient: it’s great for your digestion but it also increases your body temperature and metabolic rates as much as 20 percent after eating.

Normal Fat Burning Supplements

So above I talked about Omega 3s and Green tea.  Omegas can be found in food.  Both are have other benefits as well and are available as supplements.  One supplement explicitly made to help in fat metabolism are the amino acid L-Carnitine.  Simply put, it tells your body to use stored fat as energy.  It is found in higher concentrations in most fish and red meat.  I personally used an L-Carnitine in my contest prep, now available in Universal Nutrition’s Super Cuts 3.  Another good supplement for this is CLA.  It’s a fatty acid found in read meat and when you diet and cut out red meat, adding this actually does help with burning fat.

Crazy Fat Burning Supplements

I call these crazy due to the high stimulant content and corresponding side effects.  These are high dosed caffiene, yohimbine and ephedra based formulas.  Some have all 3 plus green tea catechins among other ingredients.  These aren’t for the faint of heart (literally!) but to be honest I used them back in the day.  I’m not going to say they didn’t help.  They did.  But if you have high blood pressure or really any other health issues going on I would tell you to steer clear.


What?!? Acupuncture? Isn’t that for dirty hippies? Yep. The 240 lb human tank is telling you to get acupuncture to optimize your metabolism. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have treatments for the spleen channel which in Chinese medicine rules digestion and energy. Trust me, Acupuncture works.

Do it! Here’s my acupuncturist.  She’s the Best Acupuncturist in Santa Monica.

How Not to Sabotage Your Diet

14 lbs weight loss female
Want results like Stacey? (lost 14 lbs) Don’t sabotage your diet program!

So you started you exercise and diet plan, you are on track and doing well when something derails you and makes you say, “why bother?” Do you know which foods are the worst? Are you prepared to avoid the traps that challenge your self-control?

Protect Your Diet

1. The most important thing is to get rid of temptations. That’s right, go ahead and clean out your fridge, clean out your cupboards and clean out your freezer of all tempting foods.

2. Avoid alcohol and no, you cannot have a glass of wine. When you are tempted, tell yourself that it’s full of empty calories, will lower your inhibitions and will create food cravings.

3. Stay away from “the group mentality.” Ever notice when you’re dining out in a group how you tend to eat more than you’d like? You may even be tempted to order dessert since others in the group are enjoying a slice or two of cake. Tell the waiter what you can eat the moment you sit down and stick to it, don’t let your friends talk you into a bite.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. The desire to lose weight is very common, but comparing yourself to others who are also on the same journey is a recipe for failure. It’s great to have moral support in your weight loss journey, but remember, every pound you lose and every goal you meet are yours and yours alone.

These strategies are excellent when combined with knowledge of the “worst offenders” or foods to be avoided at all costs. Steer clear of these foods:

Foods To Avoid

how to tell if you are really hungry• Donuts, they are loaded with white flour, sugar and they are fried. What’s worse? They have trans fats!

• Margarine, it’s not better than butter! Avoid margarine at all costs, mainly because of trans fats. Unsalted butter is your best choice.

• Sugared cereal. I’m talking colored, sweetened, puffed and loaded with chemicals. They will mess with your plan and eventually destroy your body. Oatmeal with agave syrup and berries are your best bet.

• Sports drinks. Don’t believe anyone who tells you they will hydrate you and replenish your body with electrolytes. That’s what water is for. Sports drinks are chock full of sugar polymers and have no nutritional benefit.

• Toaster pastries. More trans fats! Seriously, just read the ingredients label, there is no food in them. They are made of chemicals that fool your body into eating more.

hotdogs This is not a fitness-related activity.

• Chips, greasy, processed, salty. If you crave potatoes, bake one at home and enjoy it with a pinch of sea salt. But stay away from these trans fatty substitutes.

• Sodas, including diet ones. People who drink diet sodas actually gain weight. The chemicals used in sodas trick your brain into craving food that’s bad for you. And if you decide to indulge in “full-strength” soda, remember that 9 teaspoons of sugar per can will not keep you in your skinny jeans.

• Baloney/Hot dogs, they might be protein but not lean! Moreover, it’s made up of animal parts and are so fat laden they could lube your bike.

The best way to stick to your diet is to announce your plan to your friends and family, and keep a food log. That will help you see what you’ve consumed and avoid foods that can ruin your efforts.

5 ways drinking wine can derail your weight loss

You’ve been diligently working out for weeks but you are not seeing the results you were hoping for. “I’m at the gym every day,” you say to yourself.  “Why am I not losing any weight?” When I start training clients, I always insist that they follow a strict nutritional regimen along with workouts, to achieve optimum weight loss results. But sometimes, I discover that people have a glass of wine with their meals, not realizing what a setback it is for their fitness goals. “A glass of wine won’t do any harm, it’s only 90 calories,” I often hear.  But it’s not about calories, it’s how calories are digested.

drinking wineI believe that if you want a toned lean body, you cannot drink any alcohol.  Not only wine, beer or champagne metabolize differently in our bodies, they screw with your diet.

Why drinking alcohol sabotages your weight loss efforts

1. Alcohol metabolizes differently

drinking weight lossWhen you consume any alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over burning fat and carbs. So most of any other kind of calories you take in just gets stored in fat cells.

2. Drinking alcohol makes you hungry.

It also dismantles your judgement.  How else could you explain eating at White Castle?

3. Drinking alcohol slows down your muscle recovery.

Weight lifting and hard workouts drain the glycogen stores (carbs stored in the liver and muscles) and leave your muscle tissue in need of repair. When you have that glass of wine with dinner, it will stall your recovery process. According to studies, drinking can displace the carbs, leaving your stores 50 percent lower than normal even eight hours after you drank.

4. Drinking alcohol disrupts sleep.

Who would think that one glass of wine can disrupt our precious sleep? In a study of both men and women, researchers found that those who drank alcohol with dinner, decreased their sleep by more than 30 minutes, especially women and particularly in the second part of the night. Researchers also found that disrupting sleep means reducing your human growth hormone output by as much as 70 percent, which is detrimental to muscle building and thus weight loss.

5. Drinking alcohol decreases endurance remarkably.

Most people know that alcohol is diuretic, but did you know that drinking irritates your stomach lining. Which can reduce your capacity to absorb nutrients. Looking at this from the scientific point of view, for every gram of alcohol you drink, you discharge 9.5 ounces of urine.  And when your body is dehydrated, your endurance suffers.

Yep, so there’s the bad news folks!  Am I saying that you can never drink alcohol?  No.  I’m just saying that you can expect to lose any significant bodyfat or perform at your best while you do.  It’s best left for your maintenance phase.

4 Metabolism Boosting Training Techniques

Beat plateaus by upping your game in the gym with this advanced training technique of muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion is about changing your workout in unfamiliar ways to keep your body guessing, this burns more calories as your muscles are not doing what they are used to doing.

jason triceps pushdownTechnique #1: Drop Sets
You use a weight that is at the max for your target reps. You do as many as you can, then drop the weight by 30-50% (depends on you) and crank out another 4-10 reps. You can do double drops too, as long as you don’t bother with tiny weights.

Technique #2: Negatives
Every time you do a rep you are doing 3 types reps:

1. Positive rep: lifting the weight.

2. Static rep: holding weight in the “top” position.

3. Negative rep: lowering the weight.

The negative is where you are getting most of the muscle damage (the good stuff). Use your negative rather than dropping the weight, and yo can even do negative only reps with more weight than you can lift back up. It requires a trainer or good spotter.

Technique #3: Active Rest
Do abs, stretching, lunges or calisthenics between exercises.

Technique #4: Modify Exercises

Perform different versions of your regular exercises; standing presses instead of seated, dumbbell presses instead of barbell, etc.


Want some professional help with your routine?  Check out my online weight loss coach offerings!

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