I often get asked, how can I fix my broken metabolism or slow metabolism. This is actually really simple, every metabolism can be improved with two simple additions to your daily life; 1) clean, high protein, lower glycemic eating and 2) high-intensity, slow method strength training.
In his book LifeFit, America’s leading epidemiologist, Ralph Paffenbarger, M.D., makes the following statement regarding the effects of muscle gain and metabolic change: “Indeed, when you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle, your weight remains the same, but you can expect to expend 500 or more additional kilocalories each day at rest.” In other words, Paffenbarger ascribes the resting metabolic requirement for 1 pound of muscle at 50 calories per day. While this seems to be a reasonable estimate for each pound of muscle you have, these experts neglect to consider the totality of the trained muscle and how this affects metabolic rate. Research indicates that resistance exercise or weight lifting gives your metabolic rate a serious boost – a lot more than just a few calories for the added muscle.
There are also many other additional benefits to high intensity, slow method strength training:
• Greater muscle strength gains in a condensed period of time (more results, less time).
• Shorter workouts save you time to focus on other important aspects of your life.
• Slow and controlled movements minimizes the force put on your joints, muscles, and ligaments, making it safe and reduces risk of injury
• Fat loss and increase muscle tone.
• Strengthen bones and reduces chance of osteoporosis.
• Improved circulation, blood sugar levels, and better response to insulin which improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
So, that brings me to my next question that I frequently get asked, how do I include strength training in my busy schedule and how to keep myself safe.
What is PhysioSlow?
The PhysioSlow fitness regime is quick and effective. It involves a powerful combination of extremely slow speed, controlled movement, proper form and minimal repetitions with the goal to reach complete muscular fatigue in a very short period of time – within 2 minutes of each exercise.
This workout is different in that you can build lean muscle mass quickly and safely by working out only two times a week for 30 minutes. This form of exercise is perfect for everyone regardless of your age, fitness level or busy lifestyle.
How does it work?
We strength train to make us stronger, but it also helps the metabolic health of your muscles as well as the rest of our bodies. Your muscular system is the largest system in your body and it contains the largest network of blood vessels (your vascular system) in your body. Improving muscle health improves vascular health. And, your lean muscle mass determines the rate that your body burns calories for fuel. More muscle means faster burning of calories, even at rest.
How do I get started?
Working with a personal trainer familiar in slow cadence exercise, at least in the beginning is important. Learning how to get your body to complete muscle failure, while keeping form will ensure your safety. If you don’t have access, you can still incorporate the basic principles of high intensity, slow method training. You can do workouts on machines, free weights or with bands, just remember, the burn is good! That is what you want.
Focus on all your muscles each time you workout, do a total body workout- upper body, lower body and core. Spot reducing does not work!
Accentuate the lifting portion of each repetition. Lift the resistance or perform positive work slowly and smoothly to the count of 10...pause in the most contracted position...lower the resistance or perform negative work slowly and smoothly to a count of 10. Do not pause or lockout the joints in the most contracted position of any compound (multiple joint) pressing exercise. Example: leg press, chest press, overhead press.
Use as much of your range of motion as possible on each exercise to develop full-range strength and flexibility. Concentrate on flexibility by slowly contracting and stretching during the first 3 repetitions.
Continue each exercise until no additional repetitions are possible in good form. When you reach about 1:45 seconds or more and the exercise is performed properly, increase the resistance by approximately 5% at the next workout. If you can do at least 1:30 minutes, lower your weights.
Once the weight stops moving, hold the contracted muscle for an additional 10 seconds and then slowly put the weight down.
Move slower, never faster, if in doubt about speed of movement. Do not ever sacrifice form for more repetitions.
Breathe normally. Never hold your breath while exercising. Keep your face and jaw relaxed, and never squeeze the handgrips tightly. This results in elevated blood pressure and could be dangerous.
Keep your body in a straight, aligned manner. Avoid twisting or shifting your weight during the movement.
It is preferable to exercise in an environment that is cool and quiet.
Walk quickly from exercise to exercise. The longer the rest between exercises the less effective the overall exercise effect.
In order to assure continued progress, rest a minimum of 48 hours between successive workouts. Monitor your exercise sessions closely, if progress stops exercise less frequently.
Sample Exercise Routine:
- Leg Press machine, lunges or wall squats (works quads, gluts)
- Abductor machine or leg lifts lying on your side (works abductors, gluts)
- Pull down or row with machine, weights or bands (works lats, traps)
- Lateral raise or overhead press machine, weights or bands (works deltoids)
- Bicep curl machine or weights or bands
- Core- can be done on the floor, planks, crunches, etc.
The key points: Go slow and do each exercise until you can’t lift the weight any longer. Make sure your muscles are under load the entire rep, meaning keeping the muscles that you are using contracted until you are completely done with that exercise.
Have fun with it!
Here is a clip on a sample exercise.