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How to Burn Fat Faster 3 Ways

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

When the cold winds blow, does your fitness program become a bear and go into hibernation?

The hot days and balmy nights of summer are gone, replaced by crisp, cool fall temperatures. The chillier it gets, the less likely you are to take to the great outdoors for exercise. And if your fitness regimen is based solely on walking, jogging and other outside sports, you’re probably at a loss for an exercise alternative to fall back on.

As your physical activity comes to a screeching halt, your metabolism slows, resulting in the weight gain you’ve fought against steadfastly since last January.

Fitness expert Michael Stefano has seen it too many times: when it’s hot, you’re hot; when it’s not, you’re not.

“The weather is getting colder and activity levels start to drop,” says the author of The Firefighter’s Workout (HarperCollins). Typically when people reduce their physical activity, they start to gain weight. I have a tendency to put on around 5 pounds this time of year.

“It has something to do with the human body and the stages it goes through. When it gets cold, the body senses famine and a shortage of food. Over the next few months, it’s natural to increase your appetite this time of year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you don’t want to couple that with a lack of physical activity just because summer is over.”

With the cooler temperatures, people also bundle up to stay warm. They find comfort in big, baggy clothes -- clothes that also camouflage the return of the extra pounds youve struggled so hard to shed. Theres no longer any pressure for a bathing suit-ready body. So you slip back into your bad habits of eating too much and exercising too little.

“When you stop exercising, your metabolism starts to adjust to the lower level immediately. The basic metabolic rate goes down, as well as your fuel requirement. Yet, you continue to eat the same amount. Now you’re eating more at the same time you’re losing muscle mass. You have two things working against you.”

But there are ways to battle the bulge whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall.

You can’t change the weather, but you can change your workout, says Stefano. All you need is a set of dumbbells and 15 to 20 minutes a day to rev up your metabolism. By building muscle, you’re increasing the amount of calories you burn by 25 percent. That means regardless of whether you’re moving or at rest, you’re still burning fat.

Stefano has three resistance exercises (squat, push-up and leg raise) that work a number of muscles at one time. Not only are you toning and strengthening the muscles, you’re turning the body into a fat-burning machine by increasing your basic metabolic rate.

Perform 2 or 3 sets of each of the following exercises. Rest from 1 to 2 minutes between each set. Shorter rest between sets will promote more fat burning, while longer rest will tend to create more strength and muscle.

Repeat the entire workout twice or 3 times each week, but allow at least 48 hours between workouts. Use the Intensity Booster provided with each exercise to enable yourself to hit muscle fatigue at the recommended repetition range.

Squat With Dumbbells Squat With Dumbells
Start out by standing with your feet shoulder width apart holding dumbbells at your sides. Hold the head straight while you maintain the natural arch in your back, knees soft. Inhale as you bend at the knees and hips to a sitting position or as low as you can comfortably go without pain or discomfort. Allow the arms to swing forward for balance.

Your buttocks never drops below the level of your knees, and your knees do not extend beyond the toes. Exhale, slowly rising to a standing position with knees and hips straight, allowing the arms to drop back to your sides. Ideally, select a resistance level (body weight or dumbbells) that enables you to hit muscle fatigue in the 12 to 20 repetition range.

Intensity Booster: Hold dumbbells (as shown), but if you don't have access to free weights, simply perform this exercise at a slower pace to increase intensity and overall results. Squat down to a slow count of 8, and back up to a slow count of 4.

Classic Push Up Classic Push-Up or Modified Push-Up
Lie face down on the floor or mat, hands on the floor, palms down, slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and toes curled under on the floor. Your back and legs are straight. Exhale as you slowly straighten your arms and push your body away from the floor. Inhale, lowering yourself back down to the point where your chest comes within a few inches of the floor. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Intensity Booster: Elevate the feet on a step or bench (while your hands remain on the floor) to increase intensity. To reduce overall intensity, perform the Modified Push-Up instead of the classic version.

Modified Push Up Modified Push-Up
Everything remains the same as in the regular push-up, except the knees are bent and remain on the floor throughout the movement instead of the feet. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Leg Raise
Leg Raise Lie supine on a mat or padded carpet, legs straight, both hands under your buttocks to help maintain the proper pelvic tilt (engages abs). With your head held off the floor a few inches, exhale and slowly bring your knees to your chest. If necessary, support your head and neck with a folded towel. Inhale as you straighten your legs (make sure you keep the lower back pressed firmly into the floor), then return to the starting position. Repeat to muscle fatigue (in the range of 20 to 30 reps).

Intensity Booster: Kicking the legs straight out and near the floor will increase intensity (as shown), while kicking higher up, and away from the floor will reduce it.

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