Welcome to the third tip in the Boost your Metabolism program!
To assist with weight loss and/or to avoid weight gain, this program gradually adds healthy habits to your lifestyle. These tips can assist in increasing your metabolic rate – or how efficiently your body utilizes the food you eat.
Once a week – for eight weeks – I've posted a new tip on this blog. But I encourage you to follow each tip for longer than a week, before moving on to the next one. Longer is best in developing new habits . . .
At the recent Global Summit health & fitness conference one of the presenters, Bobby Cappuccio, offered a very interesting
analogy of the power of making small changes. He asked, if you were offered a million dollars right now, or one penny every day for 30 days doubled every day, which offer would you take? In our quick-fix society, most would probably take the one million dollars. But if you do the math, one penny doubled every day for 30 days (i.e. a penny on day one, two on day two, four on day three, eight on day four, etc.) would amount to over 5 million dollars! Cappuccio’s point is that successful lifestyle changes are not about making massive, fast changes – it’s all about consistent, small changes. They can accumulate into huge, permanent rewards.
Take your time practising each tip or 'habit.' Follow each one until you are comfortable and familiar enough with it to tackle another habit. These tips will be always be accessible on this Blog. You can access them whenever you are ready to advance to the next tip.
Incidentally, it’s best to follow the tips in the order they were introduced (because I may refer back to past tips). Therefore, if you are visiting for the first time . . .
Begin with week 1 here: Tip # 1.
If you missed the 2nd week’s tip, go here: Tip # 2.
But if you’re ready for the third tip . . .
Tip # 3: Increase the number and frequency of the ‘squat.’
For this tip you are increasing the number and frequency of the toothbrush squat introduced in the first tip (please refer to it here, before continuing with this tip!). However, you can still take your time making these changes: You can gradually, over time, increase how many squats you do and how often you do them. Otherwise, here are some ideas to start now, if you like. Remember to do a few stretches for your legs after each squat session, particularly if you are prone to muscle cramps:
Increase how many squats you are doing now, still keeping it no longer than 2 minutes: Do them non-stop or increase the amount you do while still taking frequent (but shorter) breaks.
If you were doing the squats every-other-day, increase to every day (but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to every-other-day, especially if you are now increasing the number of squats you are doing each time).
If you were doing the squats every day, increase to twice a day (at your morning and evening brushing). Or mix it up by alternating with doing the squat once on one day, and twice on the next. However, be cautious of overuse injury . . .
Even if your technique is good you may still be at risk for injury when doing high-repetition movements, non-stop, every day. To help reduce the risk, perhaps do your squats differently each time you do them (this also helps alleviate boredom). Here’s a list of several variations to pick from:
Do them fast in one session. Do them slow the next time. Do a mix of fast and slow in another session.
Squat down deeper occasionally (if you are physically able to).
Do a single-leg squat. Then switch to the other leg.
Stay lowered in the squat position and hold it as long as you can; on both legs or on just one leg (of course, work the other leg too!).
Rise up on your toes each time you stand upright from the squatting position: This will work your calf muscles. For more challenge, do them one-legged (again, alternating legs).
As you are rising back to the standing position, lift your left leg to place all your body weight on the right leg only. Return your left foot to the floor as you lower back into a squat position. Repeat with your body weight shifting to the other leg as you rise up.
Forcefully squeeze your gluteus muscles (your butt) as your rise from the squat to a standing position. Do this rising from either a deep squat, or occasionally try doing it with shorter, faster squats (where you barely bend your legs at the knees). It won't take long for you to feel those butt muscles when doing this short-depth, faster version.
Vary your stance, or how wide apart you place your feet: Wider apart (as in a ballet plie) puts more stress on the groin and inner thigh muscles. Feet closer together puts more stress on the outer thigh muscles. Check the illustration from week one (link is here) to verify proper knee and foot alignment.
Remember to do some stretches for your legs afterward (included in the link just mentioned).
When you avoid doing the exact same high-repetition movement every day (especially for long periods), you lower your risk of overuse injury and you work different muscles. Stretching after you are done may also help lower the injury risk (although exercise physiologists differ on this). At the very least, stretching will improve your flexibility which can contribute to fewer injuries in the future. So play around with this and keep doing your squats differently each session.
There are really no excuses to skip the toothbrush squat (except for illness or injury) because it requires no
special equipment – and you still have to brush your teeth even when you are away from home!
If you do not want to follow this tip, you certainly don’t have to. Keep following the first two tips and move on to the next if you like. But I encourage you to experiment with each one.
When you are ready, here is tip # 4.
I hope you choose to follow each tip longer than one week. Each of the eight tips presented in this program will be kept on this blog, so you can access them whenever you are ready to move on to the next. Remember, small steps can accumulate into huge rewards.
Have a short question or comment about this particular tip? E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want more detailed personal assistance to achieve your dietary goals visit my website. I also offer nutrition talks to family and friends in your own home, to your group or organization, or to staff at your place of business. (Skype sessions also available.)
Eve Lees is a Certified Nutrition Coach, a former Certified Personal Trainer, a Health Speaker, and a Health Writer for several publications. She has been active in the health & fitness industry for over 35 years.