by Eve Lees
Tip # 6: Boost your metabolism program
Welcome to the next tip in the Boost your Metabolism program. These tips help implement new, healthy habits in your lifestyle. Hopefully they can give you a metabolic boost to make it easy to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy
I encourage you to follow each tip longer than a week, before moving on to the next. Taking smaller steps when learning a new habit is less overwhelming – and therefore more successful and permanent! Take advice from novelist John Grisham . . .
When Grisham decided to write his first novel, he woke up every morning at 5 am to write one page. He did this for three years. With his second novel he was able to quit his job as a lawyer and pursue his passion as a full-time writer. Grisham still continues to write at least a page every day – about 200 words or 1,000 words a week: 30 minutes to an hour each day. At this pace he produces two or three novels a year. Grisham offers this advice to emerging novelists: "Write your one page each day at the same place and time. Early morning, lunch break, on the train, late at night – it doesn't matter. Find the extra hour, go to the same place, shut the door. No exceptions, no excuses."
It’s not giant leaps but a series of small steps that will reap huge rewards. If at first Grisham had dedicated more time to his writing, he would have been overwhelmed working as a lawyer and raising his children. It's likely he would have abandoned his writing. Success isn’t launched overnight. It happens gradually. Even if your effort seems small and insignificant, like these various tips you are practising, the effort compiles over time. Habits take time to develop so be patient and try to do each of these tips for longer than a week. All the tips are permanently stored on this blog: you can advance to the next when you are ready to move on.
If you are visiting this metabolism-boosting program for the first time, it's best to do the tips in numerical order (I may occasionally refer back to previous tips). Begin with the first tip here: Tip # 1. All subsequent tips are linked at the end of each tip's article.
And if you’re ready to move on to the 6th tip in this program, here we go . . .
Tip # 6: Do an abdominal exercise watching TV or reading.
Work your abs! It's another metabolism-boosting activity that can be squeezed conveniently into your day. Many of us watch television. We often watch regular or favourite programs, even if it’s only the news. Roll out the stretching mat or place a towel on the floor and while you watch your program, do an abdominal exercise. And if you seldom watch television, do it while you read: Read a page while you rest between your “sets” (groups) of repetitions.
Pick one of these two suggested exercises (or use another you like better) . . .
The crunch is suitable for anyone wanting to isolate and strengthen their abdominal muscles; those who are fit as well as those new to fitness. And it's a safe exercise for people who have low back weakness or injury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyd_fa5zoEU
The seated abdominal twist involves a wider range of ab muscles and involves low back muscles too. It’s an overall exercise for your mid body or “core.” Caution: The twist is far more advanced than doing the “crunch” above. Those new to doing abdominal exercises can advance to the seated twist after practising the “crunch” first. However, there’s no need to do the advanced version the instructor shows in the video link below (using a weighted ball, which I personally do not agree with). But if you are fit enough, want the extra challenge, and have absolutely no lower back problems, do this advanced version occasionally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drvh39387LY
Another option: For those who feel the above movement is not good for your lower back (there are lots of opinions out there!) watch this video for other ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uVcuRnWxt4&index=6&list=PL8l32k1r15l64twwuevhTrcj-lFSvC_gX
Caution with back problems . . . If you have low back issues, perhaps stick to just doing the crunch. It doesn’t stress the lower back muscles. However if you suffer chronic low back injury or pain, it’s wise to first ask your physiotherapist if you should be doing either of these exercises, or how they can be modified for your particular back problem.
How often? For now, stick to once daily (or every-other-day), until it becomes a comfortable and familiar habit. Later, you can choose to work your abs as often as you like throughout the day. Save it for your television time or when you read. If you have to do it just before or after you eat, that's fine: This isn’t a long, grueling workout and the exertion isn’t so great that you have to wait a while before or after eating.
How many? How many to do depends on how strong your abdominal muscles are. If you are new to doing abdominal exercises, start with two to three “sets” (groups) of 8 to 15 repetitions, gradually working up to three to four sets of 25 or more repetitions. However, even for the very fit, there’s no need to overdo it with hundreds of repetitions. When doing any abdominal exercise you are simply working muscles: you are improving their strength and endurance. For the same reason you wouldn’t do two hundred bench presses (for the chest muscles), you shouldn’t do 200 abdominal exercises (for the abdominal muscles). In addition, there is no such thing as “spot reducing.” Endless sit ups or crunches won’t melt the fat off your belly. Because, remember, you are just working muscles under the fat! Fat accumulates where it is genetically predetermined on your particular body and focusing on one spot won’t reduce the fat that’s there. Sorry, but you have to exercise a bit longer, coupled with more effort and heavier breathing to ‘burn fat,’ no matter where it is collecting
on your body.
Tip: Afraid you'll start watching television and forget to work your abs? It will happen! Tape a note to your T.V.'s remote to remind yourself about your abdominal exercises. Or tie a bright-coloured ribbon around the remote.
Doing abdominal exercises needs no special equipment. Stretching mats aren’t even necessary: A soft rug or a thick towel will work. And there’s no need to change your clothes, unless you are wearing clothing that's too tight around your waist. You don't even need to shower afterward, because you won’t work up much of a sweat, if at all. Therefore, even if you are dressed for work and at the office, find a private spot to work your abs. You can do this metabolism-boosting activity anywhere; at home, at work, in the park, on the beach, even in your hotel room.
As you start on this new metabolism-boosting “habit,” continue with the other tips you’ve followed so far.
As I mentioned earlier, it's best to practise each tip longer than a week. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, be comfortable and familiar with each tip before trying another. Each of the eight tips presented over this program will always be accessible in this blog, so you can access them whenever you are ready to advance to the next one.
Have fun with this tip. Encourage your family and your friends to try it too, by sharing this program
As mentioned in other tips, if you do not want to follow this tip, you certainly don’t have to. Continue as you have with the other tips and move on to the next when you are ready.
And if you are ready . . . enjoy the next tip, Tip # 7
Have a short question or comment about this particular tip? Feel free to e-mail Eve
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.