How to be lean and stay lean

Every one who goes to the gym aims mostly for two things: either to build muscle or lose weight through burning fat. To achieve the latter, to burn fat you need to learn how your body functions and how your metabolism affects your fat burning process. Let's take a look...


So what is metabolism? Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns its way through calories just to keep itself alive; to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your blood pumping! There are three main types of Calorie Burn that happen though out your day. Understand how they work, and you will know how to turn your body into a fat burning machine.


Calorie Burning


The thermic effect of eating


between 10 and 30 per cent of the calories you burn every day get burned by digesting your food. Now, you’re thinking “that's great, I burn calories while I’m eating!”, but not all food is created equal; your body uses more calories to digest protein (about 25 calorie burned for every 100 calories consumed) than it does to digest fats and carbohydrates (10 to 15 calories burned for every 100 calories consumed).


Exercise and movement


Another 10-15% of your total calorie burn comes from moving your muscles, whether you’re weight training, running or working.


Basal metabolism


This one is BIG! Your basal or resting metabolism refers to the calories your body is burning while you’re doing nothing! Sleeping, watching television or sitting down through a work presentation. In fact, 60-80% of your body calories are burned up just by doing nothing! So from that you will realise that the calories your body burn through the thermic effect of eating and exercise are by long way less than half of the total amount of calories your body burn while you doing nothing.


So even though exercise is important, the calories you burn during it aren’t important. Yes, really!! It’s not the calories you burn in the one hour you spend in the gym you want to care about, but the other 23 hours!


So if you want to be lean and get your body to be effective in burning fat all day long you need to alter your diet and exercise to speed up your metabolism. First you need to understand about the nutrients that effect the way your body processes food.






Protein is the most versatile player on your nutrient team, it comes in so many forms and it has so many benefits:


protein builds the framework of your body including muscles, organs, bones and connective tissues.


in the form of enzymes it helps digest food;

as a hormone, it tells your body when to use food as energy or store it as fat;

it transports oxygen through your body to your muscles and organs;

it protects your body against viruses and bacteria attack.

So protein is critical for helping your body function at optimum levels, and is why it should be the foundation of your diet for all these reasons. Most importantly, protein builds muscles, which in turn burns body fat! The more muscle you hold the more body fat your body burns to keep these muscles alive.




Fats are very important in building muscles and burning body fat! That’s right, you heard right.

But not all fats are the same, you need to get most of your daily fat intake from monounsaturated fats like the ones found in nuts, olives, avocado and oily fish. Monounsaturated fats will not only lower your cholesterol but will help burn off your body fat.


Fats are very important in the production of testosterone which is very important in building muscles, in turn burning more body fat. Now you can see the relation!




Carbs are the most confusing nutrient! It's known that high carbohydrate diet promote fat storage (unless you run marathons), many carbs like fruits, vegetables and whole grains help protect against cancer and some carbs have got fibre in, which helps to lose and control weight.


The confusion about carbs is centred on finding out how to classify them and knowing which ones are better for your body, helping you to build muscle and burn body fat.


Basically, the slower digested carbs are the best choice for you because it releases the energy into your body over a 2 to 3 hour period. On the other hand, fast released carbs or sugary carbs are digested quickly, flooding your bloodstream with sugar. Insulin rushes in and, if it's not quickly burned, starts getting stored as fat.


So let me give you few guide lines to follow to speed up your metabolism and burn your body fat and stay off!


Eat every 2 to 3 hours to increase the Thermic effect.

Make protein the core of your diet (25 calories burned for every 100 calories consumed).

Eat complex carbohydrate for energy and limit any carbs in the evening.

Eat healthy fats to help build muscles and burn body fat.

Drink lots of water. Muscle is made of 70% water, so to help build muscles you need plenty of water. Get rid of water retention, which happens from not drinking enough water (water retention feels and looks exactly the same as fat) in order for your body to look leaner and slimmer.

Everyone is different in their nutrition requirement; book a session with me if you want to discuss your body and goals in more detail.




Total Fitness Gym

25c Swanley Shopping Centre

(Above Iceland)





Mon: 06:30 - 22:00

Tues: 06:30 - 22:00

Weds: 06:30 - 22:00

Thurs: 06:30 - 22:00

Fri: 06:30 - 22:00

Sat: 08:00 - 17:00

Sun: 08:00 - 17:00


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