How to lose weight using one key concept: metabolism

There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to losing weight. But there are in fact a lot of magical formulas that “guarantee” you 2 inches off your belly, circulating in the interwebs. They are mostly bogus and are nothing but an evil marketing ploy to sell their miserable products.

I do tend to agree that there is a generic “blueprint” to effective weight loss. In this article, I’ll show you one key concept that can effectively help you lose weight. 


Understanding metabolism 

According to Wikipedia: 

Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are the conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes, the conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates, and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes.”

In a nutshell: Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy and elimination of wastes in our body. The faster your metabolism is, the quicker you burn calories. The slower, the fatter you get (even with little caloric intake). The luckiest persons on earth who amassed this one-of-a-kind gift from the heavens are the ectomorphs. Click here for more information on the different body types.

Now that we know what metabolism is and its role in our body, the next thing we need to determine is how we can BOOST our metabolism.



There are two types of exercises: aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen)

The type of exercise that jacks up your metabolism is anaerobic, so our focus will be on this type. When we do an anaerobic-type workout, we perform high-intensity exercises without relying on oxygen. How and when does this happen exactly?

When you ran up the hill, you felt that burning sensation on your legs, right? And when you couldn’t bear the pain anymore, you slowed down or even stopped completely. What you basically did was an anaerobic exercise, the burning sensation was due to the build up of lactic acid.

Usain Bolt doing his usual sprint

The anaerobic system relies on carbohydrates as fuel.

This “burst” when you ran up the hill consumed more oxygen your body could produce, thereby flooding your blood stream with lactic acid as byproduct. The discomfort or burning feeling is the lactic acid basically telling you to slow down or stop until oxygen is supplied to that muscle. For this reason, anaerobic exercises are usually done in a short period of time.

Examples of anaerobic exercises include: sprinting, hill climbing, circuit training, powerlifting and other full-contact sports such as boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, MMA, among many others.


Repeated anaerobic training in a fixed interval is where the magic happens (or after it). High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of anaerobic training exercise wherein you alternate exertion of max effort with low-to-zero intensity in a fixed period of time. 

The concept: one performs a short burst of high-intensity exercise with 100% effort followed by a low-intensity activity or rest (recovery period), repeatedly, until the point of exhaustion. Brutal? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. 

100% effort can also mean reaching up to 100% maximum heart rate (MHR). To calculate the MHR for your age, simply subtract your age to 220. Ex: 220 – 30 y/o = 190. 190 beats per minute is your 100% MHR. (The ideal for healthy individuals is 85% MHR or in this example, 161.5 bpm.)


HIIT is a concept.

Whether a runner or boxer, you can do HIIT with some creativity. For example, a runner can do HIIT by sprinting on a treadmill for 1 minute (with max speed), walking for 1 minute, sprint for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute, repeatedly for 9-12 sets or until failure.

A boxer can do the same by going 100% on the heavy bag for 1 minute (jab-straight combination or anything to his liking), walk around the gym for 1 minute (recovery period), and so on and so forth. For optimal results, HIIT can be done for 20 minutes up to under 30 minutes.

(The example above is based on my personal experience. Like I said, HIIT is a concept. You can tweak the # of sets or the length of high-intensity exercise and recovery period to 30 secs. It’s up to you as long as you do the recommended 20-minute duration. If you can last for more than 30 minutes, it would mean that the exercise isn’t reaching its intended intensity level. Adjust accordingly.)

As you can see, HIIT ain’t for the faint of heart (pun intended). Always consult your doctor prior to engaging in any intense exercise.

freestyle wrestling – one of the most intense sports that relies heavily on anaerobic energy system

Why anaerobic exercise or HIIT?

HIIT, when executed properly (meaning close to or 100% effort is exerted), puts the body in a state of frenzy in a short period of time. It increases cardiac output, builds muscle rapidly, among many other cardiovascular & health benefits. This leads to a very high oxygen-deficit condition. After the intense activity, the body responds right away by doubling the rate it takes to replace the oxygen debt. 

This, in turn, increases metabolism for up to 48 hours after the workout. It’s similar to how your car engine takes a while to cool after a long ride. Remember the magic I was referring to earlier in this post? Do this 2-3 times a week and your metabolism goes through the roof 24/7! 

Increased metabolism = increased fat-burning, increased fat-burning = rapid weight loss

Contact sports such as boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA are heavily anaerobic. And the exercises performed are naturally the same as HIIT. For example: In a regular boxing training session, you are tasked to do 3 rounds of intense mitt training with only 30 seconds of rest in-between (1 round being 3 minutes long).  

Another example of a HIIT exercise:

The Tabata Regimen

Each set is 30 seconds long and consists of 20 seconds max effort alternated with 10 seconds rest. Repeat sets eight times for a total of four minutes. For Tabata “rest” sets, you stop moving completely, unlike the rest sets in other HIIT workouts, which are low-intensity but you continue moving.

Source on a study done by Len Kravitz, Ph.D, University of New Mexico, on Metabolic effects of HIIT:

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