How to Rev Up The Metabolism pt. 1

A few months ago I taught a class to senior citizens…but the class wasn’t what they were expecting that day.

The regular instructor for this class was busy and usually taught a class called Zumba Gold.  What is Zumba Gold, you ask?  (I asked that too because I had no idea.)  Zumba Gold is a low impact Zumba class.

There were about 7 ladies that came in to class that morning and I was so excited to teach them something that I thought was fun (and also what every woman should be doing too!).  When they mentioned that they had their dance shoes on I was pretty honest and said, “I didn’t even know there were shoes to wear to Zumba.”  I also let the ladies know that I wasn’t a dancer and my body wasn’t going to work that way and so…I would not be teaching Zumba to them.  They looked at me a little funny and confused and when the words “strength training” came out of my mouth they then looked petrified.

During that class I told these woman that they did a great job and they shouldn’t shy away from those weights when they come to the gym, even if they end up being a little bit sore after the class.  I also stressed to them that they need to think about changing up what they do in the gym, to keep their body guessing.  Most of the woman like to walk on the treadmill, which is great, but they do this every single time and I never see them doing anything different.  That was my challenge to them as we finished up the class…mix it up a bit and get your body guessing!

Today I had a conversation with one of those woman in the locker room and she likes to joke with me and say, “I’m going on the treadmill”.  I like to joke back at her and say, “You’d better get that incline up pretty high then!”

Our conversation was a little different though this morning because I wanted to know what she liked about something that I’ve never tried…yoga.  Yoga and Jessica aren’t things that I see getting along very well and I know that I will fall, I will hurt and I just won’t enjoy it much the first time.  I am curious though about this strange class that doesn’t involve barbells and that has music that would usually put me to sleep.

Why am I wanting to try this thing called yoga?  It is the same reason why I change up my workouts, why I try different programs, why I alternate what I do at the gym with full body workouts, cardio and days where I focus on one area instead.  The reason?  I need to keep my metabolism going if I want the results that I have in mind.

228I have had areas of this journey where I have been in the rut of doing the same ol, some ol and seeing the same ol number on that scale.  During my longest phase of no results (about 9 months long!) I was working out 6 days a week, eating the same stuff and even cutting back on what I was eating…all without seeing the scale move in the direction I wanted it to go.  I had major frustration and times when I wondered why I was even getting up and spending an hour or more at the gym if I wasn’t going to lose weight.

What I didn’t know back in those points of my journey is that I was sending my body some mixed messages:

  • work really hard while exercising because you need to burn calories…but you won’t be getting additional fuel to recover from that hour workout.  Since we think you are starving we are going to just turn a lot of your food you are eating into fat so we have some leftover to fuel you when you are no longer eating and actually starving.
  • do these exercises that are really tough…but since you have done the same thing on the treadmill for a few weeks now your muscles are working but not burning the calories it says on the machine since they already know what to do at that incline and speed.
  • go grab those dumbbells and your muscles will help you lift them up and down and you will get so toned!…but we did the same thing now for a few weeks now so it may look like we are working hard but the reality is that we already know what you are going to do and we aren’t working as hard as you think.
  • You should be proud of yourself for exercising!…but you didn’t push yourself to the point where your heart needed you to be in order to burn that fat so we will just burn some sugar instead and leave all that fat there for you still.

My body was screwed up and as a result my metabolism was at a halt.  Even when I worked my butt off at the gym I was getting zero results.

My biggest problems were:

  • not eating ENOUGH good food…yes, I said the “e” word
  • getting too comfortable with my workouts
  • not pushing myself hard enough
  • not drinking enough water.  I am a pop-aholic and would always grab for a Diet Pepsi instead of water.  

I have another post in the works about what to eat, when to eat and all that jazz…but I want to touch today on one thing that I see ALL THE TIME that people can improve on if they want to see some results and get that metabolism cranked up again.

Let me pause for a moment first and let me just say this…only you know what your true potential is while exercising and you need to have an honest conversation with yourself about how hard you are working.

motivation 11My opinion is that people think that they are exercising hard and doing a great job but then…they can still talk with their friend while they are exercising or they don’t need to take a shower when they are done.  That is not pushing yourself to your full potential.  I’m sorry…it just isn’t.  (If you are starting to get defensive right now…I may have hit a nerve and you might be thinking that I am talking directly to you.  If so…keep reading and keep an open mind.  I’m not trying to single you out.  I’m trying to help you make some small changes that will lead you to the bigger picture of who you want to be.)

So, how do you know how hard to work (without passing out on the floor?)  Like I said before, you know your body the best but to help you figure this out, here are three clues to figure out if you are working hard enough.

  1. Working Too Hard.  If your body is getting dizzy or you feel like you are going to faint, slow down.  Another way to tell if you are working too hard is if you can’t say more than a few words.
  2. Just Right.  If you can say “Hi, my name is ______” and not be able to say another word after that without taking a breathe , you are right where you should be.  Work this hard and you will see great results from your workouts!
  3. You are being lazy…move faster or lift heavier.  If you are exercising and you can have a nice chat with your friends, you aren’t exercising.  You are talking while moving a little bit.  If this is the case for you then you really aren’t pushing yourself hard enough and you can do better.  You can get out of this zone of “exercising” and either move faster or increase the weight or resistance of the machine you are using.

0a369fb6e9a679c90bc469301f7c69a9Once you figure out what your real potential is…you won’t want to go back to mediocre.  I can almost guarantee you that your body will start to react a bit more positively in the direction you are wanting it to go with measurements and/or the scale if you truly get to your full potential while you are exercising.

Quick wrap-up…How do you get your metabolism going?  Here are a few sayings to help you remember:

  • Train hard or go home.
  • Push Yourself
  • Train insane or remain the same  

Want to see what I do for a workout?  Here is a link that shows one of my latest workouts.  For me though…if I am not sweating while I am lifting weights that just tells me that I am not lifting heavy enough.  Here is a video of a few seconds of me boxing in class this past Saturday.  This is just a few seconds…we hit bags for about 20 minutes, we hit the pads like the video shows, we shadow box, sometimes I lift weights and we also enjoy (ok, not so much) some conditioning…like sit-ups and crunches or other core type of work.  When I started boxing in September 2012 I could do about 10 sit-ups and I felt like my stomach was going to make me throw up.  Today…just this morning actually…I did 45 sit-ups in a row, the highest I’ve gotten in a very long time, and only #’s 40 to #45 had that pain!  Progress takes practice…lots and lots of practice.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams


Jessica is a certified indoor cycling instructor in Rochester, MN.  She has lost over 80 pounds and has a passion to help others with their own journey.  You can read about her journey of getting healthy here.


2 thoughts on “How to Rev Up The Metabolism pt. 1

  1. Pingback: How to Rev Up The Metabolism pt. 1 | The Journey | What Is Zumba?

  2. Pingback: The Journey

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