Burn Fat from the Inside Out

Randy Pollak is an over-the-road truck driver and chef. He has been featured on the Food Network’s “Emeril Live” cooking show.

Eating healthy is a great way to begin losing weight. But the best way to lose fat is to build muscle and let the muscle literally burn the fat from the inside out. Each pound of muscle you build will burn an additional 50 calories – even when you’re sleeping! Adding just 5 pounds of muscle can burn as many calories per week as running more than 17 miles. Anyone can gain 5 pounds of muscle over the course of six weeks by devoting one hour per week – just one – to exercise. That’s only 20 minutes per day, three times per week.

There are additional benefits of regular physical activity:

  • Increases physical fitness.
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
  • Builds endurance and muscular strength.
  • Increases energy levels.
  • Lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and diabetes.
  • Helps control blood pressure.
  • Promotes psychological well-being and self-esteem.
  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.

Two types of physical activity are most beneficial:

  • Aerobic activities: These are activities that speed your heart rate and breathing. They help cardiovascular fitness. Walking, jogging, bicycling and swimming are aerobic activities.
  • Strength-building activities: Developing strength may help build and maintain your bones. Unloading your truck, sit-ups, push-ups and lifting weights are strength-building activities. K/li>

I recommend using dumbbells as they can easily be carried in your truck. Purchase the adjustable type with a square profile to prevent rolling. A pair of push-up brackets and good well-fitting running shoes are all you will need to get started. Finding the 20 minutes per day is the easy part – when waiting to get loaded or unloaded or in the morning before you start your day. Don’t wait till the end of the day, because you will be less likely to exercise when you’re worn out from a full day. Remember, just one hour per week – that’s all you need!

Of course, leaner and greener foods give you the nutrients needed to maintain vital energy and build strong muscles. Below are a few healthy recipes.

Blackened Tilapia
8 oz. Tilapia fillets (two pieces)
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning, divided
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. butter
Olive oil spray

Sprinkle one side of each tilapia fillet with 1/2 tsp. of Cajun seasoning; spray with olive oil and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a heavy frying pan on high heat. When pan is hot add olive oil and heat until it just begins to smoke. Add butter, swirl in pan to melt and as soon as it begins to brown, add tilapia fillets seasoned side down. Cook until browned on seasoned side (about two minutes); then carefully flip fillets and continue to brown reverse side until done.

Per Serving (one fillet): 179 Calories; 10g Fat (49.6 percent calories from fat); 21g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 60mg Cholesterol; 167mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Grilled Tossed Vegetables
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 green bell pepper, halved lengthwise
1 large Vidalia onion, halved
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. basil
2 whole plum tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

Brush vegetables with olive oil and place on grill. Cook on both sides until marked by grill and softened. Remove from grill and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in bowl and toss with additional olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serves four.

Per Serving: 114 Calories; 7g Fat (52.4 percent calories from fat); 2g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 8mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.

Pepper Beef
5 oz. sirloin steak, trimmed – cut into thin strips
1 T. whole grain wheat flour
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 whole green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 whole red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 whole red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. Kikkoman Lite Soy Sauce
1 T. oyster sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix steak strips with flour and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in wok or large pan until it begins to smoke. Quickly brown steak strips, then add peppers and onion. Continue to cook until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about five minutes longer. Serves one.

Per Serving: 499 Calories; 33g Fat (60 percent calories from fat); 32g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 89mg Cholesterol; 385mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 4 1/2 Fat.

For more recipes and health tips, please visit my website, www.otrchef.com, where you will be able to download my “Cab Cookery Pantry,” a list of healthy foods, and my “Healthy Eating” tips and exercise tips for truck drivers.

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