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So, what is all this talk about Metabolism and why is it important to me? First, let’s define the word “metabolism.”
Metabolism according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary : the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm; specifically : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated. What? Ok, so maybe that’s not the easiest definition to understand so let me break it down for you. Think of Metabolism as the engine within your cells that keeps you going. A car runs on gas; you run on calories, which are units of energy. Now not everyone burns the same amount of calories. Each of us have a basal metabolic rate, or BMR.
BMR is the amount of energy (measured in calories) that our body needs to maintain itself, including all the normal day-to-day bodily functions like breathing, digestion, circulation, temperature regulation and tissue repair. BMR can also decrease as we age as the vast majority of us gain weight, lose muscle mass and tend to not eat as healthy or exercise when we get older.
Why should I care to boost my metabolism?
Well, the answer is quite simple. The higher your metabolism, the more calories burned. Calories Consumed minus Calories Burned can determine Weight Loss or Weight Gain. Remember this: BMR is not the speed you burn calories, it’s the amount of calories you burn. So, the “I have a slow metabolism” is not an accurate or valid excuse when it comes to weight loss. We are always burning calories, even while we sleep. Some just burn more than others.
So, what’s one to do to boost your metabolism? Here are a few tips that can help!
1: Eat Protein
If you want a faster metabolism, think protein. Your body burns twice as many calories by digesting proteins than it does when digesting carbohydrates. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it helps prevent you from losing muscle, a common side effect of dieting.
2: Build Muscle
Speaking of building more muscle, one of the variables that affect your resting metabolic rate is the amount of lean muscle you have. At any given weight, the more muscle on your body, and the less fat, the higher your metabolic rate. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat while at rest. Building muscle mass through resistance training should be part of your fitness routine because as we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, so it’s important to work at building it. Even doing resistance/weight training just twice a week can make a big difference. And, don’t worry ladies…regular strength training will make you look toned, not bulky.
3: Stay Hydrated
Water is a key player in your digestive process. Essentially, without it, you can not efficiently and completely extract all the nutrients from the food you take in. Now if your metabolism is like the an engine in a car, think of water in your body as if it were oil in a car. Without it, your metabolism will not run smoothly and will grind to a halt. Shoot for a minimum of 2 to 3 liters of water on non-training days and increase those amounts depending on your level of activity. A study from the University of Utah found that those who drank 8-12 glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than volunteers who sipped just four glasses. So, make sure you are getting enough H2O.
4: More Quality Sleep
Not getting enough quality sleep has also been shown to slow metabolism in both men and women. Researchers have found that broken sleep isn’t nearly as restorative as unbroken consecutive quality sleep hours. Be sure to get to bed early enough and give yourself enough hours to get the rest and recovery your body needs.
How much sleep do you need?
Most experts recommend 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
5: HIIT Training
HIIT Training (HIIT) which combines repeated near all-out efforts with periods of recovery burns a similar amount of calories to long, slow, distance cardio sessions that last twice as long. So, why add HIIT into your training? Once you step off the treadmill from your steady-state cardio session, the calorie burn also comes to an end. However, with HIIT you’ll continue to burn calories for 36 hours after training. How can that be possible? High intensity training pumps your heart rate up to near maximum, which increases your body’ s need for oxygen. The body tries to overcompensate for the oxygen deficit during the recovery intervals and even after the workout session ends. This happens because HIIT triggers a reaction called Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means you will be burning extra calories during rest for a day-and-a-half following your HIIT session.
6: Golden Key
Consistency and Patience together is the key to reaching your goal. You have to be fully committed to doing the things required on a consistent basis and be patient as this is a journey and not a destination. It must become a lifestyle for you and part of your daily and weekly routine, a habit. We all have a routine or habit of some sort whether it’s a favorite show we never miss, a certain way we start our day or perhaps it’s that venti caramel mocha that gets you through the day. Being and staying fit requires both consistency and patience and must become part of your routine, a habit. But, it’s a habit that brings with it greater rewards than most!