It is your metabolism. You are stuck with it, so take care of it, burn fat and lose weight. And, you will feel and look better.
If you have damaged your metabolism due to chronic starvation dieting, it can probably be repaired. Start today by eating better and sleeping adequately every day.
Are you gaining weight because of a slow metabolism? No. Absent medical conditions, you are gaining weight primarily because you are maintaining daily calorie surpluses (eating more calories than you burn).
For purposes of this discussion, metabolism is basically all the chemical reactions that happen when your body is converting food into energy.
3 Major Components Make up Metabolism:
1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – Your BMR burns up to 75% of your daily calories. Your BMR is the number of calories you’d burn if you did nothing all day, or, stated another way, the amount of calories your body needs to maintain itself at rest.
The starting point for determining your daily calorie needs begins with your BMR. It is critical for you to know your BMR if you are attempting to burn fat and lose weight. If you maintain consistent daily calorie surpluses, you will gain weight and fat no matter how fast your metabolism hums.
Not everyone burns calories at the same rate. Some factors that influence the speed of your metabolism are:
a) Your age. Your metabolism will start to slow down in your 20s if you become a couch potato. Your metabolism may slow down about 5% per decade after age 30 if you are sedentary. And, as stated earlier, too many starvation diets will damage your metabolism.
b) Gender. Men generally burn more calories at rest than women.
c) Your proportion of muscle mass to fat mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. Your body has to work harder to maintain muscle mass because it is metabolically active tissue.
d) Heredity also plays a part in your body’s rate of metabolism.
e) Thyroid problems may also cause your metabolism to slow down.
2. Physical Activity – A huge part of the fitness lifestyle is to stay as active as possible every day, even between workouts. By staying active, you keep your fat burning enzymes and metabolism active.
Don’t make the mistake of lying around as much as possible until your workout. Research proves that your fat-burning enzymes shut down when you sit down. Get up and move around during the day to keep your metabolism ramped up all day and burn more fat and calories.
Stand-up desks are becoming more popular to keep you active and alert during the long day.
3. Thermic Effect of Food – The foods you eat require energy to be broken down and processed in the body. The thermic effect for protein is about twice as high as it is for carbohydrates or fats. Higher protein consumption means you will have a higher metabolic rate and improved fat burning.
Fibrous and spicy foods also increase this thermic effect.
As you can see, you have the most control over physical activity and what you eat, as far as significantly improving your metabolic rate during the day and at rest.
How to Keep Your Metabolism Active at Any Age:
Growing old, overweight and fat is NOT inevitable. Absent medical problems, you control how well your body ages. Can your muscle mass change into body fat? Read this question and my answer…..
Client Question: “I used to have a pretty muscular body when I was younger…now at age 41, because I haven’t been exercising, alot of my muscles have turned into fat. What can I do to change my body?”
Mark’s Answer: “Muscle never changes into body fat and vice-versa. Because you have been inactive, your muscles have lost mass (atrophy). And, your fat cells were still there although they had shrunken. So, now the fat cells are refilling and newer ones are growing also.
First things first, you don’t need to eat as much at age 41 as you did at age 20 or 30. This sounds simple but many people fall into this eating trap.
Muscle mass is the most metabolically active tissue in your body and your top fat-burning tool. Muscle mass can be maintained/increased (and body fat decreased) throughout your life with consistent strength training.
In your early thirties, you can begin to lose as much as one-half pound of muscle each year. Inactivity will make this problem even worse. Remember, muscle mass speeds up your metabolism because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle mass (interpretation: your metabolism has slowed down). So, you begin to lose muscle mass and gain body fat.
Research and my personal experience as an exerciser and personal trainer proves that a combination of full-body strength training (including bodyweight training) and high intensity interval cardio training is best for optimal fat-burning, muscle strength/endurance, cardio-respiratory health and bone density benefits.
Strength training should be tailored to your body type. We all have a body type due to heredity and lifestyle choices. A fitness assessment is important because a personal trainer identifies postural weaknesses and muscle imbalances. The fitness program is then tailored to fit your needs. Without this assessment, you are shooting in the dark.”
10 Active Rest Tips Between Workouts
Staying active as much as possible every day will help keep your metabolism active and burning calories. It is more fun to burn calories without thinking about it.
- walk 30 moderately-paced minutes
- go swimming or walk laps in the pool
- walk-in-place while you watch television
- take a 30-minute bike ride after dinner
- take walking breaks at work
- walk or bike when you can instead of driving the car
- walk your dog
- do yardwork
- do your house chores
- walk at least 5 minutes every waking hour
It is your metabolism. Keep it active every day.