The term ‘metabolism’ is used to describe all the different chemical reactions that occur within your body in order to sustain and maintain your life.
They can conveniently be divided into two sections.
● Catabolism – This describes the process by which molecules are broken down to obtain energy.
● Anabolism – This describes the process by which compounds are synthesized in order to feed and build cells.
In slightly more technical terms you can break the function of your metabolism into three different groups:
The Resting Metabolic Rate, or ‘RMR’ – Looks at your body in a resting and awake state, and the amount of energy that is needed to fuel all bodily functions in this state.
The Thermic Effect of Activity, or ‘TEA’ – Refers to the rate at which you burn through calories when exercising or being active throughout your day.
The Thermic Effect of Feeding, or ‘TEF’ – Is used to determine the number of calories required during the eating and digesting of food.
So, as you may have gleaned from this, one of the leading roles your metabolism plays in your body, is the digestion and conversion of foods into energy. Which is why your metabolism is such an important consideration when we talk fitness and health! You may often hear people expressing a desire to ‘speed up’ their metabolic rate (or total energy expenditure), in order to help them achieve their fitness goals. The reason for this is two-fold.
Firstly the rate at which your metabolism functions directly affects the rate at which you burn through calories when resting or participating in everyday activities. So the faster your metabolism, the more calories you will be burning, simply through standing up and walking to your refrigerator!
Secondly the faster your metabolic rate, the more energized you feel at any given time throughout your day. This means you will have more fuel powering you through your workouts so you can push that little bit harder for that little bit longer!
People with slower metabolisms tend to have less energy and put weight on easier than people with faster metabolisms. Unfortunately, the reality is that having a slow metabolism may be something your parents have passed down to you. Don’t let that put you off though, there are numerous healthy and effective ways in which you can amp up your metabolic rate.
Here are 5 Tips for boosting your metabolism naturally:
Get Your Heart Pumping First Thing – A fantastic way to kick start your metabolism from the moment you wake up, is by jump starting your heart and lungs into action first thing. Even just a quick 10 minute HIIT sesh, or simple cardio workout, will be enough to stimulate your metabolism into action. Exercising first thing also works to wake up your digestion system so that it ready to start working on your breakfast. If you are starting off with a simple workout, of less than 30 minutes, then drinking a glass of water beforehand should be enough to get you through, so you can enjoy a nutritious breakfast when you are done.
Drink Water – Get yourself into a habit of drinking a glass of water first thing each morning. Not only will this help combat potential dehydration, and help wake you up, it will also flush through your digestive system stimulating your metabolism into action.
Don’t Skip Breakfast! – Breakfast is the time in which you ‘break the fast’ of the evening before. It really is an important meal, because it provides the energy foundations from which you will set about tackling the rest of your day. If you skip your breakfast, you are much more likely to fade on an energetic level, as well as potentially make poorer food choices as your day progresses. In relation to your metabolism, breakfast is essential in starting off the digestive processes, which in turn is an essential element to firing up your metabolism. So don’t skip your breakfast and make sure you opt for healthy, protein-rich foods that are low GI, to maximize on your energy potential.
Move it – High-intensity cardio is the most effective way of raising your resting metabolic rate. The fitter you are, the faster your metabolism. So incorporate some cardio into your workout routine as often as possible, to help stimulate your metabolism and increase its overall efficiency.
Build It, To Boost It – The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolic rate will be. Every single muscle contraction in your body, no matter how basic, requires energy. This means that simply by sitting upright or scratching your nose, you are burning through calories. When you are using a muscle (your biceps for example), all the muscle fibers contract to create the movement. Each and every muscle fiber involved in the movement requires energy. The more muscle fibers you have, the more energy you will expend! So by building up your body’s lean muscle mass, you are helping to improve the function of your metabolism.
Regulate Your Sleep – Making sure you get enough sleep each night, without overdoing it, will go a long way in ensuring your metabolism is functioning at its optimal level. As a general rule adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Any more than this and you will likely find that you feel lethargic during the day, which is often a sign that your metabolism may be getting a bit sluggish.
Natural Thermogenics – Thermogenics work to increase your basal metabolic rate, which not only provides you with energy, it also increases your fat burning efficiency. Though thermogenics are a large part of pre-workout supplements, there are many more natural alternatives. Green tea is an excellent example as it is naturally rich in caffeine as well as being rich in antioxidants! As Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf discuss in this interview, your diet plays a leading role in your metabolic rate. Avoid eating highly processed foods, trans fats and simple carbs that will have a negative impact on your metabolism, and instead, opt to eat fresh food that will help stimulate it. Some foods are believed to have more thermogenic properties than others.
Examples of metabolic boosting foods include:
● Lean Beef
So don’t let an inherited slow metabolism get you down, there are plenty of small lifestyle changes you can implement to help boost your metabolism so that you can burn fat efficiently and gain the most energy from what you eat!