Diet books make a lot of bold claims. Trendy diets sell the idea of metabolism manipulation by following a prescribed diet. I decided to dive deep into the subject to put together a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know to work with your metabolism in the pursuit of your goals.
What is Your Metabolism?
It’s how quickly you burn calories each day. Metabolism is the entire process your body uses to convert everything you eat and drink into energy. The calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
What is Metabolic Rate?
The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate. For a ballpark figure of yours, you can multiply your weight by 14.
What Factors Affect My Individual Rate?
Many factors can affect your individual rate, but here are a few: body size, body composition, sex, and age. First, the bigger you are, the more you burn. And the more muscle your body has, the more you burn. Burning slows with age, but luckily there are ways to stoke the fire.
10 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism at Mealtime
- Don’t Skip Breakfast – Your metabolism slows down while sleeping. A light meal will wake it up and get you on the right track for the rest of the day.
- Fuel Up With Water – Your body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down.
- Eat Enough – Do some research to determine what your ideal calorie intake should be per day. This varies based on your age, gender, and weight.
- Eat Spicy Foods – Many spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick you into a higher gear.
- Don’t Skip Meals – If the body thinks it’s fasting, it will slow the metabolic rate way down.
- Sip Some Black Coffee – One of coffee’s benefits may be a short-term rise in your metabolic rate.
- Don’t Over Diet – If you’re on a very low-cal regimen — in the 400- to 800-calorie-a-day range — metabolism can fall dramatically.
- Drink Green Tea – It has long been heralded for its antioxidant polyphenols. But new evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin, may crank up your metabolic rate.
- Don’t Eat Trans Fats – They can bind to fat and liver cells and slow metabolism. Eating trans fats can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which cripple metabolism and can cause weight gain.
- Eat Frequently – Experts are promoting grazing versus gorging, as it is a way to keep metabolism running by holding blood sugar levels steady and preventing weight-gain-promoting insulin spikes. Enjoying six small meals a day should do the trick. Keep them around 300 calories each, or divide your usual day’s calories by six.
Exercise Can Boost Your Metabolism
There are really only two ideas behind using exercise to boost your metabolism.
First, each pound of muscle on your body will boost your metabolic rate. That means strength training and building muscle will rev up your natural metabolic rate allowing you to burn more calories at rest for the long haul.
Second, use vigorous techniques through short duration high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Using this strategy will help you consume more oxygen and make your cell powerhouses, the mitochondria, work harder to burn energy, and induce excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC and also referred to as after-burn). Research has found these techniques can boost the metabolism for up to 38 hours.
Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!
Editors Note: Thyroid and Metabolism
Your thyroid is a small gland that sits just below your jawline and plays a vital role in metabolism and energy. That means too much or too little of the hormones the thyroid produces; T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine); may make it difficult for managing an ideal weight. To learn more about the role of the thyroid gland, check out these articles: