metabolism |məˈtabəˌlizəm|noun: the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.
Why is this a word that plagues us so much? It’s a word that we’ve grown to rely on as the sole source of our weight management. But more so rather, as a crutch to lay blame on the lack of our weight management.
Our metabolism is essentially the rate at which our body burns calories at rest. This basically means the amount of calories you’d have to consume (energy in) each day to maintain where you are right now. This of course would increase based on your activity level. More energy out=more energy required to go in.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your metabolism:
1. Eat every 3-4 hours.
Our body provides energy to digest food. Energy requires a higher metabolic rate. Increasing the number of times a day we eat will increase the energy need and increase metabolism as a result.
2. Eat breakfast.
Your body has been in starvation mode for approximately 6 or more hours. When we don’t feed it, our metabolism intentionally slows down as a way to protect our body and preserve energy. Eating breakfast jumps starts our metabolism first thing in the morning and provides that energy source.
3. Do not skip meals.
Again, when we don’t eat or go on a strict low calorie or starvation diet, we are really shooting ourself in the foot! Our body shuts down as a way to protect itself and preserve energy. When that happens our metabolism also slows down and guess what–you won’t lose weight or even worse, you’ll gain weight.
4. Exercise and do weight training.
Get moving and get your heart rate up. Participating in a moderate to intense cardio program 3-5 times a week requires energy>increasing the energy needs will increase your metabolism and will burn calories! And speaking of weight training, no, you don’t have to become a body builder but listen to this. Increasing lean muscle mass requires more energy to function. So when we use weights to build lean muscle mass our body has to increase its energy production—wait for it—-guess what happens? Your metabolism increases! Did you know that after a moderate to intense strength training workout, your metabolism can stay super pumped for up to 24 hours later!? Sign me up!!
5. Eat carbs.
Pick your jaw up off the floor because yes, I said eat carbs. Re read my posts on What is the Glycemic Index to get a better understanding, but let me review again here. Carbs are our energy source (our body can’t survive without them). If we don’t supply our body with that energy, it has to pull the energy from somewhere else: protein. Protein builds lean muscle. If we take protein from muscle, we lose muscle mass. Muscle fuels metabolism. If we decrease muscle mass we decrease metabolism. But, in order to prevent more problems and health issues, you need a healthy source of carbs such as whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits and vegetables. Following the Glycemic Index will also help you determine those good sources of carbohydrates, too.
So! How are you feeling about your metabolism?!
And moving on, here’s how I started and ended my workday…
Start: Pumpkin Oatmeal…eaten from a coffee mug on the go. Hola!
End: Coffee and @runnersworld magazine! Win!
How did you start and end your day?