You probably keep hearing about metabolism. Some people have a slow metabolism and others a more active one. Metabolism could be the one preventing you from achieving your goals. But what is it and how can you use it to its maximum capacity?
Metabolism is considered a laboratory containing all the molecules, hormones and cells that transmit the chemical information, regulating the speed of the caloric burn.
To better understand metabolism, it’s a good idea to focus on the foods we eat. When we eat something, the enzymes in the digestive tract decompose the food so it can be easily absorbed and used inside the body. Thus, proteins become amino acids, fats are transformed in fatty acids, and carbs become glucose. Each compound is then transported by the blood to every cell in the body. This triggers chemical reactions that determine how these compounds are going to be used next. Hormones are the ones deciding whether the energy coming from digested food will be used on the spot, deposited in the fatty tissue or used for building muscle mass.
So, metabolism is a process through which nutrients are decomposed with the end result of nourishing and repairing the body (repairing cells, tissues, reconstructing muscles, contracting them, transmitting nervous signals and so on).
How does metabolism slow down?
The metabolic rate is influenced by the number of calories your body burns genetically, the number of calories that are to be assimilated from what you eat and the number of calories burned through physical activity.
Metabolism is also influenced by body composition. When you rest, your body will burn more calories if you have more muscle mass. If we were to express that in figures, 1 kilogram of muscles burns approximately 15 kcal compared to 1 kilogram of fat that burns less than 1 kcal.
If you crash diet, your body will just store nutrients as fat so it can use it as energy in times of hunger. Furthermore, crash diets make you lose muscle mass, which leads to a slow metabolism.
Metabolism decreases with age, but the rate at which it decreases is influenced by our lifestyle. So, as we get older, metabolism decreases by 10% with every 10 years that go by. However, if you have been active all your life, you will only have to deal with a 0.3% decrease in your metabolic rate.
Do the following to increase your metabolism:
1. Build lean muscle mass
This is possible with only a few training sessions a week (20-30 minutes of exercise, 2-3 times a week). Aim for free weight exercises or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). If you do this on a regular basis, also paying attention to your nutrition, in as little as 4 months you could be burning up to 200 calories more in a resting state.
2. Sleep well
The quality and the lack of sleep influence the basal metabolic rate which represents about 70% of the overall metabolism. What’s more, when you sleep your body releases more than 50% of the amount of HGH required maintaining the health of the entire body. HGH regulates vital organs; it helps repair tissues, heal, and replace cells. HGH contributes to bone health, organ health, normal brain activity, enzyme production, nail, hair, and skin health.
3. Nourish your body
Stay away from food items that bring no benefits other than a great taste. You can re-educate your taste. Also, you can create healthy and tasty recipes in the comfort of your own home and in no time at all. Add fresh food to your daily diet and enjoy a chemical-free taste. Chemicals in various food items mess up your hormones and metabolism. Don’t allow that to happen. Instead, fuel your body with good food and restart your metabolism.
4. Eat more fiber
Your body can’t digest fiber but it tries to nonetheless. During this process, you burn calories. Choose from vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole cereals, nuts, and seeds.
5. Take Omega 3 supplements or get more from food
Omega 3 fatty acids help normalize blood sugar levels, decreasing your appetite and boosting your metabolism.