Exercise & Metabolism
Metabolism is the result of a network of enzymes and hormones in the body which work to turn food into energy, or fuel, for our bodies. It also affects how much or how little of that fuel we use. Our bodies require a certain amount of calories each day to keep functioning, however many of us consume more calories than we need. This then affects how we gain and lose weight. While some people gain weight easily and have a hard time losing it, others seem to always stay at one set weight.
What Affects My Metabolism?
Many factors may influence your metabolism, including age, genetics, health conditions, sex, and body mass. Most of these are unavoidable situations. However, we can work to increase metabolism. There are two ways you can easily make the most of your metabolism - diet and exercise can have dramatic effects.
- Diet and Metabolism: It's been shown that frequent, smaller meals boost your metabolism and keep it up and running. Instead of three meals a day, try having four or five smaller meals which focus on fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains. This type of diet, eaten 4 -5 times a day, has been shown to raise metabolic rate, lower total calorie intake and lower body fat.
- Exercise and Metabolism: Exercise is the best way to boost your metabolism and muscle building exercise helps boost metabolism even more. Every pound of muscle you have burns 35 to 50 calories while 1 pound of fat burns only 2 calories. Weight training has been shown to boost metabolism for longer periods of time as well, making muscle building a smart option. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn.
Exercise to Maximize Metabolism
Here are some exercise tips to make the most of your metabolism.
- When weight training, do 8-15 repetitions in 2-4 sets of each movement.
- Choose movements that work multiple muscles at one time. Try doing the lunge with free weights and do curls at the same time.
- Limit resting between sets to no longer than 75 seconds; or, skip the rest and alternate between working two muscle groups.
- Slow down: when lifting weights, try to take at least 3 seconds each direction
- If you do cardio, alternate moderate exercise with sprints of high intensity. If you love the elliptical machines, pick up your pace for 30 seconds, then drop it back where it was before for 90 seconds. You want your set pace to be intense, and then 30 seconds to really push yourself.
It'll take some work to boost your metabolism, but that's the idea. You'll have to push yourself to be able to build the muscles you'll need because it's that push of energy that builds muscles and boosts metabolism.