Wednesday, December 14, 2011

VROOOM goes the metabolism

What is this thing called metabolism? Everyone has heard of it but not everyone understands it, as much as they may think they do. Studies suggest that a person's metabolism is directly related to genetics and some people who have a hard time losing weight use this as an excuse as to why they can't lose weight. However, there are ways to increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories while at rest) without worrying too much about genetics. One thing is for sure, though, and that is everyone would like their BMR to be "higher."

So what does it even mean to "rev" our metabolism and how do we do that?

Metabolism can be defined as the chemical reactions in the body's cells that convert fuel (food) into energy. A person's metabolism is determined by three things: how often they exercise, how much lean muscle versus fat they have, and their BMR. Metabolism is what determines weight loss. Nothing else does. A common myth amongst the general population is that if you stop eating you'll lose weight. WRONG! If you stop eating or severely limit your caloric intake, your body goes into starvation mode and actually lowers your BMR.

Want to know how to lose weight? Are you ready for the secret that will make me rich?!

Here it is: Consume less energy than you burn.

I'd better patent that idea...

This isn't a new concept but there is a little more to it than that. Increase your "burn" by adding some resistance work (weight training) to your workout routine so you can take full advantage of your metabolism. While cardio is an excellent way to burn a lot of calories at once, you need to have lean muscle on your body to rev and and keep your basal metabolic rate high so you can burn more calories at rest. I love chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. I love it even more knowing that my body is burning it off as soon as I put it in my mouth. That is what having lean muscle mass can do for you, and you get that by doing some pushups, curling some dumbbells, and doing some squats. Period.

Here are a couple of sure-fire ways to rev your metabolism:

1. As I just mentioned, weight train.
2. Exercise your cardiovascular system at least three times per week for 30 minutes per day.
3. Eat six small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism high. Skipping meals will slow your metabolism down. These meals should include lean proteins, healthy fats, veggies, fruits, and/or whole grains.
4. Eat breakfast to wake up your metabolism. And when you do, eat foods rich in carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

So go rev your metabolism so you can have more energy, burn more calories, and perhaps have a piece of guilt-free desert!

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