Many people blame a slow metabolism for their inability to lose weight, while others claim they can eat whatever they want thanks to a fast metabolism. Is there any truth to these claims? Were we all born with different metabolisms, or does our lifestyle play the most important role? Is it possible to speed up a sluggish metabolism to assist in energy production and weight loss?
Keep reading to learn more about your metabolism, and what you can do to supercharge the way you burn calories.
What is Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the process through which your body converts the food you eat into the energy that fuels you. It’s through this biochemical process that your body takes the calories you consume and combines them with oxygen to produce the energy needed for your bodily functions. Even at rest, your body requires energy to support heart rate, blood flow, healing, and hormone function. The amount of calories needed to support these resting processes is known as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR.
Metabolism and Weight Gain/Loss
So, what do your metabolism and basal metabolic rate have to do with your ability to gain/lose weight? Once you know how many calories you need to sustain your current weight, you can decrease or increase your intake according to your weight and fitness goals.
Science also agrees that genetics do play a role in human metabolism, but are still seeking to understand how to apply this to medicine and wellness. The biggest factors in your metabolism however, are age, body size, activity level, and gender.
5 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism
While you can’t change your age or genetics, there are several things you can do to support a healthy and active metabolism.
Increase Muscle Mass
The math adds up, everyday muscle burns three times more calories per pound than fat, even at rest. By focusing on strength training and increasing your muscle mass, you will decrease fat, and increase your overall calorie burn even when you’re not working out. If you’re new to strength training or weight lifting, start slow and consult your doctor or enlist the help of a trainer or fitness-minded friend.
Keep it Moving
Aerobic exercise burns calories while you’re working out and speeds your metabolism for several hours after your workout is complete. The best way to achieve this is to push yourself harder every fitness session. The higher the intensity of your exercise, the greater benefit to your metabolism. As always, start where you are, no one trains for a marathon in a day or even a week.
Stay Away from Crash Diets
Crash diets, or those that encourage a drastic decrease in calories (less than 1,200 a day for women and 1,800 a day for men) may have a negative, long-term impact on your metabolism. When you starve your body to achieve weight-loss, you can actually make it harder to lose weight in the future. A healthy, balanced diet is the way to go, you can decrease your calorie intake without crashing and still achieve results.
Research shows that drinking enough water can have a positive impact on your metabolism. Drinking at least eight 8 oz glasses of water a day is beneficial for your overall health and hydration and can actually increase the efficiency of your metabolism.
How much water should you drink each day? It depends on your age, gender, activity level, and how much water you are consuming in fruits, veggies, and other sources. Start with the 8 x 8 rule and add in more if you’re still feeling thirsty or your urine isn’t a very pale yellow.
Supplements to Support a Speedy Metabolism
There are several, natural sources for metabolic support, including green tea, coffee and other weight management supplements. Ultra CLA by Metagenics supports a healthy lean body mass and may support healthy insulin and glucose metabolism. Resveracel from Thorne Research is another great choice for metabolic support.
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How do you support a healthy metabolism? How will you use this information to live a healthier life?