When losing weight, an important thing to consider is metabolism. Metabolism is the breakdown of nutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) to produce the necessary energy (i.e., burn calories) for the body to function inside and out. The faster the body can burn calories, the faster the body will lose weight. This speed of the metabolism is what is called the metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate can be affected by your genes. However, the genetic makeup accounts for only about 5% of your metabolic rate. This means that even if your parents passed along genes that can have an effect on your body weight, you still have 95% control of your metabolism. So, if you have a weight loss goal, there are no more “runs in the family” excuses.
Is there a way to increase your metabolism?
There are a few things you can do to boost your metabolism and lose weight fast and efficiently.
A great place to start is not skipping breakfast. Remember, metabolism is the breakdown of nutrients to produce energy or burn calories. If you wake up and go on with your day without feeding your body, your metabolism will remain slow since there are no nutrients to breakdown. It does not have to be a big meal. But a good idea is to include a little protein, since protein is the hardest nutrient in the body to digest – requiring more energy expenditure, and thus more calories burned.
On a similar topic, skipping meals can have an adverse effect of your weight loss goal. It seems logical that the less you eat the more you lose. However correct, long gaps between meals and weight loss do not go hand-and-hand. Missing meals (or long gaps between) put the body in starvation mode, which causes the body to waste lean muscle while storing body fat at the same time. A better solution is breaking down your daily calories into several meals that allow you to eat approximately every three hours or so. Even if it is a small snack, do not forget, as long as you are eating something, the body is in continuous burning mode.
We cannot forget about the importance of drinking water. Water can be your best friend during the weight loss process. And this is supported by research. In a 2003 study, for instance, researchers found that after drinking 500ml of water (approximately two cups), metabolic rate increased by 30%; this occurred within 10 minutes and maxed out about 30-40 minutes later. The old adage of drinking eight glasses of water/day is not nearly enough, especially if you consume caffeine and you work out. There is no golden rule. Drink in between meals and after meals, as well as during exercise and definitely after. Drink often!!!
And then there are the exercise benefits to metabolism and weight loss. Let me be blunt here: low intensity cardio training is not the best solution, when compared to high intensity, to increase your metabolic rate and turn the body into a fat burning machine. Since I wrote a post on this topic, I won’t go into detail here. But let me just say, when done correctly, less is more.
What about strength training? Strength training is the hidden gem to increasing metabolism. When resistance training is done, muscle fibers break down. The repair process of these fibers requires energy. Thus, during the next day or so while the muscles are healing, the metabolic rate is high. This means the metabolism is working even when not exercising. So imagine if strength training was added to your exercise routine, you would not have to do this type training every day, and your body’s metabolism will still be working daily.
And there you have it. The common denominators when wanting to raise metabolism and lose weight is focusing on exercise and nutrition. What a surprise… When in doubt, allow a Health & Fitness Coach guide you on your journey.