You may know what is metabolism......but it's knowing what affects it and what you can do to increase it, that makes the clinch - to your health!
Exactly, what is metabolism?
To answer your question, first I must tell you that metabolism is a fairly complicated subject.......
No worries there, though. I'll try to drill it down to the simplest form so you can easily get it.
I'll start off with a simple definition.
Metabolism is the burning of calories necessary to supply your body with the energy it needs to function. Whether you're sleeping, eating, drinking, cleaning etc... your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going.
It's affected by your body composition - meaning the amount of muscle compared to the amount of body fat you've in your body.
Muscle uses more calories than fat. If you're more muscular and have a lower body fat percentage, you likely have a higher metabolism than say your friend, who's less muscular.
Higher metabolism means you'll burn off more calories and if you're aiming for weight loss, that's really good news for you because more calories burned, more weight (or fat) you'll lose!
OK, done with knowing what is metabolism.
Now, we go into the "workings" of metabolism.
By doing exercise and eating a well-balanced, healthy, weight loss nutritious diet.
Cardio exercises are the best to help crank up your metabolic rate, so you burn off body fat from your entire body.
Cardio for at least 30 minutes per workout for 3-4 times per week, at an intensity level high enough to pump up your heart rate to the target heart rate zone and keep it there throughout your workout session.
Throw in 3-4 rounds of 10-15 minutes of strength-training with weights per week, to boost your muscle growth.
This is because to know what is metabolism you also need to know what role muscle features in your metabolism.
Muscle burns up to 90% more calories than fat. The more muscle you've, the more calories you'll burn in a day. If you pack 1 to 2 lbs of muscle into your body, you could actually burn an extra of 50 - 100 more calories a day.
That's an extra of 350 - 700 calories per week, hey, without any additional effort on your part!
Right, knowing what is metabolism sets you thinking?
You'll know if you've slow metabolism.
Fatigue, feeling cold, dry skin, constipation, a slow pulse and low blood pressure are the signs. However, I must also add that these signs could be the result of a medical condition rather than slow metabolism, so make a visit to your doc to rule out any medical condition.
Anyway, what causes your metabolism to slow down?
If you eat a very low-calorie diet, that is. Your metabolism will slow down in order for your body to survive since your body thinks it's starving.
If your low-calorie diet has resulted in a loss of muscle and an increase in body fat percentage, then your metabolism will slow down too.
Yes it’s true...... as we grow older weight gain begins to creep up on us. I used to eat anything and not gain an ounce but now it seems 2 little chips will "sky-rocket" my weight!
So what's happening actually?
It's to do with our metabolism which slows down as we grow older. This shift of weight gain actually begins in our 20’s and 30’s.
After the age of 30, our body gradually begins to lose muscle. If your activity level and the amount of calories you eat stay the same, you'll gain weight because your metabolism has slowed down ( given that you don't have as much muscle as you did in your 20's).
So, it seems a hard battle of age against metabolism and a lose-lose situation since we can't fight aging?
Hey, no! You can triumph over this battle.
Like I said, strength-train with weights and do cardio exercise on a regular basis.
Sure it does. And knowing what is metabolism helps you to understand clearer the genetics part of metabolism.
You and I and everyone else has different bone structure and body type.
It isn't realistic to think that everyone can look like the slim, svelte hot celebrities. Don't worry, even with your given body shape and genetic make-up, you can strength-train and cardio to look the best you can.
Not surprising...... if you want to know what is metabolism, you'll surely want to know once you crank up your metabolism during exercise, how long does it last after you've finished exercising........
Exercise experts say that cardio exercise and strength-training with weights do increase metabolism while you're exercising and after you've finished.
They don't agree on how long after exercise your metabolism remains cranked up.
When you're cardio exercising, they say, your focus should be on burning calories and working your cardiovascular system. As it takes more calories to exercise, you speed up metabolism during exercise.
Same thing with strength-training, you should concentrate on the activity itself which not only burns calories but increases muscle strength, tone and endurance.
This combination of cardio and strength-training will result in a body that has more muscle and less fat - so the end result - you'll have a higher metabolic rate.
Oh, that's a raw nerve for smokers.....
But the reality is that nicotine in cigarettes increases the metabolic rate, which is why some women gain weight when they quit smoking.
Well, the best is to work to increase your metabolic rate through exercise and eating right, then you won't have this worry.
Sleep? Looks like knowing what is metabolism is getting you deeper and deeper into the know........
Well, studies showed that sleep loss can affect the way we metabolize carbohydrates, resulting in glucose intolerance and possibly leading to increased hunger and a slower metabolism.
Lack of sleep can interfere with our energy levels too during the day and cause us to skip our exercise routine because we're too tired.
How often you don't get to exercise because you're too tired for lack of sleep, eh? I do and get frustrated because of this........
Alcohol may suppress your body's ability to burn fat. Studies show that when you drink alcohol, you burn off fat slower than normal during that particular meal.
So be careful with your alcohol intake.
The subject on what is metabolism isn't complete if I don't touch on RMR.
The rate at which your body burns calories even when you're resting is your "resting metabolic rate" or RMR.
Why you need to know RMR?
Because your RMR makes up the major portion of your daily calorie needs. You should protect your body's RMR by eating enough calories to meet the daily RMR.
RMR typically accounts for about 65-75% of your total daily calorie expenditure.
If you cut your food intake below your RMR, you won't be able to maintain proper bodily functions. Your body fights back. It actually lowers the metabolic rate.
You can do this for a day or 2 without consequences but if it's continued and becomes severe, you gonna pay a price - your health.
Not to mention the fatigue that results will disrupt your exercise routine as you won't have the energy to exercise. Result - you actually rest/sleep more - which leads to an overall reduction in calories burned.
Sure you do.
So what are you gonna do with it?
Crank it up to the max to burn off fat, lose weight and improve health, of course!
Hey, look your best and enjoy good health, at any age!
We have all seen the ads for products that increase our metabolism and promise miraculous weight loss. Metabolism boosters and Fat Burners – not only do the people they show us in the testimonials lose weight they also end up with a firm body and a six pack stomach.
Can a pill do all this?
Generally, the answer is no. These weight loss pills are often ineffective, and they can also harm us. Many contain either human growth hormone, which can lead to joint or heart problems, or epinephrine type ingredients that are related to increased blood pressure.
The answer is the good old tried and true: eat a balanced diet that does not exceed your calorie needs, exercise regularly and sleep well.
We may not be able to look 20 again but we certainly can look our best, increase our energy, and enjoy good health at any age........