How to Fire Up Your Metabolism
There are a few factors that determine the efficiency of your metabolism. Genetics is one as some of us are simply born with a slower or faster metabolism. Age is another. As we age, our metabolic rate naturally drops and we just don't break down foods as efficiently. Research has shown that after age 30, the average woman as a weight gain of about 5-7% per year from this drop. We can also slow our metabolism down simply by being unhealthy and not exercising or eating poorly.
The good news is, we have the ability to fix this! People turn to dieting for losing weight, but I believe that fixing your metabolism is the key factor. So how do you do this?
Making lifestyle changes are important to lose weight and keep it off, but there is more to it. You have to be committed to it long enough to make it a habit. This is why I believe restrictive diets are not helpful. To go on a diet, you have to go off it, then where do you go from there? What have you learned? To make a change in your lifestyle, it has to be one you can keep forever, not just for a few weeks.
What is a resting metabolism? How your metabolism rests is a big factor in weight loss. A high resting metabolism burns fat efficiently even at rest. For example, I will have my clients wear a heart rate monitor that shows calorie burn. After an hour workout, I will ask them to leave it on for another hour and my clients with a high resting metabolism will show the same amount of calories burned an hour later as the hour they worked out, all at rest. If you have a low resting metabolism, have hope.
To increase your resting metabolism it is all about changing things up.
Once you are in a routine of exercising for a certain period of time, add to it. If you work out for 30 minutes, now do 45 minutes. If you are weight training, add weight to your repetitions. Doing the same workout? Change it! If you are going for a walk or jog, take a fitness class that is completely different. Try a new sport or activity. Do you workout the same time every day? Change it up! Workout at 5:00am instead of 5:00pm. Fit By Faith even offers Midnight Classes on occasion to give our members a great chance to confuse their metabolism!
The key to keeping a high resting metabolism is to trick it. Don't ever let it adapt. Change your workout routine and type of workout every 4 weeks. Interval training is another way to raise resting metabolism. This is a training that will push you beyond your comfort level for short periods of time. Doing an exercise hard for one minute intervals with a 5 minute cool down for about 30 minutes can really boost the metabolism.
Here is an example of a metabolism boosting weekly workout:
- 2 days of interval training for 30 minutes
- 1 day of intense cardio for 30 minutes
- 2 days of cardio an hour each session
- 3 days where you add on weight resistance training
Nutrition is another way to boost the metabolism. Cycle your calories. If you eat the same thing and same amount of calories every day, your metabolism learns to adapt and starts burning less calories. Find your target calories for your goals and go 200 above or 200 below it each day. Remember to never allow your calories to go below 1200 a day. Eat higher on a day you workout hard and less on a day you don't. This will help prevent plateaus.
I find many times people who are overweight only eat one or maybe two meals a day and don't understand why they are not losing. The main reason this is happening is your body can only process about 400 calories at a time. Any excess can be stored as fat which is why the 6 meals a day works so well. I think about how efficient a baby’s metabolism is and think about how often they eat. Usually every 2-3 hours! That is what we need to do as well. It seems awkward and can be difficult to fit into your lifestyle, but change IS difficult and in order to change you have to find a way.
Try this: Take two of your typical meals and divide them into 6 containers. Keep a small cooler with you at all times so it will be easy to grab it no matter where you are. Eat every 2-3 hours. It may take awhile to adjust to this physically and mentally, but within 2 days your energy will start to rise and you will notice a decrease in cravings. Many people get cravings and feel very tired around 4:00 PM each day. You will notice that decrease as well.
Lastly, don't forget to drink water! According to Jay Williams, PhD and author of The 24 Hour Turnaround, mild dehydration will slow your metabolism down as much as 3%. She explains that when the kidneys which flush out waste don't have enough water, they begin to rely on the liver which works primarily to provide stored fat for energy. If the liver is busy doing the kidneys job, then it metabolizes less fat and this results in less weight loss. Drinking water also helps prevent water retention. The average person retains as much as 8lbs of water when not drinking half their body weight in ounces per day. Increasing your water will increase your trips to the bathroom, but your body will regulate if you are consistent on drinking your required amount.
We battle weight loss so much and put our bodies through a lot in attempts to lose, but it is really a science. Learning how your body functions, what it needs, when it needs it is half the battle and taking these easy steps to boost your metabolism will put you well on your way towards a new you!
Krista Johnson is the owner of Fit By Faith Fitness Center which was established in October of 2006. She is the mother of 4 children ages 20, 15, 11 and 8 and has a passion for helping others get in shape from the inside out. Krista is a walking testimony having lost over 100lbs and has successfully kept it off. During her weight loss, she had a vision of creating Fit By Faith. She believed she was to change the atmosphere of the gym and create a different environment for people to work out in. Krista is a former High School Theater Arts teacher and is currently attending college to obtain her B.A in Sports Medicine. She holds certifications as Personal Trainer with the International Sports Science Association Tae Bo® fitness instructor (Certified by the creator Billy Blanks) Group Fitness Instructor for Adults, Children and Seniors SilverSneakers® Muscle Strength & Range of Motion for Seniors Black Belt 2nd Dan in the art of Tae Bo Kwon. She maintains her certifications annually through continuing education classes and training camps and requires all her instructors at Fit By Faith to do the same. She also competes in races and other competitions regularly. Krista has appeared in 3 Tae Bo® infomercials on national TV Shape, Collage Video, Looking Good Now and Christian Living Magazines several times in the Brownwood Bulletin Newspaper. She has also been featured on several websites such as The Fitness Zone, The Biggest Loser, ivillage as well as the Billy Blanks Website. Krista has been a motivational speaker at many churches and radio stations. Krista and her husband John, who is co-owner of Fit By Faith, both have hearts to help others to feel good, to be healthy and strive everyday to serve more people in this manner.