You may have heard on more than once occasion someone declare that they have a ‘slow metabolism’ or on the contrary describe their metabolism as ‘fast.’ Metabolism is often perceived as something too super-duper complex and technical for the average person to understand. This is not the case as metabolism, when broken down, is a pretty simple concept to comprehend. In a nut shell, metabolism is the capacity by which your body breaks down what you eat and drink and converts it to energy (some prefer to call it fuel). Calories are obtained from the food and drinks you consume on daily basis. Fatty foods are the largest source of calories in the body. The more food and drinks you consume the more calories you take in. Hence, the more your metabolism speeds up its process the more your body can convert food and drinks into fuel.
Generally, about two thirds of the calories in your body are utilized on a daily basis. This burning of calories enables your body to function in both its active and inactive state. Even when you’re at rest, your body needs fuel for all its “hidden” functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells.
Nutritionists refer to the speed at which your body breaks down calories as an individual’s particular Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate, the main ones include body size, gender and age. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest. When it comes to gender, men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, resulting in the burning of more calories. And the last factor is age – as you get older the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning. It is usually on the basis of some combination of these three key factors that the label of a “fast” or “slow” metabolism is avowed.
There are three proven methods for speeding up body metabolism: 1) build muscle mass, 2) exercise and 3) diet – specifically eating the recommended foods that may aid in boosting metabolism.
Muscle Mass – Many athletes, amateur and seasoned, workout with their sole focus on cardiovascular exercises and little to no regard for the importance of building muscle. Simply stated, the human body burns more calories to maintain muscle then it does maintaining fat. Therefore, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body naturally burns on its own in a day. The net effect is that muscle mass increases the body’s metabolism.
Diet – Diet is the third important method for increasing your metabolism. It is important to clarify that dieting isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating more – more nutrition-dense foods — to crowd out the empty calories and keep you full all day. This distinction is important, because restricting food will kill your metabolism. It makes your body think, “I’m starving here!” And your body responds by slowing your metabolic rate in order to hold on to existing energy stores. What’s worse, if the food shortage (meaning your crash diet) continues, you’ll begin burning muscle tissue. This could spiral into your metabolism dropping even more, and fat goes on to claim even more territory.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice, nor should it be interpreted or substituted as medical advice. Prior to making changes to your physical exercise routine and your diet, you should always consult your personal physician or a medical professional.