Fire It Up

The following guest post is brought to us by local guest blogger Rebecca of the blogs Relish and Everything is ticketyboo!

Fire up that body of yours

Sometimes, when I am forced to watch my tall, lanky son power through two loaded cheeseburgers (with fries!), I think, “oh…to have the metabolism of a 15 year old boy!”

I know he won’t always be able to eat like that; not without consequences, anyway.  The fact is, our metabolism starts to slow in our mid-twenties and continues to decline by as much as 10% per decade. Part of this is genetics and part of it is our adaptation of a sedentary, or semi-sedentary, lifestyle. Let’s face it – we grown-ups tend to sit. A lot.

It’s not entirely out of your hands, though. There are things that you can do NOW to speed up (or at least reduce the inevitable slow-down) of your metabolism.

Weight training

Yes, this is my favourite. It’s simple – muscle burns more calories than fat. Increase your lean muscle mass to give your metabolism a little kick in the (yoga) pants. Try to do three strength-training sessions per week, with at least a day in-between to allow your muscles to recover.

Be pro-protein

Speaking of muscles… your muscles need amino acids to rebuild and repair, so be sure to get plenty of protein. As a bonus, proteins are considered a thermogenic food and (literally) fire up your metabolism. Sounds like a win-win! If you are looking for ways to increase your protein intake, consider adding a protein shake to your post-workout routine.

Make fibre your friend

Your body can’t digest fibre, but that doesn’t stop it from trying! As fibre passes through the body, it does all sorts of good things like regulating blood sugars, lowering cholesterol, keeping things (ahem) moving along, and, surprise, boosting your metabolism. Women should aim for about 25 grams per day.

Live for your liver

The liver plays a major role in metabolism and the best thing that you can do to keep it healthy and efficient is to drink plenty of water. A sluggish liver will hinder your body’s ability to burn fat and eliminate toxins, so try for 8 8oz glasses of water per day and lots of high-water content fruits and veggies.

Eat frequently

Now we’re talking! Oh, what’s that? We’re not talking big meals? Gotcha. Instead of 3 large meals per day, divide your calorie intake into 5 or 6 smaller meals, 2 to 3 hours apart. I find that I have way more energy during the day if I eat my breakfast in two parts, do the same with my lunch (oh, how I love my afternoon second-lunch!), and then eat a “normal” dinner. This way of eating stimulates the metabolism and prevents the body from going into calorie-hoarding mode. (Disclaimer: this is not carte blanche to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. You still have to be smart about your snacks! Er… mini-meals.)

Move it!

Your body, I mean. Bursts of high-intensity cardio keep your body’s internal engine firing for up to half an hour AFTER your workout. Try to alternate 3 minutes of moderate effort, such as jogging, with 30 seconds of all-out, give-er-heck intensity, such as a sprint. If you are out on a run or a bike ride and don’t have your watch with you, use landmarks like streetlights or fire-hydrants to determine your intervals.

Snooze it!

Get plenty of rest. Not only does a lack of sleep make you irritable, not getting enough Zs can actually lower glucose tolerance, decrease thyroid function, increase the stress-hormone Cortisol, and, if that wasn’t enough, make you crave salty and carb-heavy foods.  It’s a double-edged sword – your metabolism is low, and your appetite is high. No wonder they are now calling sleep deprivation a major risk factor for obesity.

Don’t believe the hype

If you think that you are just one safety-sealed bottle away from fixing your metabolism, you are either slightly gullible or just love spending money. I hate to break it to you, but expensive green tea extracts and pricy cayenne capsules will burn more money than fat. Save up and buy a new pair of running shoes instead!

Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t make any major dietary changes or embark on an exercise program without consulting a physician. In the meantime, though, even making a few small changes, like taking a walk after dinner of going to bed a little earlier is a good start to waking up your metabolism.

Be Well…Rebecca


Check These Out!

Comments are closed.