Keith McNiven, founder of Right Path Fitness tells us why we should be boosting our metabolism and how.
We tend to think of metabolism in terms of weight loss; increase it and it’s a sure fire way to dropping the pounds they say. But metabolism is about much more than weight loss, it’s our means of gaining essential energy which we need to keep healthy and strong, do our morning yoga (and everything else we do each day), repair cells and digest what we eat. In short, your metabolism is your body’s engine room and its efficiency determines how much energy your body requires to do all of those essential tasks. Here’s why (and how) you should be revving up your metabolism.
1) To counteract natural muscle loss. Once you reach 30, you naturally start to lose muscle mass and often the trade-off for less muscle is increased fat. More fat is bad news for metabolism though because fat cells aren’t as energy hungry as muscle cells. Up your strength training regime by training with weights 1-2 times per week and you will increase your muscle, which can in turn pep up your metabolism by around 10%.
2) To boost immunity. The immune and the metabolic systems share resources, one focused on anti-infection and warding off illness and the other on conservation/utilisation of energy. And when the metabolism isn’t working as it should, this can divert attention from essential immunity as the body goes into overdrive trying to restore order.
3) To keep you fit. Everyone has a resting metabolic rate, which is the rate that your body will naturally burn through the calories that you eat to perform essential functions. When you do your cardio exercise, there is a boost to your metabolism for anything up to 2 days afterwards through post exercise oxygen consumption. Try HIIT training where you exercise intensely for a short period (like 60 seconds) with an even shorter break (say 30 seconds) allowing you to really up the intensity and maximise that post exercise payback for your metabolism.
4) To stay healthy. One of the biggest causes of a slow metabolism is actually excessive dieting. When you eat something, your engine room (aka your metabolism) has to make the call as to whether to use up the energy or save it. When you’re not eating enough calories for those basic functions, then chances are your metabolism is going to opt for the latter and conserve the energy, leading to a lower metabolic rate and weight gain. Your metabolism is essential for digesting food properly, so give it a boost by eating good, healthy foods that are fibre rich to make the whole process easier.
5) To help you to sleep better. As you’ve probably worked out by now, your metabolism is closely linked to your lifestyle and how you treat your body such as what you put into it and how much exercise you give it. Like any other engine, it needs to be well looked after to perform at its best. And when it comes to optimising your metabolism engine, balance is key. So as much as your body needs exercise, it needs rest too. When you get enough sleep it ensures your metabolism will work as it should, and when your metabolism is working as it should you will sleep better. Cardio, weights, eating well and resting will all play a massive part in boosting your metabolism meaning your body can focus on just what it needs to do- keeping you healthy, fit and strong.