First of all what is this metabolism that everyone keeps talking about? And why does the damn thing seem to slow down so much as we get older?
Simply put, your metabolism is the process of breaking down the 3 macronutrients – Proteins, Carohydrates and Fats by your body in order for it to maintain itself.
It is influenced by the number of calories you burn during eating and exercising, the number of calories that you consume and the calories that are expended due to your genetic makeup. Age comes into it as well. Unfortunately from the age of around 25 the average person’s metabolism decreases by between 5% and 10% each decade.
Forget being able to influence your genes. They are what they are! Thank your parents! They also account for very little of how many calories are spent each day. The way to speed up your metabolism is to increase your body’s need for energy.
Here are 7 great tricks to give you back the metabolism you had when you were in your ‘20s! (If you’re still in your 20’s then make the most of it!):
- Take part in interval training with heavier than average weights. This will really give your metabolism a boost for up to 24 hours as your body uses up energy in order to repair tiny (and healthy) muscle tears.
- Have a plan in place to get more toned. Guess what? Getting more toned is another way of saying adding lean tissue. Or put another way, this also means adding muscle (not bulking up, but adding muscle). Basically you burn more calories at rest the more muscle you have.
- Eat more protein! Your body burns twice as many calories trying to break down and digest high protein foods compared to high carb or high fat foods. Another good reason to ‘up’ the amount you’re eating.
- Reverse the ageing process! I don’t mean start taking some magic pills or potions like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her (side note: I don’t like that film, but the kids do!). Simply, just stay active and keep exercising – even as you get older. Studies show that those that stay active see an average 0.3% drop in metabolism every decade.
- Sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep. The required amount that your body needs is typically 7-8 hours per night. The amount of calories that your body burns at rest is decreased if you’re not getting enough sleep.
- Eat often. Every 2-3 hours is ideal even if just snacking. This feeds muscles and starves fat. Your body is a clever little thing and it is reassured if food comes in on a regular basis. I still speak to women that come in to see us for the first time that say they typically skip breakfast (not enough time so have a strong coffee instead), then a light sandwich for lunch and a big dinner with a glass of wine in the evenings. This means a potential 16-19 hours of fasting every day! Not great.
- Omega 3 fish oils. EPA and DHA are the fatty acids found in fish oils. Studies have shown that these can increase the amount of calories your metabolism burns by up to 400 calories per day!! They increase levels of fat burning enzymes and decrease levels of fat storage enzymes.
There you go. Start reversing that ageing process!
Ps: For other benefits of Omega 3 fish oils and to get an idea of the best ones to look out for then have a look at one of my earlier articles: http://www.fitterbodybootcamp.com/blog/lose-weight-with-omega-3-fish-supplements/