The Truth About Metabolism 5 Myths Busted!
Diet and fitness expert Alessandro Alviani from Nordic Balance explains what metabolism actually is, and reveals the truth behind some of those age-old metabolism sayings.
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed, and by which energy is made available. Basically, the entire chemical processes going on continuously inside your body to allow life and normal functioning
All metabolism processes are controlled by hormones and the nervous system and influenced by your age, gender, muscle-to-fat ratio, eating, physical activity and overall lifestyle. Nothing is for free and to run these processes of course there's a price to pay, a fuel we need to introduce, stock and utilize when needed: the calories.
MYTH 1: You are overweight because your metabolism is slow
TRUTH: If you are overweight your metabolism is likely running fast, because the more you weigh and the larger you are, the harder your body has to work to carry itself around and to avoid heat dispersion.
As a result of that in most instances the metabolism of an overweight individual runs faster than the one of a skinnier person. So, apart from some rare metabolic diseases, you are very likely overweight because you eat too much and exercise too little.
MYTH 2: Your metabolism slows down as you age
TRUTH: The primary reason the metabolism slows down as you grow older is because your hormone levels drop down and you lose muscles. If you keep up with your training, get good sleep and eat adequate levels of lean protein, vegetables and fruit, you will largely prevent hormones from falling down and muscle mass being lost.
Don't use your age as an excuse - it's not uncommon to see a 50-year-old fitter than guys half their age and you can bet their metabolism goes faster as well.
MYTH 3: Long runs are the best form of exercise to speed up your metabolism
TRUTH: If you consider that your body adapts in order to overcame hostilities and survive, why would someone who's going to run and burn hundreds of calories each session need a higher metabolism as well? The reality is that steady-state aerobic exercises cause a temporary increase in the energy expenditure but as rebound they slow down the basal metabolic rate (BMR). At the opposite strength exercises don't burn many calories themselves but by leading the body to build functional lean tissue (anabolism) they rev up consistently the metabolism. So, not aerobic exercises but a smart resistance-training programme should be at the very top of anyone's metabolism-boosting regime!
MYTH 4: A high metabolism is the best health goal
TRUTH: Higher is not necessarily better. It's true that an ultra-fast metabolism allows you to eat more, recover faster, sleep less and generally live your life at a superior gear but the downside of an ultra-fast metabolism is pretty obvious: people with faster metabolisms show signs of cellular aging faster than people with slower metabolisms and are perhaps more likely to develop diseases sooner. Scientists think this is a major reason why women, other factors being held equal, so often out live men.
Now nobody is saying you should be spending your life sat watching the TV and trying to slow down your metabolism, just try to not get obsessed by having an ultra-fast metabolism and envious of anyone who has it, all that glitters is not gold.
MYTH 5: Metabolism is genetic, you have no control over it
TRUTH: You have full control over your metabolism!
Here Are 8 Tips:
1. Have a more active lifestyle: Don't take the bus for just a few stops but go by foot, walk up the stairs instead of using the lift, go to the shop instead of shopping on-line, these are just a few examples of activities that can impact your metabolism increasing your daily energy expenditure, and quicken your fat-loss.
2. Modify your workout routine: Alongside with cardiovascular training focus on building muscle through big compound body weight exercises (squats, press-ups, pull-ups etc.) and strength exercises. Switch part of your steady-state aerobic workouts to HIIT protocols.
3. Sleep more: The amount of rest you get each night doesn't only affect your mood and productivity the next day but it also affects your metabolism. The need of sleep is individual but as a general rule try not to sleep less than 6 hours per night, even though 7-8 hours are still the ideal for most people.
4. Improve your breathing: The way we breathe affects our metabolism since the amount of oxygen we make use of determines how many calories we burn. Make sure your breathing system is all right, learn the proper breathing exercises to increase metabolism.
5. Drink enough water: A proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism since all the metabolic processes use water. The amount a person needs to drink to avoid getting dehydrated will vary depending on a range of factors, including their size, the temperature and how active they are. As a general guideline drink at least 30ml water per kg of body weight.
6. Get enough protein: It has been demonstrated that those taking in adequate levels of protein have higher energy expenditure at rest. Make sure you get your portion of lean proteins alongside vegetables and fruit.
7. Drink caffeine and theine: A cup of coffee or green tea may give you more than just an energy boost midday. One of the benefits of caffeine and theine consumption is a short-term rise in your metabolic rate that means a temporary higher caloric expenditure. Downside: they tend to dehydrate your body so make sure you are drinking adequate quantities of water as well.
8. Spice up your meals: Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chilli pepper is a good idea to boost your metabolic rate. The effect is temporary and surely not massive but if you eat them often and combine with the other tips previously given, the benefits add up.
For more information on diet, exercise and nutritional advice from Nordic Balance, please visit www.nordicbalance.co.uk