If we omit the scientific, chemical and biological meanings, then in a lay man’s language metabolism is the body’s natural process to burn calories to generate energy. The rate at which this happens is termed as the BMR or Basal Metabolic rate. Ideally, a faster BMR is required to lose weight while a lower BMR will not help weight loss. On the contrary, it is often found that individuals when they adopt a crash diet or dwell into an excessive amount of physical activity they tend to lose weight, but at the same time their BMR goes for a nose dive. This is the natural defense mechanism of the body which is termed as the starvation response, and that is precisely why individuals on a crash diet tend to gain weight more once they stop the dieting.
So the underlying question here is can we control and speed up our metabolism? Let’s look deep into this aspect. The BMR is influenced by myriad factors like diet habits, exercise, hormones and the health of thyroid glands to name a few. We spoke in the earlier section with regards to metabolism as the process to burn calories to generate energy. Now calories can be in the form of carbohydrates which are provided as fuel to the body. Calories can even be in the form of proteins which form the muscle mass and lastly, calories can be in the form of excess fats in the body. So when we talk about revving up metabolism we should target revving up our Fat metabolism as compared to other two. Outlined below are few basic DO’s that one must follow to rev-up FAT metabolism.
Eat something before your starve.
Hunger can be termed as the signal which brain tells us that the stomach is empty now, please feed it with some food. Often, we humans usually tend to neglect this signal. Thus as a result of starving for a long time, the blood sugar levels are diminished and body moves into a state of craving. This leads to eating something that is high in fats and sugar to bring back the sugar levels up. Usually, in this state, the chances of overeating, or grabbing something quick and unhealthy is extremely high. Putting your body into this starvation state frequently will lower metabolism. The body tends to hold onto the body fats for energy when it senses that it is not getting more food for some more time. This is due to the starvation response behavior of the body which is a natural self-defense mechanism that is used to safeguard it in the time of famine or scarcity.
Eat a breakfast, never skip it.
This is an extension to the earlier point, Starvation. Think about it, the body was totally starving for the last 8 odd hours and every single drop of glycogen in the bloodstream has depleted and then imagine continuing this starvation till lunch. You are just ruining your body. So a high-quality breakfast, rich in fiber and proteins upon waking up and preferably within one hour of rising is extremely vital to jump-starting the metabolic drive and burn calories throughout the day. On the contrary bypassing the first meal would means switching off your metabolic drive till the next meal – lunch, not to forget the body’s tendency to hold on to fat in this time span.
Lose the booze
Two reasons to do this, one is the alcohol itself and the second is the additional 200 surplus calories which are prone to be consumed along with it. Human body handles alcohol in a different manner when consumed; the body converts it into a substance called acetate, rather than converting it into fat. Higher the levels on acetate in blood, harder are the brakes on the body’s fat burning drive thus hindering fat metabolism. How this happens is the body identifies alcohol as a toxin and works furiously to get it out of the system, meaning the body chooses to burn acetate first thus delaying the natural fat burning process also termed as fat oxidation.
Now just consider this process of acetate production in abundance due to the frequent and high intake of alcohol. The body keep holding on to the fat till the last ounce of acetate is out of the system.
Don’t feast on 3 meals
I repeat, do not feast on 3 meals, instead a small and balanced portion of food is necessary for the body to provide enough fuel to keep blood sugar at appropriate levels, as well as constant feed for your muscles. When one deviates from this equation, the glycogen levels (blood sugar) go down, your muscles move into a catabolic state, and your fat cells are the least burnt out. So what’s the remedy? Eat frequent meal without blowing over the roof in portion sizes. The key is a small balanced portion of food in higher frequencies, where 5 to 6 a day would be an ideal figure.
In essence, food digestion requires energy and eating frequent meals will raise your metabolism for that number of times. With this, one would probably throw all those crash course weight loss theories out of the window which advocates eating less to lose weight. Now we know why they do not work but end up packing more pounds on your weighing scale.
Do High-Intensity Interval training (HIIT)
Before we dwell straight into the benefits of High-Intensity Interval training, let me chalk down what it is all about. The main idea of HIIT is to train continuously for a short time with different speed intervals. Any form of cardiovascular training, treadmill, elliptical machine or just a run in the park will do the work. Experienced athletes also use weight training with HIIT. The key is to increase your normal speed by 60% for a fixed time say 1 minute. Then immediately drop the speed to normal for next 1 to 2 minutes. Please note, however, not to continue this for a longer period with 20 odd minutes max should leave one thoroughly exhausted. This training due to the anaerobic nature will boost metabolism relatively higher than normal conventional cardio. The main advantage of this training is that the body still remains in the fat burn state after the training.
Weight training aids one to develop more lean mass. Maintaining lean mass even at rest requires energy thus increasing calorie consumption. As a result, BMR through the day is also increased. Individuals training with weights regularly will have their resting BMR at least 10 to 15 percent more than other individuals. However, it is vital to train with intensity and keep a check on the rest periods within sets so that the anaerobic level is maintained. Just jaywalking to the nearby gym and strolling past the equipment’s for an hour or so will not get your BMR anywhere. Intensity is the key here.
The next time you see a lean and ripped person stop complaining about your genes for slow metabolism. Instead, keep a note of the above points to rev-up your metabolism. One needs to find answers to two key questions, what food is right to eat and when to eat it? Couple the answers with a proper exercise regime and that is it
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