Metabolism, or the process by which your body converts food into energy, plays a big role in health, fitness, and weight management. Generally speaking, people who are fit or “in shape” have higher metabolic rates, meaning that the calories they intake, or eat, balance the number of calories that they metabolize, or burn.
You need energy for rigorous activities, such as jogging or biking, but you also need energy to fuel essential bodily functions, such as breathing or keeping your heart beating.
There are four components that make up your daily metabolic burn rate:
- your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the number of calories your body burns when it’s at rest;
- the thermic effect of metabolizing food (TEF);
- the amount of calories you burn when completing daily activities; and
- the amount of calories you burn when completing lifestyle activities or planned exercise.
Using these six tips, each one of these areas can be tweaked to boost the amount of calories that you burn:
- Add strength-training to your exercise regime. The only scientifically proven method of enhancing the number of calories your body burns at rest (RMR) is to add more muscle mass. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat (one pound of muscle burns approximately nine times the calories as one pound of fat), so by increasing muscle mass through intensive strength training, you can increase your RMR. Strength-building exercises also help maintain your bone density and balance, which are two important factors in healthy aging.
- Add cardio to your daily exercise regime. Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is the best way to burn calories in the least amount of time. Combining cardio with strength-training is one of the best ways to fire up your metabolism.
- Eat more protein. Eating a small amount of lean protein at every meal is an effective metabolism booster.
- Eat small, but frequent meals. Eating smaller meals throughout the day, instead of eating two or three large meals, is another effective metabolism booster. It will provide you with a stable blood sugar level and constant source of energy.
- Sleep more. Sleep deprivation actually harms your body’s endocrine function and capacity to metabolize carbohydrates. Aim for at least seven solid hours per night.
- Reduce stress. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which can stimulate fat storage and slow metabolism. Practicing healthy stress reduction techniques, such as exercise, listening to music, or gardening, will lower the amount of cortisol and help you maximize your metabolic rate.
If you would like more tips about combining nutrition and exercise, call Fitness Together Ellicott City today.