The word metabolism has been thrown around in the fitness and nutrition world a lot. “Do this to increase your metabolism” and “stop eating this as it slows down your metabolism”. But do you really know what it is and how it affects you?
What is Metabolism?
Scientifically speaking, metabolism or metabolic rate is the chain of chemical reactions in your body that generate, break down and store the energy required for the functions of living. This energy comes from fat, sugar and protein. In layman terms, it is the level where your body utilises energy or burns calories. Your metabolism is essentially the number of calories your body burns in a given period of time. We burn calories in three main ways:
- The energy necessary for the body to function at rest i.e. your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The main metabolic processes in our body include digestive processes, blood circulation, elimination of waste products and the regulation of body heat. You burn most energy when at rest.
- Daily activities such as studying or housework
How does it Work and Why is it Important?
Metabolism is a continuous two-part process of anabolism, when energy is created and stored, and catabolism, when energy is released. All of this is controlled by the endocrine system, the system responsible for numerous body processes, from cell growth and repair to reproduction and emotional regulation.
Food and liquid you consumed are turned into energy that is either stored or used immediately, where it is turned into sugar and phosphocreatine, which is the energy source for muscle contraction naturally present in the skeletal muscle tissue. If it is not used right away, it is stored for the long-term as fat.
Metabolism differs from person to person because the degree to which the body breaks down energy from fat, sugar, and protein varies. Genes play a big role in determining our metabolic rate. While some are blessed with a high metabolic rate (they can eat without gaining much weight), others may have a slower one that makes them more susceptible to weight gain. This does not mean that we have no control over metabolism. We can indirectly affect it based on what and how much we eat and the amount of physical activity we engage in daily.
Weight Loss and Boosting your Metabolism
As you may have guessed by now, awareness of your individual BMR is critical to appropriately establishing daily calorie needs. Nutrition is, therefore, key to your metabolism. This does not mean you immediately start a crash diet because such diets, in fact, slow down your metabolism. The science behind this is complicated but in essence, a low-calorie diet slows down metabolism to sustain energy and preserve bodily functions on fewer calories. Aging also reduces your metabolism, which is why it becomes harder to lose weight as you grow older, starting at the age of 18.
Certain foods, such as tea, chillies and spices, allegedly boost your metabolism. In truth though, they may increase your BMR just a tiny amount, and the change is so trivial and short-lived that it would not influence weight loss. A more useful approach is to consume more protein as it increases your metabolism hours thereafter due to something called the thermic effect of food (TEF). This is basically caused by the extra calories needed to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein in particular causes one of the greatest increase in TEF.
Another way to boost your metabolism is by building more muscles as your BMR is affected by the amount of lean muscle you have. The more muscle and less fat you have, the higher your metabolism as muscle utilises more energy than fat while at rest.
A Simpler Solution with us
Why go through all the trouble of planning your own metabolism fitness and diet routine with our 30 or 60-day plans? Our plans help to boost your metabolism through proper nutrition and exercise. We don’t believe in crash diets or extreme exercise regimes because health is linked to lifestyle habits and these 3 things go hand in hand: nutrition, exercise and essential supplements. You will learn what to eat and even when to eat. And there will be support and accountability in our private group where our wellness coach and personal trainer will be there to guide you throughout your journey. But don’t take our word for it…read about real changes from real people here.
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