10 Dec 2017
3 min read
Last week, we looked at the various benefits of healthy snacking, which I hope has aided you in your weightloss goals. Continuing with that theme, my spotlight this week is on ‘burning more than you consume’ with the help of a revved-up metabolism.
I am sure that you, as fitness enthusiasts, are familiar with the concept of metabolism. Scientifically speaking, metabolism refers to the chemical reactions that take place in your body’s cells while it’s performing bodily functions such as converting food into fuel. When involved in such processes, your body continuously uses up energy and that basically means you are burning calories. All metabolisms are not created equal, and there are various factors that determine your basal metabolic rate. But, as has been shown by research, we know that there are ways to get our metabolism into higher gear. How? Read on.
- Start early: Get your metabolism going from the moment you wake up by having a glass of cold/lukewarm water, followed by a high-protein breakfast within an hour of waking up.
- Lift those weights: I don’t see why you would need more reasons to lift, but if you need one, then here it is. You see, muscles are more metabolically active than fats, which means that having greater muscle mass translates to more fat-burn during rest. Hence, it’s high time you built those muscles through weight lifting and/or strength training.
BONUS: In addition to a speedier metabolism, lifting also means stronger muscles that will improve your overall bone density and make you less prone to exercise-induced injuries.
- Simply move: Even if you are unable to make time for specific workouts, you can speed up your metabolism by constantly being active throughout the day. Any form of moving around—be it by taking that extra flight of stairs, cleaning the house, walking while on the phone or gardening—will increase your daily calorie expenditure.
TRY: You can stay on track by monitoring the number of steps you take in a day or the amount of physical activities you engage in. Want something else you can try while chained to your work desk? Set a reminder to stretch and move at hourly intervals.
- Include more protein: While digesting food, our bodies burn calories, and it takes more energy to burn off macronutrients (this is known as the thermic effect of food). Included in this category of nutrients is protein, and that’s why fitness experts encourage their clients to include more protein in their diet. After all, apart from helping you burn more calories, proteins also aid in muscle growth and muscle repair, and they also make us feel full faster.
TIP: Make sure that you are meeting your body’s protein requirements. It is suggested that you get an expert’s opinion on how much protein you should take, since the requirements differ from person to person.
- Hydration: Most of us tend to drink less during colder seasons, but note that dehydration will result in our body organs’ operating less effectively, which subsequently results in a slowed down metabolic rate. Sustain your hydration level throughout the day and reap hydration’s many benefits, some of which include revved-up calorie burn, better concentration and more energy.
TRY: We encourage you to drink cold water during winter, as the body uses more energy to heat the water up, but you can drink warm drinks too if you don’t want to go with the cold stuff. Drink green tea, which has been lauded for its fat-burning attributes. More of a caffeine lover? Rejoice, as it has been proven that your cup of joe provides that much-needed boost to your metabolism. Just make sure that you have it black and without any sugar. Another favourite trick of mine is adding mint leaves, my favourite fruit of the season (strawberries) and a squeeze of lemon to water.