By Jamie McIntyre
Metabolism. For some this word is their best friend, but for most of us that word is our worst enemy. In general, as you get older our metabolism starts to slow down which means you can’t get away with eating the same way you did when you were a teenager. I know what you are thinking, why is this 26 year old writing about a slow metabolism? Since graduating college and playing competitive sports on a regular basis, I’ve felt the effects of a slower metabolism in the past few years and I’m often reminded by my parents and clients “just you wait until you are my age.” Inspired by these warnings, I’ve spent that last year searching for a magic pill that will stop my metabolism from slowing down but so far the magic pill still eludes me. Ok, so there’s no magic pill, but there is a proven formula to help jump start your metabolism!
So, the question this week is what can we do (until I find the magic pill) to improve our metabolism?
1. Nutritional Balance: Make sure you aren’t going more than 3 hours without eating… It slows your metabolism way down. Eating every 3 hours gives you more energy and helps control your blood sugar which means you will burn more fat. When preparing your snack or meal make sure you have a ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 of carbohydrates:protein. A great in-between meals snack is an apple and about 15 raw almonds.
2. Add Strength Training to your Exercise Regimen: Strength training is an important part of improving your metabolism. When you perform resistance exercises, you are expending additional calories, thereby increasing your caloric burn, or metabolism, for that given day. After you complete your strength training workout, for the next 24 – 48 hours, your body will have to work harder than normal in order to repair the muscle tissues that have had stress imposed on them. As your body is recovering from your most recent strength training workout, you are burning more calories than you would if you hadn’t worked out.
3. Proper Recovery and Hydration: Sleep and hydration are also crucial to improving out metabolism. A lack of sleep increases blood sugar levels and interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. This leads to higher insulin levels and more fat storage. It is recommended that we get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
Because your metabolism is responsible for using body fat as fuel, it’s important to make sure your metabolism is running as fast as possible. It needs water to process calories, so even under mild dehydration the metabolism will slow down. According to a study in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” metabolic rate increases 30 percent after drinking two cups of water. The recommended number of ounces of water we should drink every day is equal to our body weight (in lbs) divided by two. For example, a 150 pound person should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day.
Adopting all three of these steps will jump start your metabolism and get your body burning that unwanted fat!
P.S. If I ever do find the magic pill I promise I will share it with you!