BUILD A STRONG METABOLISM
Ed Mount, Certified Personal Trainer
Have you hit a plateau in your fitness journey? Do you feel like you can’t lose any more weight, no matter what you do? Many people struggle to meet their fitness and weight-management goals. In many cases, the root of the problem lies in not knowing enough about how the body works. It’s easy to focus only on external results rather than pay attention to the internal functioning of our own bodies. The human body is a fascinating creation and, if we understand our own physiology just a bit better, we have a better chance of being able to conquer these frustrating plateaus. Having a good understanding of your metabolism is a great place to start.
The term metabolism simply refers to the chemical processes that occur within the body to maintain life. Each person’s metabolism is different in terms of speed and efficiency. Your age, sex, and genes contribute to your metabolism, but lifestyle choices related to eating, physical activity, and sleep also play significant roles. While you can’t change some of these factors, you can make better lifestyle choices. This will help increase the effectiveness of your metabolism, which in turn, will help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Here are some basic things to consider:
- Know your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the amount of energy your body needs to keep functioning while at rest throughout the day.
- Know your body composition. It is possible to weigh a “normal” weight and yet still have an unhealthy body-fat percentage. A body composition assessment can give you a better idea of your body-fat percentage and total muscle mass, and even a breakdown of visceral fat percentage. Some fitness facilities and medical offices offer this type of service. Devices are also available for home use, but tend to be somewhat less accurate. We offer comprehensive Ultra-Sound Body Composition testing here at Parkpoint.
- Keep a two-week journal of your actual exercise, eating, drinking, and sleeping habits. This process can help identify the areas where you’re doing well and those that may present potential problems.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration may slow down your metabolism.
- Eat regular meals. Having smaller meals or healthy snacks every three to four hours helps to keep your metabolism burning calories throughout the day. Studies show that people who eat smaller meals regularly are less likely to over eat.
- Build muscle. Even while at rest, your body burns calories. Every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day just to exist, whereas each pound of fat requires only two calories a day.
- Be physically active. The more active you are throughout the day, the more energy your body burns.
- Eat balanced meals. It is essential for overall health and better fitness to balance your meals and eat good, organic and nutritious food. In particular, include healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. It may be counter-productive to skip meals or lower your caloric intake to below 1,200 calories for women or 1,800 calories for men (these numbers are basic guidelines and may vary for each person). Skipping meals and fasting for long periods of times slows down your metabolism.