We hear the word a lot, but what does Metabolism actually mean and is it important?
Metabolism – all you need to know!
We hear a lot about metabolism:
“A fast metabolism is vital for a lean body” “Coffee speeds it up!” “It slows down after the age of 40.” “Lifting weights raises your metabolism” “I struggle with my weight because I have a slow metabolism” “Green Tea will boost metabolism” “This diet plan will speed up your metabolism” etc.
But what does the word METABOLISM even mean? And how much of what we hear is actually true? Why does metabolism differ between people and is there really anything we can do to change ours?
It’s all very confusing, but here at LemonBody, we do know a thing or two about metabolism and we’ve written it all down for you here:
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. Your body takes calories from what you eat and drink and uses oxygen to release the energy we need to function.
The faster your Metabolism, the faster the rate at which you burn calories – which is useful if you are trying to lose weight. You will also burn more calories even at rest, i.e. when you’re not being active. So if you’re trying to lose fat, increasing your metabolism is a huge help. Generally speaking, a faster Metabolism will improve your energy levels and a lot of people report a very positive effect on their mood too.
Can you speed up your metabolism?
Yes, everyone can. And the best way to do this is through the right type of exercise. To really rev up your metabolism as much as possible, you should combine High Intensity Workouts (to burn Body Fat) alongside Resistance Training (lifting heavy things) to build and strengthen Muscle. Muscle is key to raising your Metabolism because it needs more energy than Body Fat just to exist, so you burn more calories the more Muscle mass you have.
Contrary to popular belief, Cardiovascular Training (and particularly jogging) is NOT the most effective way of cranking up your metabolism to keep you lean. Certainly, jogging burns calories, but only while you’re doing it. Unfortunately, jogging also burns Muscle – just take a look at any runner that competes at 5000m or more and they are all stick thin. That’s because you do not need much Muscle to jog, so your body uses Muscle as fuel – the last thing we want!
So if you want to raise your Metabolism (which will help you burn Body Fat), you should do three things:
1. HIIT Training
2. Resistance Training (lifting heavy things)
3. Eat the right foods, little and often
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT Workouts consist of a series of short (just 20-30 seconds) of very high effort Cardio, such as sprinting. They raise Metabolism, burn Fat but help preserve Muscle if done correctly. The type of training we do at BootCamp is ideal in this regard. You can read more about HIIT Workouts here.
Another example of a really effective HIIT Workout is our Hill Sprints in Richmond Park. Take a look at our EVENTS SECTION to see when the next Hill Sprints Workout is scheduled.
Resistance Training stimulates Muscle growth and greater Muscle mass means a higher metabolism – which means you’re burning more calories even when you’re not training i.e. sitting on the sofa!
At BootCamp, we always include some Muscular Effort activity in our Workouts to make sure your Muscles stay strong and toned. The next time you come along, pick a resistance band or power bag that really taxes your Muscles – that’s where the benefit lies!
Eat the right Food, little and often.
Eating plenty of protein at every meal is important if you workout regularly. Protein does not turn to fat easily and takes a while to digest, which burns calories in itself. Protein is vital for building and maintaining Muscle. You should also drink more water. You’ll be properly hydrated and your Metabolism will rise if you drink more water
Despite what you might have been told about how to lose weight, eating little and often is key. You should ideally eat within 30 minutes of waking up. If you leave the house without eating, your body will believe that food is getting scarce and will then try to do all it can to store fat, which is the opposite of what you want.
Studies show that eating roughly every three hours, whether a meal or a snack, keeps your metabolism up over the course of the day. If you wish to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn, but you still must eat, so do so little and often so you will not feel hungry all the time.
You should also eat healthy foods – no matter whether you wish to lose weight, gain weight or just stay healthy. You can find out more about Healthy Eating in our BLOG Articles here.
Why does Metabolism vary from person to person?
Your Metabolism is personal to you and many factors, both genetic and lifestyle related, will affect it.
A professional athlete would have a much higher Metabolism than that of a sedentary office worker. The more sedentary you are, the slower your Metabolism, so you must stay active, particularly as you age.
BootCamp raises your Metabolism far more than jogging alone. So what are you waiting for? Come along and join in and bring your friends too!
Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.