The M Factor – Metabolism– sounds mysterious and complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. It is the actual amount of calories our body needs daily. Seventy percent of those calories are used for basic functions, such as blood circulation and breathing. Another 20% is used for fueling physical activity, including working out, walking, standing etc. The remaining 10% helps us digest what we eat. It is true that eating burns calories. The trouble with weight gain begins when you consume more calories than your body needs to do these very things. That is when those pounds just pile on.
You can partly thank your genetics for the speed of your metabolism. Genes contribute to the levels of appetite control hormones that we have floating around in our bodies. Some people are genetically wired to be active. They are naturally restless and use more energy. Those people were born with the luck of a high metabolism. Gender also plays a role in the speed of our metabolism. The average man’s metabolism is about 10 to 15 percent higher than that of a woman’s. This mainly due to men having more muscle mass than women do, which means they burn more calories. General rule of thumb is that muscles assists you in the work you do, while fat just sits there doing nothing. Here are some helpful tips to start getting that metabolism back up, moving, and super charged.
- Exercise More
The number one way to keep that furnace cranking is working out. Keep in mind the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn. This is because muscles use energy even when you are at rest. If you exercise enough you can help prevent the natural metabolic slowdown that can begin as early as your late twenties. Have a goal of 5 workouts per week. Do about three days of aerobic activity and two days of weight lifting. This will also keep the workouts interesting enough so that boredom does not set in.
- Cardio Kick Off: Aerobic intervals help maximize the burn. This will double the amount of calories burned by the standard workout. Aerobic intervals also keep your metabolic rate higher than a routine with a steady pace. This means that you could be burning off an additional 65 calories or more after your workout is finished. The ideal way of working out in these aerobic intervals is to go hard for a few minutes and then slow it down a bit for a couple minutes. Keep this alternating pattern throughout the rest of your workout. Pick your cardio carefully. You should aim for exercises that require your body to work by using the majority of the muscle groups. For example, this means running is better than cycling. Cardio circuit training is also a great choice. Try jumping ropes, running stadium stairs and squat thrusts. Aim for 2 minutes of each exercise, for a total of 10 minutes.
- Use Those Muscles: Many women fear weight machines because they are afraid to bulk up. Many women will also only work on their legs and not on their arms. A head to toe strength routine is the way to go! If you can add five pounds of muscle to your body, you can burn as many as 600 calories an hour during your workout. Choose a weight-lifting workout that will target your legs, arms, shoulders, and your core.
2. Eating Smart to Make it to Slim
- Smart Foods :Make sure you are eating a serving of protein at every sitting. Your body needs the protein to help build lean muscles but the protein also takes more calories to digest. Try having low-fat yogurt at breakfast, maybe a little chicken or chicken salad at lunch, and salmon for dinner. Snacking healthy in between these protein enriched meals is also very important. Try walnuts or almonds. All foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids promote weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness. You should also eat more foods that slowly release sugar into the body for sustained energy. High-fiber fruits and veggies are great. Eating foods high in fiber three hours before working out will also help burn extra fat. You may want to try adding a little caffeine into your diet. Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline which speeds up the metabolism. Research has shown that caffeine can significantly accelerate the burn! But there is a limit. Limit yourself to 2 cups of caffeine per day. Drinking too much caffeine can overtax the system resulting in fatigue! Exactly what you do not want.
- Do Not Skip Meals: Just remember, by simply chewing, digesting and absorbing food kicks your metabolism into gear. The more frequently you eat, the more often it revs up. Missing a meal or going to long without eating, can bring your metabolism to a slow crawl. The human body changes gears and switches into a starvation mode. Your system will do this to try and conserve energy. Keep your metabolism running at a healthy pace by eating healthy meals of 300 to 400 calories and two snacks of approximately 200 or 300 calories every day.
- Eat Breakfast :Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will boost that metabolism to high speed. This is due to your level of cortisol being at it’s highest in the morning. Cortisol is a hormone that helps you use calories to build muscle mass. When you get up and eat in the morning, your body wants to turn those calories into muscle immediately. Take advantage of this metabolism torch by eating a healthy breakfast. Try scrambled eggs or egg whites, low-fat turkey, bacon, and a piece of whole-grain bread.
3. Big Results Come From Small Changes
- Go To Bed Earlier :Even when you get 2 hours less sleep than normal, your body becomes stressed and produces about 50 percent more cortisol. What that does is trigger your appetite. This may also cause you to overeat. If you deprive yourself of sleep to often, you could be facing a serious weight problem. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a 16-year study of sleep deprived women. The researchers found that those woman that slept seven to eight hours a night had the lowest risk of weight gain. While the women who slept six hours a night were 12% more likely to pile on the pounds, those who got in five hours or less were 32 percent more likely to gain weight.
- Stop Sitting :Being on the computer at work, or watching TV on the couch can slow down your metabolism, even if you are exercising regularly. An easy fix to this is to get off your butt. Try a stroll, stretching, or fidgeting throughout the day. This non-exercise activity thermogenesis can boost your daily burn and help you lose weight. In a study of lean volunteers who were fed extra calories, those who paced frequently maintained their weight, while the people that did not do the addition strolling gained weight.
- Night Time Work Outs: Doing a 20 to 30 minute moderate cardio workout routine before you go to bed will help boost your metabolism through the night. The average woman’s metabolic rate decreases by about 15 % when sleeping but at the end of a moderate cardio workout, it will drop closer to 5%. So ladies, take the dog for a walk or go for a bike ride. The activity will give you that second wind of energy. Just be sure to exercise about 2 to 2 1/2 hours before you head to bed.
- Medication Check: Some of the most dramatic metabolic dips occur when women start taking the birth control pill or antidepressants known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications commonly slow the metabolism because they affect how the thyroid gland functions which is how we regulate the use of our energy. High hormone progestin medications stimulate insulin secretion which leads to increased appetite and a lowered metabolism. If you have recently started taking a new medication and the scale seems to be inching upward, ask your doctor if there is an alternative treatment that is less likely to cause weight gain.
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