How many times have you watched enviously as your skinny friend downs a large double cheese pizza, fries and soda without a second thought? Feeling a bit jealous that they don’t gain an ounce, you realize they’re lucky to have a fast metabolism that is supporting this carefree eating attitude preserved for the chosen few. Well don’t fret, because there are ways that you could boost your metabolism too.
Before we get into the details, let’s first understand what the word metabolism really means. When we eat food, two things happen. The food first gets broken down into nutrients that can be digested and absorbed by the body (catabolic reaction). These nutrients are then used to build new tissues of your body and carry out various processes (anabolic reaction). The catabolic and anabolic reactions make up metabolism. How fast your body breaks down food is the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which determines if your metabolism is fast or slow. A fast metabolism is something that one can inherit, is gender specific as men usually burn more calories than women and gradually slows down with age.
While there is nothing that you can do about your genes, sex or age, there are a few ways you can rev up your metabolism this summer.
- Building muscles through strength training: More muscle mass than fat ensures a higher BMR as muscle require more energy (produced by the breakdown of food) and promotes a higher resting metabolic rate – calories burnt at rest. In a day, a pound of muscles burns around 6 calories while fat burns only 2 calories.
- Aerobics: Aerobics may not be able to increase your muscle mass, but the intense workout promotes a longer and greater resting metabolic rate.
- Drinking fluids: Wash down those calories with plenty of water. A strenuous workout and the scorching heat can easily dehydrate you, which in turn can slow down the processing of calories.
- Drinks: Coffee, green tea and certain energy drinks, especially those that contain caffeine, can kick start your metabolism.
- Small frequent meals: Eating large meals at large gaps can slow down metabolism. Instead, aim for small regular snacks.
- Spicy food: Spice up your meals to rev up your metabolism.
- Protein: More calories are burned eating proteins than carbs or fats.
- Diets: Crash diets can help you lose those extra pounds, but they also Crash diets no doubt help you lose your fat, but also strip you off your muscle mass, slowing your metabolism in the long run.
So, the magic mantra to boosting your metabolism is to take in fewer calories than your burn, build more muscle mass and stay active.