One of the key factors to weight loss and weight management is your metabolism. If you are want to lose weight and keep the weight off, one important thing to do is to rev up your metabolism.
Metabolism is a term that refers to how your body transforms the calories in the food you eat into energy. The food is broken down into sugars and amino acids that the body then has available for use as energy. The energy is then either used or it is stored as muscle or fat.
One very important key to keeping your metabolism high is to have a large amount of lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass burns calories all day long, whether we’re active or resting. A person who has more muscle mass will have a faster metabolism and burn more calories than a person who has less muscle.
The best way to build lean muscle mass is to weight train. Focus on a balanced program that effectively works all muscle groups. If you’re new to weight lifting, get some advice from a trained professional and then get going. Start with simple exercises and light weights and then increase the weights as your strength increases. Start by performing two to three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise.
Many times when a person is trying to lose weight they significantly reduce their caloric intake in an effort to lose the weight quickly. This actually works against you in your quest for weight loss. If you don’t consume enough food, your body will go into starvation mode. That’s where your body slows its metabolism and begins to store excess energy as fat.
Eating meals throughout the day will help to ensure that your body is keeping up with its energy needs and keeping your metabolism high. Start with a good breakfast to rev up your metabolism that has slowed itself during your sleep. Then eat small meals frequently during the day.
Some foods that help increase your metabolism include high fiber fruits and vegetables, low fat meats, nuts, and complex carbohydrates.
Drinking adequate amounts of water will also help speed your metabolism. When you are dehydrated your body slows its systems. Next you become low on energy and your body slows its metabolism, consuming fewer calories. To ensure proper hydration, drink at least one half gallon of water each day.
And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep leads to low energy and an increased need for calories. It also impairs the body’s ability to utilize carbohydrates. When carbohydrates are not burned by the body they are stored as fat.
So whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, cranking up your metabolism will go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals. Proper nutrition and hydration, combined with weight training and sleep habits, will get your metabolism fired up in no time.
Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. Direct questions about the information in this column to him at 505.662.5232.