‘Metabolism’ is a bit of a buzz word on the fitness scene these days. Countless studies aim to prove speeding up your metabolism equals faster weight loss. But what is it exactly? Simply put, our metabolism is made up of three parts – the energy required to maintain bodily functions (resting metabolic rate); the energy required to eat and digest food (thermic effect of feeding); and the energy required to assist with exercise, daily activity and normal movements (thermic effect of activity).
A healthy metabolism can handle more food, allowing for more sustainable progress and fat loss. When our goal is to lose weight, we want a ‘fast’ metabolism to become more efficient at burning calories. It’s true, genetics play a big role in metabolism, but there are many ways we can give it a boost through physical activity too.
Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is one of the most effective ways to send our metabolism into overdrive. Muscle is made up of metabolically active tissue; this means it requires energy to be built, used and even maintained. Muscle mass burns a greater amount of calories than fat, so spending time on the weights floor will not only help boost metabolism, but prepare us for future fat loss.
This involves repeated efforts at all-out intensity, coupled with periods of recovery. It’s super efficient and keeps burning calories even after a workout, AKA ‘afterburn’. With more oxygen flowing through our muscles, we’re able to recover faster.
Simple things, like taking the stairs, can make a real difference in improving metabolic function. A study in the US shows climbing two flights of stairs each day lead to an average person losing up to 2.7kg a year. Bottom line, get moving!
We each have our own biological rhythms which dictate energy levels throughout the day, so training in the morning might not suit everyone. But for some of us, a morning workout can set the focus for the entire day, helping us to make better food and activity choices which keep our metabolism in check.
Several studies suggest sleep deprivation can really slow our metabolic function. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body will become less efficient at burning calories.