Metabolism refers to all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism. The chemical reactions of metabolism are organized into metabolic pathways. These pathways allow the basic chemicals from nutrition to be transformed into another chemical by a sequence of enzymes. Enzymes allow organisms to derive desirable reactions that require energy. Enzymes also allow the regulation of the metabolic pathways in response to changes in the cell’s environment.
Metabolism is categorized into:
- CATABOLISM: Catabolism refers to the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy. Energy formation is one of the vital components of metabolism.
- ANABOLISM: Anabolism is the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells.
Enough with the grammar! Metabolism simply put means the way in which the body converts food and drinks into energy. This means that the loads of calorie in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy that the body needs to function. A lot of people have blamed their weight gain on a slow metabolism, on the same vein, a lot of people claim that their weight loss was aided by a fast metabolism. How true are these claims though?
Metabolism though linked to weight, is rarely the cause of weight gain. Yes, it does influence your body’s energy needs, but your calorie intake and the level of your physical activity play a major role in determining either weight gain or weight loss. Note that there are some medical conditions that slow metabolism such as Cushing’s syndrome or Hypothyroidism (having an underactive thyroid gland).
Have you observed something about a cell phone? Even when you aren’t actively using a cell phone, it seems to always be using up battery life. In that same way, even when you’re at rest, your body still uses up energy for activities like; breathing, repairing cells, replacing cells, circulating blood and adjusting hormone levels. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these activities is known as ‘basal metabolic rate’ (metabolism).
The thing about weight (fat) is that you tend to gain it when you consume more calories than you burn. You need to create an environment where you burn more calories than you consume. This invariable means a weight loss diet plan and physical activities. Create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories or by burning more calories through physical exercise. Combining both will be more effective and guarantees a faster result.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR)
Here are some factors that may affect your BMR;
- Genetics: genetics are a large determinants when it comes to metabolism.
- Age: studies have shown that average BMR decreases by 2% per decade after age 20.
- Gender: because of muscle mass, men tend to have a higher BMR than women.
- Height: tall people stand a chance of having a higher BMR than shorter people.
- Diet: long term low calorie intake may reduce your BMR. Dieting with all its benefits may be counterproductive when taken to an extreme.
HOW TO BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
- MUSCLE BUILDING: gaining muscle mass increases the rate of metabolism. Did you know that every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day just to sustain itself? This means that a person with more muscles burns more calories daily especially after a session of strength training exercise since muscles are activated all over the body causing an increase in the average daily metabolic rate.
- HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISES: rev up your metabolism by pushing yourself during workout. High-intensity exercise pushes the body into a longer rise in resting metabolic rate.
- CHANGE YOUR DIET: There are foods, ingredients and beverages that have been known to boost metabolism. You have to make a meal plan that consists of these. They include: green tea, extra olive virgin oil, broccoli, cheese, avocado, eggs (especially egg yolk), whole grains, garlic, lentils, nuts (almond, walnuts and nut butters), salmon etc. Basically, you need to go on a protein high diet.
- KILL THE BOOZE: this should have come under changing your diet but for emphasis purposes, we need to pay close attention. Making consumption of alcohol a habit can slow your metabolic rate. Studies have shown ht alcohol consumption slows the body’s fat-burning ability by about 73%. Alternate your booze with water.
- SLEEP: cut down on the sleepless nights. If it isn’t absolutely important, try not to lose your sleep over it. A good night’s sleep is essential for great metabolism. Note that sleep during the day can have a counter effect.
As with every other weight loss plan, it is important that you consult with your doctor before trying anything to boost your metabolism especially if it involves taking pills. It’s best to have a doctor assess the potential benefits and risks of any metabolism boosting pills you may want to take. Cut down on your calorie intake and exercise regularly your metabolism rate will be high enough that you won’t need any boosters at all.
PhotoCredit: Fun and Fitness Gymnastics