Your friend can eat anything she wants and not gain a pound, while you have to count every calorie. Chalk it up to metabolism! Science confirms that each of us has our own metabolic rate, and gender and age plays a role, too. Men really do have faster metabolisms, and at about age 25, a woman’s metabolism declines an estimated 2-5% every 10 years. But there is good news, ladies.
You can reset your metabolic clock. By eating smarter, exercising more, sleeping well and building more muscle, you can increase the rate at which your body burns fuel. In fact, the most important factor for increasing your metabolism is building lean muscle tissue since muscle burns 90% more calories than fat does. But muscles alone cannot do it all. Read on to discover eight ways to rev up your metabolism.
Do not skip meals and avoid super-low-calorie diets which can lower your metabolism. Your body will compensate for the reduced food intake by slowing down how fast you burn it, which lowers your metabolism. Plus, your body will hold onto fat and burn muscle. If you do diet, never go below 1,000 calories a day.
2. Build muscle.
One pound of muscle burns up to 50 calories per day. Add five pounds of muscle and you will burn up to 250 more calories a day! To build lean muscle, add strength training to your fitness routine 2-3 days a week. Lean muscle burns calories 24- hours-a-day.
Regular exercise at least three days a week can raise your metabolism during the activity and for several hours afterward. Biking, walking, and swimming are good choices.
Chronic sleep loss can affect the way carbohydrates are metabolized, which can lead to increased hunger and a slowed metabolism. Plus, when you are tired, you often skip workouts, which further slows down metabolism. Eight hours of sleep each night is optimum.
5. Curb the alcohol.
Alcohol may interrupt sleep, which can slow down your metabolism. Alcohol may also interfere with good eating and workout habits.
6. Reduce stress.
Stress can also interfere with a good night’s sleep, which may reduce your metabolism. Stress may also cause binge eating or unhealthy eating habits such as meal skipping.
7. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
White breads, cookies, and chips cause blood sugar levels to spike and then plummet, leaving you hungry again. Excess sugars are more likely to be stored as fat, also. Complex carbs, such as 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables, are better. They make you feel fuller longer since they break down more slowly in your system.
8. Eat protein.
Muscle is built from protein. Without it, you can lose muscle mass. A good rule to follow is that you need one gram of protein per pound of muscle per day. That means about 100 grams of protein daily for an average-weight, five-foot-four-inch woman.
Francesca Fisher is the owner of Geri-Fit Co. Ltd. of Temecula, California. For more information, visit gerifit.com, or call 1-888-GERIFIT.