Do you feel like your metabolism is slow and getting even slower? Does it feel like your body just holds on to whatever you eat regardless of what it is? Do you find it easy to use your "slow metabolism" as crutch to justify weight gain?
At some point or another, we all can relate to one of those questions. In fact, odds are that your feeling isn't just a feeling. Your metabolism might actually be slow and here's why.
REASON #1 - Too Much Cardio
"Too much cardio? I thought all that cardio is supposed to speed up my metabolism." Yes and no. Increasing your heart rate will most certainly speed things up, but the long term effect isn't there. This is why it is extremely important to train with weights. The more muscle tissue your body has, the more calories it burns at a resting state. So, if you're spending hours and hours on the treadmill each week, there's a good chance your body is actually utilizing that muscle tissue for energy. Cardio is important, but there needs to be a healthy balance. Remember, we want to look lean and sexy, not skinny and flabby. For more information on what type of cardio is best, check out the blog here.
REASON #2 - YOUR EATING ISN'T CONSISTENT
In order to keep fat-burning a continuous action, our metabolism must be stimulated as often as possible. One way to keep it stimulated is by eating smaller, more frequent meals. When we eat frequently, we keep our blood sugar levels stable all while preventing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia occurs when we eat a massive meal. It causes insulin to spike and also makes us feel lethargic. Our bodies tend to store more fat when there is an insulin spike. To avoid this, spread your daily calories throughout the day. I recommend eating 4-5 meals per day. Remember, that doesn't mean you eat more, it just means you eat less, more often. At the end of the day, your calorie count should be the same.
REASON #3 - YOU DON'T EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN
This is a big issue with most of the general population today. People simply aren't eating enough protein. There's a good chance you aren't either, and that could be a contributing factor to your slow metabolism. Did you know, between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, protein has the biggest thermogenic effect. This means that it takes the most energy to digest, meaning more calories burned. So take advantage of this opportunity! I'm telling you to eat more. How could you say no?
But how much protein is enough? My recommendation is to eat .6-.8 grams per pound of body weight each day. Anything over .8 grams is usually wasted or stored as fat.
REASON #4 - YOU DON'T DRINK ENOUGH WATER
This is another paralyzer for most people. You might not know it, but there's a possibility you could be dehydrated.
Yes, drinking water can boost your metabolism! How? The big picture is this: while dehydrated, your chances of having cravings go through the roof. More cravings most likely means more cheating. So let's prevent that by drinking more. On a scientific level, a German study showed that metabolic rates increased in both men and women after drinking 17 oz. of water. You can find that study here. My recommendation is to drink .5 - 1 oz. of water per pound of body weight each day. An easy way to track this is by getting a water bottle that you love, and don't mind carrying around. Here are a couple that I carry around with me. No, my bottle isn't pink. But if it was, I would rock it. You can pick your color once you click the link!
The Hydro Flask is pricey, but one of the greatest investments I've ever made. The water stays cold for days. I don't know how they do it so well, but I'll just say it's magic.
REASON #5 - YOU DON'T SLEEP ENOUGH
Sleep is crucial. I can't emphasize this enough. Not only does a lack of sleep make you grouchy and miserable to be around, but it also can make you not give a crap about anything. When you don't give any, you eat any. #quoteoftheday. Also, when your body is tired and at a state where it lacks energy, it has a hard time managing those blood sugar levels I was talking about earlier. Remember, we are trying to avoid hypoglycemia! Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
If there's one thing that I really want you to get out of this article, it's this statement: You DO have control over your metabolism. There are choices you can make in your day-to-day life that can improve your metabolic rate. Think about the choices you make and compare them to this article. I am willing to bet that at least one of these items is what's keeping you from burning extra fat.
If you have more questions on what you can do to change your metabolism and burn more fat, please feel free to send any questions via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks for reading!
Boschmann, Michael, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. "Water-Induced Thermogenesis." The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 88.12 (2003): 6015-019. Web.