Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside your body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.
These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR may account for up to 80% of your body's daily energy requirements, depending on your age and lifestyle. A "slow metabolism" is more accurately described as a low BMR.
There are lots of online calculators that can work out your daily energy needs. Look out for those that use the Harris-Benedict equation.
Body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in the speed of your metabolism.
Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with more muscle than fat tend to have a faster metabolism.
As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why your metabolism may slow down as you get older.
In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism because they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women.
Your metabolism may be partly determined by your genes, although this is not yet fully understood.
Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.
Some of these factors are within your control (like muscle mass and activity level, for example), while others are not (genetics and age). Luckily, there are some proven metabolism boosters that can kick-start the body into using calories more efficiently, protecting the body from disease and slowing down signs of aging.Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.
Fish oil is an extremely healthy ingredient that’s found in fatty fish. This oil can temper down inflammation, oxidative stress, and other harmful cellular processes.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to drastically increase weight loss.
In a 2010 study, researchers provided 46 participants with daily fish oil for 6 weeks. The results of the study showed that participants lost an average of 0.5 Kg. Researchers also noted that the serum levels of cortisol dropped, which is the stress hormone responsible for activating fat-storing metabolic pathways.
The caffeine found in coffee is a potent central nervous system stimulator that boosts alertness and vigilance. This substance can also help people lose more weight by boosting their metabolism.
In one study, individuals who consumed coffee before exercising experienced twice the degree of lipolysis (fat burning) relative to the control groups.
Apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy that may provide several health benefits, including reduced inflammation, better glycemic control, and appetite suppression.
The active ingredient – acetic acid – is also implicated in weight loss.
In a 2009 study, 144 overweight participants added two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to their usual diet for 12 weeks.
By the end of the study, researchers reported that participants lost an average of 1.7 kilograms of fat.
Can losing weight too fast slow my metabolism?
Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can slow your metabolism.
With some diets, your body is forced to break down muscle to use for energy. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism.
With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it then becomes a lot easier to put body fat back on after coming off the diet.
It's claimed that certain foods and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is weak or they are not effective long-term solutions.
While you do not have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity.
The more active you are, the more calories you burn.
Some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active – and maybe more fidgety – than others.
Here are the 3 most effective ways of burning calories:
Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn calories. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling and swimming, a week.
You can achieve this target by doing 30 minutes, 5 days a week and breaking down your activity sessions in chunks of 10 minutes.
To lose weight, you're likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet.
DS Fitness has a selection of cardio workouts suitable to all levels of fitness. Message Diane Singleton, or call 07766162544 to book in for your first class FREE (Must be new to DS Fitness to be eligable for a FREE Session)
Muscle burns more calories than fat, so increasing your muscle mass will help you lose weight.
Aim to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on 2 or more days a week.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights and high-intensity bouts of exercise, like Group Power or 3D 30 Heavy gardening may also do the job.
Try to make activity part of your daily routine. That could include walking or cycling all or part of your journey to work. You could also take the stairs instead of the lift.