Contrary to popular belief, embarking on that hour-long run on the treadmill or out in the park may not be the best way to shed fats or help to effectively sustain an optimal weight. In this article, I will share with fellow FITteners some proven and effective ways that can help increase your metabolic rates, thereby, making weight management even easier than before.
As defined by (1), metabolism is the chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism, some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized. People with a slow metabolism seem to store fat easily, while people with a fast metabolism seem to be able to eat and never get fat (how fortunate…). Your metabolic set point can be influenced by the external environment (climate), nutrition, exercise, and other factors. In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is essential to seek sustainable methods to effectively elevate metabolic rates and keep it that way.
Pack on Lean Muscles
Increasing your lean muscle mass is a sure way to elevate your metabolic rate. This is because, during strength training, lifting weights stresses and breaks down existing muscles, triggering more new muscle cells to build over the old ones. It takes 3 times more calories to build, use and sustain the metabolically active muscle cells than fat cells. As the proportion of lean muscle increases, the body will tend to burn more calories – even at rest. In a standard bout of cardio exercise, once the increased heart rate tapers off, the calorie burning process ceases. However, calories are continually being burnt several hours after a strength training session as the body and muscles gradually recover from the workout (2).
Packing on lean muscles does not require one to bulk up. In fact, muscle development can be largely controlled by the type of resistance exercise engaged. For those who are looking for a toned and lean figure can utilize workouts which consist of lighter weights with more repetitions (preferably 12 to 15 reps). As for those who are looking to bulk with bulging biceps and all, seek to carry heavier weights at lesser repetitions, coupled with explosive forms of exercises, such as polymetrics training. Whether it is to bulk or to tone, the key is to elevate metabolic rates over a prolonged period of time by improving the overall muscle to fat ratio.
Intensify your Cardio Workout
Slow and steady does not necessarily ensure that you win the fat-busting race. As opposed to long stretches of cardio exercises, such as an hour-long jog on the treadmill, countless studies have already pointed to the direction where short intense workouts are more beneficial in keeping metabolism high (2).
One Scottish study investigated and revealed participants were able to boost their metabolic rates by engaging in intensive half minute cardio bursts (2). This coincides with my previous post on HIIT, which involves short bouts of intense exercises that are alternated with intervals of lighter paced (resting) workouts in between. This not only keeps your routines way shorter, you would also be able to maintain a relatively high metabolism some hours after the session has ended.
A High TEF Diet
TEF or Thermic Effect of Food is defined as the energy required by the body to break down and digest nutrients in the foods we consume (3). A high TEF index would basically mean that the body will have to expend more energy and time to digest and absorb the nutrients from this genre of foodstuff. In other words, by consuming such foods, the body will not only experience higher metabolic rates, satiety levels will also be kept relatively high over a longer period of time. High TEF foods include those that are rich in protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates.
Rather than solely depending on long and consistent cardio training, try incorporating these tips into your routine. They might help you effectively attain your desired body composition over a shorter period of time.
(1) Hatfield, F. (2013). Fitness: The Complete Guide (8.6.6 ed.). Carpinteria, California: International Sports Science Association.
(2) Lara, M. (2013, May 16). Boost Your Metabolism, Build Muscle. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from http://www.oxygenmag.com/article/boost-your-metabolism-build-muscle-8681
(3) Dan, T. (n.d.). The Best Ways to Increase Your Metabolism. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/best-ways-increase-your-metabolism