First of all, you’re probably wondering what your metabolism actually is. According to the experts at MayoClinic.com, your metabolism is the engine your body uses to convert what you eat and drink into energy. Faster engines burn more calories. And we all want faster engines. Biological factors such as age, gender, and body composition affect how fast your metabolism is.
Who wins the metabolism race?
- Heavy people. They tend to burn calories faster than their lighter-weight counterparts. Why? It takes more energy (a.k.a. calories) for someone who’s larger to perform physical tasks.
- Men — unfair, but true. Guys are more likely to have faster metabolisms than women because they have more muscle. And muscle burns more calories than fat.
- Young folks. It’s common to lose muscle as you age, which is why young people have the edge on older individuals.
Is your metabolism to blame for being overweight?
It’s possible, but not likely. Rare medical issues, such as Cushing’s Syndrome and hypothyroidism, are known to slow metabolism, experts say. But in actuality, most people are overweight because they eat too much and exercise too little.
How can you boost your metabolism?
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Starting your day with a nutritious brekkie is like flicking your body’s “on” switch to begin burning calories. When you choose healthy foods, such as lean protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you ensure that your body can tap into a lasting energy reservoir, until lunchtime rolls around.
- Sleep well. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people are unable to properly regulate the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which control hunger and fullness cures respectively, compared to those who get more sleep. Shoot for seven to eight hours of shut-eye nightly.
- Lift weights. Five pounds of muscle burns more calories than five pounds of fat (it’s also more compact and sexier-looking). By increasing your muscle mass, you’ll create a more efficient calorie-burning engine. Here’s a little secret: Eccentric work helps build muscle faster. What is eccentric work? If you’re doing a biceps curl, eccentric work is the action of lowering the weight. Drop the weight slowly — try a count of eight — to get the most bang for your buff!