Fire Up Your Metabolism

Fire Up Your Metabolism

Kathy Smith Weight TrainingWith spring around the corner and short season just days away, no better time exists than now to rev up your metabolism and illustrate just how you’ve blossomed. You may remember the phrase “Calories in, calories out.” But if you’re looking to lose weight, that phrase might be keeping you up at night.

Spring fever may feel like a monotonous diet of rice cakes and ice cubes. But dieters, rejoice because there might just be a “magic pill” after all – one that acts as a fat-burning furnace, helping you blaze calories even when you’re resting. And, that magic pill is your metabolism. But, a fast metabolism doesn’t have to be exclusive to elite athletes and genetically gifted teens. It can be yours, starting today! Here are some tips on how to fire up your metabolism.

1.         Eat Up!

One way to get your metabolism humming is to eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. The concept is called “dietary thermogenesis” – the energy our bodies require to digest food. Digestion is an energy-intensive process. It takes work to convert the food you eat into energy you can use. So, if you want to boost your metabolism (and who doesn’t?), the last thing you should do is go on a deprivation diet because fasting lowers your metabolic rate, causing your body to go into self-preservation mode, clinging to life to every bit of fat. I often tell people that when you eat is as important as what you eat, but of course, the “what” aspect is important too – so we’ll come back to that one!

2.         Muscle Up!

Your metabolism rate is in direct proportion to the amount of lean muscle mass on your body because muscle tissue is extremely active even when you’re resting. Muscle grows and repairs after exercise. If you do a strength training workout and then relax you’re not just resting – you’re burning calories! The best way to boost muscle mass besides regular cardio workouts is to strength train two or three times a week. The bonus: lifting weights can also decelerate the aging process and increase bone mass (especially important for women with our increased risk of osteoporosis).

3.         Drink Up!

Metabolism slows down when you’re dehydrated, and one of the best vehicles for transporting fat is water. If the water in your blood drops below normal levels, it starts pulling water from your muscles, and you’ll likely mistake thirst for hunger. But, there are great sources for water beyond simply, well . . . water. You can get structured water from fruits and vegetables that are filled with the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to work efficiently and support its metabolism.

4.         Chill Out!

Studies show that people who live in so-called “Blue Zones” – places where humans live past the age of 100 – show a clear common denominator: a low-stress life. Stress wreaks havoc on the body, no matter the source (traffic, a screaming toddler, a deadline at the office). The result is the same: muscles begin to break down and fat begins to accumulate. So if stress is becoming an issue, yoga, meditation and a little R and R might just be what the doctor ordered. Do it for your health, your sanity . . . and your waistline.

5.         Sweat It Out!   

If you have access to a sauna, I encourage you to try it.  While it is certainly not a substitute for exercise, the sweating that results from the sauna’s heat can eliminate toxins (which slow down the body’s metabolism) and help you burn around 500 calories in 30 minutes.  It won’t do much for your fitness level, but it can speed up your metabolism and help you get more restful sleep at night (see #7).

6.         Talk It Over!   

A recent Australian study showed that older people with few friends are 22% more likely to die than people in the same age group with large circles of friends. And, another study showed that people whose friends gain weight are 60% more likely to do the same. So, the message is clear: when it comes to friendships, the benefits go way beyond the social and emotional. Friends can be good (or bad) for our health! The key is maintaining relationships with people who have similar goals and who will provide a support system for you.

7.         Get Your Z’s!   

When it comes to appearance, fitness, and general health, sleep can be powerful medicine. It directly affects our metabolism and our ability to maintain balanced hormones. When you don’t get enough sleep, your digestive hormones become imbalanced. Sleep loss essentially disconnects your brain from your stomach, leading to “mindless eating,” especially with sweets, salty snacks, and starchy foods.

Remember, calories in, calories out! But, now you have all the tools to fire up your metabolism and rock those short shorts!  Also, I recommend my Body Blast Solution if you want some extra help in losing weight and speeding up your metabolism. This kit is designed to take the guess work out of setting up and sticking to a healthy workout and nutrition lifestyle.

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  • 6′ Stretching Strap
  • Stay Firm Core Ball
  • Stretch 8 Tube
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Comments

  1. Item #6 gives the impression that we shouldn’t be friends with “fat” people. I think it should be clarified that the issue is not letting oneself become complacent about gaining the weight, not that one should avoid others just because they weigh more than we do. (And that is relative, anyway. I have an anorexic friend who thinks anyone over a size 0 is “fat”! She herself is a miserable size 6.)

  2. As always perfect timing….This is what I neded to hear because I am not eating enough I went from 1 extreem to another! Although I’m on a diet I need to make sure I eat. Thanks Kathy!

  3. Even though all these changes seem simple in logic, it will be staying consistent that will be the hard part for me. I think as women we all martyr for everyone else until it comes to ourselves. Usually someone else always comes first or gives us reason to put ourselves second. I am not as fit as I’d like to be or as healthy based on the points above but I am not sick or outside my target weight range. I could get more sleep, drink more water, eat more regularly, workout more regularly and smarter. So, today I am starting….for me….without guilt that I am putting someone second….I’m just putting me first, not selfishly but more matter of factly. Good luck to all those who feel the same! ;)

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