As I get older time seems to speed up and my metabolism slows down. If only I could wave my magic wand and reverse these trends. The reality is that our metabolism slows over time and we tend to be less active as we age, enhancing this effect.
What are we talking about when we talk about metabolism? Instructor, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and Corrective Exercise Specialist DeRahn Johnson says, “Your metabolism is the total amount of processes occurring in your body at any given time; your heartbeat, breathing, digesting, and muscles exercising, for example. These processes require energy to run, and that means the more processes that are active, or the more rapid these processes are running, the more energy your body requires and consumes.”
Whether you have a fast or slow metabolism is relative. While genetics do play a part in metabolism, it is not the only factor. You can influence your bodies ability to burn more or less energy based on lifestyle choices. It may not always be a slower metabolism that you’re working against to stay fit.
Here are four myths about your metabolism DeRahn talks about his Master Your Metabolism class.
Certain foods can boost metabolism. There are no foods out there that will make you burn more calories than you consume. The best approach is to have an easy to follow and healthy meal plan.
Eating many small meals throughout the day will raise metabolism. When we eat food – especially, carbohydrates – our insulin levels rise, causing our fat burning to decrease. The more of these insulin surges we have, the less time our body is spending burning that fat people want to get rid of. Three healthy meals with portion control may be better for you than many smaller meals or grazing with handfuls of snacks throughout the day.
Eating less is better. There is a balance between eating less and eating healthy. If you drastically reduce calories while trying to shed a few pounds, you’re in for a big fight with your body. Your body adjusts its processes according to the energy that’s available. Underfeeding can lead to a loss of muscle, low energy, low brain functioning, or underperforming in a variety of areas.
You can’t change your metabolism. Though your genetics and DNA are significant factors in your metabolism, you can make choices that can significantly influence your metabolism. If you don’t already, one of the most beneficial of these changes is performing resistance training. When it comes to your muscles, it’s “use them or lose them”. You want to do resistance training with enough intensity to signal the body to make adaptations. That means you want the most intense workout you can handle while maintaining proper form and pain-free range of motion. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, features repeated bursts of exercise followed by short moments of recovery. These type of workouts – which can combine strength & cardio – can cause the body to continue to burn calories long after the workout is over.
“The easiest change,” DeRahn told us in his Master your Metabolism class, “is sometimes the most lasting.” More gradual, but consistent change seems to be longer lasting than rapid but unsustainable changes.