Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The 7 Keys to Take Charge of Your Metabolism

We hear the word "Metabolism" frequently in the advertising of fitness or weight loss products. Ads promise to "speed up your metabolism" by using this device or by taking that supplement. Today, let's clear up some misconceptions regarding metabolism and empower you to take charge of your own, without having to purchase a product!

Factors which influence metabolism include genetics, age, gender, activity level, nutrition timing and body composition. Although we cannot change our parents, age or gender, we do have control over the majority of the factors of metabolism.

1. Work All of the Muscles of Your Body! As we increase our lean muscle tissue, we burn more calories throughout the day, both during activity and at rest. You don't have to look like a bodybuilder to elevate your metabolism through adding lean, toned and shapely muscle tissue.

2. Eat Small Meals Frequently! To stoke your metabolism you need to fuel your body (in other words, you need to eat!) every 3 to 4 hours with a balanced intake of lean proteins, whole grain and fibrous carbohydrates. Going too long between meals will substantially drop your blood glucose, reduce your body's ability to use calories efficiently and lead to food cravings.

3. Increase Your Non-Exercise Activity! Let's face it; we are a terribly sedentary society that desperately needs to get moving. Instead of circling the parking lot vying for the closest parking space, walk a little farther. In lieu of using the elevator take the steps. Take a brisk walk in the evening with a friend, spouse or child before eating dinner - it'll burn some calories, suppress your appetite, and elevate metabolism a bit.

4. Vary Your Cardio! Some days you'll do a moderate intensity, steady state cardio session for 30 minutes. Other days you'll perform 20 minutes of staggered cardio intervals in a ratio of 3 minutes steady state, 1 minute sprints. And sometimes you'll go for 45 minutes at a lower level of intensity. Vary your cardiovascular routine to continue providing adaptation to your heart and lungs, improving your ability to deliver nutrients and oxygen to all of the cells of your body and to optimally elevate your metabolism.

5. Drink Water, Not Calories! Studies show that when you are well hydrated you consume fewer calories. Similarly, when you consume calories from solid food, your brain effectively registers appetite satiation and reduces hunger. But when you consume calories from liquids, your appetite isn't satisfied so you end up eating more. In a culture of 800-calorie Big Gulps and 580-calorie White Chocolate Mochas, pick water as your beverage of choice.

6. Chill Out! We live in a highly "stressed out" over stimulated world. Too much stress leads to significant increases in the hormone cortisol, which in turn causes your body to store extra fat. To counteract the demands of society, schedule a 20 minute daily power nap during your lunch hour, learn meditation and visualization relaxation skills or listen to calming music. Exercise is one of the most effective stress reducers and, of course, it's already on the list for elevating metabolism. Regardless, take regular breaks from the maddening word in which we live today.

7. Take Responsibility! If we are to make changes, we must start by accepting full responsibility for where we are. No one else is to blame for your current circumstances - not your parents, spouse, co- workers or past experiences. You are where you are today because of decisions you've made in the past. You have complete control over what goes in your mouth and how much exercise and movement you achieve each day. So start where you are today and begin to integrate habits that will allow you a more enjoyable, productive, healthier and fitter life.

Okay, let's get to it!!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

HealthStyle Fitness Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665

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