By Nutrition Expert
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Energy metabolism or metabolic rate. You hear these terms all the time. But what do they mean?
Energy metabolism is the process of converting the energy we get from food into the energy we use for normal body functions, keeping warm and moving. Metabolic rate is essentially the speed at which we use this energy and burn calories, or the rate at which your body's motor is running.
"Basal metabolism" is the metabolic rate or caloric expenditure needed to maintain basal body functions such as your heart beating, breathing, muscle tone, etc. It's how fast your "motor" would run even if you stayed in bed all day and did nothing.
Basal metabolism can account for about 75 percent of the calories you burn on a daily basis and is at least 1200 calories in most people, but can be over 2000 in some. This depends mostly on your sex, weight and height.
The good news is that there are several ways that you can really rev up your metabolism. The more of these you're able to incorporate into your life, the more you'll boost the number of calories you burn per day. The more efficient you are at burning calories, the easier time you'll have dropping the extra pounds.
So get your motor running with these ten tips to rev up your metabolism:
1. Always eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast sends the message to your body that you're "starving" because you haven't had food in 8 or more hours. As a protective mechanism, your metabolism slows down. Food fuels your metabolism.
2. Never eat less than 1,200 calories (5016 kJ) per day. Fewer calories are usually not enough to support your basal metabolism, so they slow your metabolism.
3. Snack frequently. Carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and grains fuel your metabolism. Also, snacking prevents you from becoming too hungry. The hungrier you are, the less control you have over what - and how much - you eat.
4. Eat more carbohydrates (food from plants), and less fat (food from animals and other food with added fat). Carbohydrates boost your metabolism and have fewer calories per gram than fat.
5. Do some type of aerobic exercise -- walking, jogging, swimming, stationary cycling, aerobic dancing, etc. - on a daily basis and preferably in the morning. Our bodies were designed to be active on a daily basis, not just once or twice a week. When we are, our metabolism soars. In addition to your regular aerobic exercise, take a brisk 10 to 15 minute walk at lunch or in the evening. This serves to boost your metabolism even more.
6. Tone your muscles with weight training three days per week. Toned muscles send your metabolism through the roof.
7. Look for situations to be active. Park as far from the shop as you can rather than looking for the closest parking spot. Use the stairs rather than the lift. Look for the "hard" way to do things.
8. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol depresses your metabolism and stimulates your appetite.
9. Avoid the three P's: Pills, Powders & Potions. People who try quick-fix weight loss usually end up devastating their metabolism. There are NO quick fixes.
10. Now get started today. You'll feel better and your metabolism will be in super-charged shape.