Boost that Metabolism!
Metabolism may be the most talked about and misunderstood topic of our time. Every ‘expert’ in the street rambles on and on about how metabolism can help improve your performance, boost weight loss, and so on and so forth. While all these are true, most people do not have a clear understanding of how metabolism works and often pick up hear say from the streets.
So today this is where we are going to elaborate on the subject of metabolism. For starters, what is metabolism? In it’s simplest terms, metabolism is the process of chemical reactions assisting in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism, in this case, the human body.
Metabolism can be broken down into two parts - Catabolism, or the breakdown of molecules to get energy, and Anabolism also known as the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells. Therefore, having good metabolism is essential to the human body obtaining the energy it needs for daily living in a stressful world.
How the average joe boosts his metabolism is through working out. But before we go into that, the first thing you’ll need to do is to ask yourself: What level of person do you fall under?
Here’s a rough guide:
Level One – Person has not exercised for more than 2 years or never at all.
Level Two – Person has stopped exercising for 6 months to a year
Level Three- Person exercises regularly and is in good condition
The reason we recommend you gauge yourself this way is because we do not want you to do something high intensive when you fall under level one. This could cause injury or death. That said, the best way to boost metabolism is to look at are exercises that are done in short bursts and intensive.
Too stressed to be blessed?
Before you start any form of exercise, check your emotional health as well. What we mean by this is look for signs of emotional stress, depression or related emotional challenges. Why do we look at this? The reason is simple - Stress can elevate your cardiovascular risk and decrease your metabolism. Under stress the body stores calories and conserves weight.
Immediately nip the problem in the bud by dealing with your stress levels. Note if you have been going through any huge challenge in life recently, e.g the passing of a loved one, retrenchment, moving house or anything major. Take time out to be by yourself – its not necessary to take an overseas trip. Do something light like qigong or yoga. Practice gratefulness. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or old folks home. When you take your mind away from the challenge or depressive subject, your metabolism returns to normal, your blood pressure and cardiovascular rate returns to normal and you can start to focus on your problems and challenges at hand with more clarity.
Focus on the muscles
A lot of people immediately start jogging and running on threadmills like hamsters. However, an oft neglected part of metabolism boosting are strength training exercises. The misconception is that strength training exercise is only to make the muscles look bigger and prep the person for bodybuilding. Nonsense. Strength training exercises and pushes your puscles hard, so they require more calories to burn and there fore your metabolism increases.
Now if you’re a level one person, meaning you haven’t exercised in eons or never at all, select your weights carefully. Do not bite off more than you can chew – In fact carrying light dumbells and barbells can be quite intensive exercises if done in short, repetitive and intensive bursts. Have a trainer at the gym help spot you as you lift the barbells. When he/she is confident that you can progress to the next level, they will advise you accordingly or add the weights as needed.
If you’re level two or three, you can increase the intensity, repetition and weights of your workout. You may also try out other metabolism boosting workouts, such as kettlebells, which are an exceptional after-burn workout. This means the body continues to burn fat and keeps metabolism levels high even after your workout.
Focus on the cardio (and the muscles)
Ahah! You thought we would forget about cardio didn’t you? Well, cardio workouts are more than just boring jogging or aerobics. In fact, the truth is that jogging is not really a beneficial metabolic burning exercise or a fat loss exercise. Interval sprinting is. The reason being high interval intensive exercises (HIIT) not only boost your metabolism, but the body continues to burn fat and keeps metabolism levels high even after your workout.
There are tons of HIIT out there. From the tabata method created in Japan, to interval circuit training, to metabolic conditioning (METCON), you can choose whatever suits your fancy. However, our advice to level one and two people people is to consult both your physician and fitness trainer if you are eligible to try it out.
METCON is increasingly becoming the most popular form of HIIT. It simply means metabolic conditioning , where selected exercises which are fast paced and high intensity are completed in a short period of time. An example of a METCON training plan would be a circuit training session in an MMA or crossfit gym. These exercises are intense, hard and fun...and you may find yourself out of breath or aching. However, in a short period of time, you will see results...if you perform these exercises consistently of course.
Exercises to increase metabolism naturally may be the trend, or may be here to stay. However, it is imperative that one does the necessary homework and takes caution when executing them. As they are high intensive exercises, your heart rate and your muscles will be pushed to the max, and the last thing you want is to be hospitalized or killed because of your exercises.
However, executed properly, you will see the fruits of your labour in the mirror. Just keep going at it and never give up.