Firing Up Your Metabolism
There are many factors involved in weight loss and actually your diet and your training are only one part of that.
While the IIFYM (If It Fits in Your Macros) crowd will tell us that the only thing that matters is calories, this is actually a drastic oversimplification. Try telling that to someone who has hypothyroidism, for instance, and you’ll likely get a slap.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes a change in the number of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These regulate weight loss among other things and as a result, those who suffer from the condition end up gaining more weight than others while at the same time feeling more tired.
And the thing is, we all have differing hormonal balances. You don’t need to have hypothyroidism or another condition to be someone who finds it harder to shift weight.
Your metabolism has a big role in how your body reacts to training and dieting and so it’s important to make sure that it’s ticking away and you’re burning as many calories as possible throughout the day.
Unfortunately, several things can cause our metabolisms to slow down. Lack of activity is one, of course, but so too is age, weight gain and stress.
So how do you kick your metabolism back into gear?
When you wake up in the morning after a long sleep, you’re in a fasted state with low blood sugar and you’ll be high in cortisol. In this state you’ll actually burn more calories and thus many people will try and maintain it as long as possible by not eating anything until lunch.
This is a mistake however, as this fasted state also slows down our metabolism. It’s not until you put some food in your system that your body wakes up and things start kicking in – you begin burning those calories for fuel, which in turn sends a signal to the brain that you’ve eaten and this perks you up and prevents you from snacking throughout the day. It also raises your metabolism.
Many experts including author Tim Ferriss recommend eating 30 grams of protein 30 seconds after waking up for the full effects.
If you’re trying to burn calories and all you’re doing is running, then you’re missing an important component. Lifting weights is actually fantastic for increasing your metabolism and especially when you use the big compound lifts like bench press, squat and deadlift. The reason for this is that using muscle requires a lot of energy and once you’ve built up your muscle, it takes energy just to maintain it.
Also highly effective is “HIIT.” This is High Intensity Interval Training which essentially means alternating between periods of sprinting/high exertion and periods of relatively lesser activity like walking or jogging.
This combination puts you in an anaerobic state which uses up all the glucose in your blood stream and thereby puts your body in a fat burning mode throughout the rest of the day. This is sometimes called the “after-burn effect.”