9 Thing To Know About Your Metabolism

9 Thing To Know About Your Metabolism

Say the word ‘metabolism’ and chances are weight loss - or gain for that matter - come to mind. But there’s more to your metabolism than the difference of a dress size. In its most basic form, your metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into fuel, but this complex engine does more than just burn calories. We sat down with two of London’s leading health experts to delve deeper into this much-misunderstood system…

Metabolism is a broad term encompassing all the chemical processes going on within your body – think breathing, nerve function and circulation. To ensure you can carry out these processes, your body converts energy from the food you eat into fuel.  Food aside, the experts say there are countless factors that weigh in on your body’s engine. From HIIT to hydration, here’s the scientific scoop on your inner ticking clock.

Understand The Gene Connection

“It’s tricky to say how much of your metabolism is down to your genes. There are some genetic health problems which can have an effect, such as hypothyroidism (which can lead to a decreased metabolism) and hyperthyroidism (which can lead to an increased metabolism), but it’s more likely down to factors such as age, muscle mass and activity levels. However, some people are born with more muscular body types than others, and these people will naturally have a faster metabolism.” – David Wiener, Training & Nutrition Specialist at Freeletics

Stay Active

“Statistics show lean people are on their feet for two-and-a-half hours more per day than obese individuals. Increasing your daily activity outside of the gym – referred to as NEAT, ‘non exercise activity thermogenesis’ – is a smart and easy way to improve metabolism. Around 60% of your metabolism is used to keep your body functioning , while 30% is governed by NEAT – whether that’s hitting your step goal or planned exercise such as going to the gym. Daily movement is critical for a healthy metabolism and may account for as much as 2000 calories of extra output per day.” – Gideon Remfry, Wellness Director at KX Life and KXU, PT & Nutritional Therapist

Build Lean Muscle

“Building muscle mass can have a positive effect on your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) by as much as 60%. The theory to REE improvement seems to be linked to the little energy factories in your cells called mitochondria, which are represented in large amounts in skeletal muscle tissue. These mitochondria produce heat as they make energy, which raises the thermic energy burning potential of your body. With a large proportion of these mitochondria stored in your muscles, it makes sense that the more muscle you have, the more energy you use at rest.” – Gideon Remfry 

Eat Regular Meals

“The idea that eating more frequent meals throughout the day stimulates metabolism is rubbish. However, one common theme I see with my clients is their diet has fallen out of sync with their daily sleep-wake cycle, which in turn makes them overeat late in the day when we need less energy. The knock-on effect results in a vicious cycle of metabolism and appetite dysregulation and weight gain.” – Gideon Remfry 

Stay Hydrated

“Dehydration causes your body’s basic processes to slow down, eventually leading to a temporary decrease in your metabolism. When cells in the body are deprived of water, they shrink slightly; the body senses the change in cell size and uses it as a signal to slow metabolism. A recent study found that when people experience 3% dehydration, their metabolism slows by around 2%.” – David Wiener

Exercise Strategically

“Countless studies have shown HIIT trumps LISS (low intensity exercise such as walking or slow jogging) when it comes to fuelling metabolism. HIIT and strength training cause more physiological stress to the body, raising something called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which allows your body to burn calories even when in a rested state. LISS, on the other hand, has been found to have insignificant EPOC effects, meaning there is little or no change to metabolic rate.” – David Wiener

Eat More Protein

“Protein requires more energy to metabolise when compared to both fat and carbs. In fact, studies suggest protein-rich foods can increase your metabolic rate by 15-30%, whereas carbs will raise it by just 5-10% and fat by 3%. Keep your protein intake high by including a good-quality source of protein at each meal, especially breakfast.” – Gideon Remfry 

Recognise The Hormone Link 

“There’s a wealth of research which suggests a link between hormones and metabolism. The main hormones involved in the metabolic processes are insulin, glucagon, ghrelin (the hunger hormone), the thyroid hormones and the stress hormone cortisol. Each of these hormones, and many more, impact on your metabolism and your body’s ability to burn fat. A healthy lifestyle, which includes a good diet and plenty of exercise, can regulate hormone production.” – David Wiener

Think About Pre & Post-Exercise Nutrition

“It’s not necessarily better to work out on an empty stomach. Some studies have found exercising in a fasted state can burn up to 20% more calories compared to exercising after eating. This is because once you eat, insulin (which regulates the breakdown of fat) increases in our body. According to some research, higher insulin levels have been shown to suppress fat metabolism by 22%. However, another study has suggested eating carbs before workout increases the post-exercise ‘after-burn’ effect more than the fasted state, meaning you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, not just during your sweat session.” – David Wiener

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