How to fire up your metabolism
Summer is increasingly a fading memory for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Be honest with me – did you manage to attain that beach body you were after and could you proudly show it off?
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The fitness industry is a vast machine that spends the entire year pushing out all manner of healthy and motivating messages, and the summer in particular is prime time for the cascades of advice and instruction through websites, magazines and newspapers.
The sheer weight of this information can mean that it’s difficult to sift through it all and identify the truly practical and effective guidance from the hype, half truths and myths that makes up some of this output.
Quick metabolism myth-busters
So with that in mind I have put together five myth-busters around the theme of metabolism. I’ve chosen this because it’s a key subject for all of us but one which people tend to get very confused about.
Some excuse a lack of fitness and conditioning on their ‘slow metabolism’ whilst others simply don’t understand how to achieve significantly greater levels of fitness by getting the best out of their metabolism.
So here we go with the metabolism myth-busting…
1. Eliminate carbs
A myth that has gathered in momentum over recent years is the notion that you should cut carbs from your diet to maximise your metabolic performance. Whilst it is true that processed carbs should be kept to a minimum and increasing protein intake can give your metabolism a useful boost, eliminating all carbohydrates is not a good idea.
2. Exercise alone boosts metabolism
Exercise is of course a fabulous metabolism booster. Aerobic workouts are very good but it’s the toning and strengthening exercises that really take your metabolism to a new level and then efficiently maintain it. But all of this counts for little if you don’t support it which a quality nutritious diet.
3. Eat five or six mini meals every day
Instead of the traditional trilogy of breakfast, lunch, dinner. It seems increasingly common in this day and age for many people to fail to eat a proper breakfast (or skip it altogether) between rising to meet the day and setting about their job of work.
They might just get a quick sandwich on the run at lunch and grab a bag of crisps of bar of chocolate mid-afternoon.
Finally, late in the evening, they finally eat a great big meal and go to bed. This is wrong on many levels and does you no favours. However it’s not strictly necessary to eat a small amount and often throughout the day to combat this and prevent the body going into fat storage and starvation mode. It takes the body more than a week of serious calorie restriction to enter starvation mode.
So don’t panic if your eating is a little erratic once in a while. Your body won’t suffer too dramatically and your metabolism won’t be dismantled. Don’t feel you have to live by and stick rigidly to five or six smaller meals a day. Just settle on something that works properly for your lifestyle and stick to it, as always, eating as healthily as you can.
4. Magic Metaboliser Foods
Some people believe that the consumption of certain types of food will magically cause the calories to melt away and fat to fall off. It’s true that some foods are more efficient and effective than others at metabolism boosting. And therefore these are obviously a great regular addition to your diet.
But they alone don’t solve everything and they are very definitely not a substitute for exercise or for general calorie overload!
Certainly look to increase your metabolism boosting foods such as: broccoli, grapefruit, apples, pears, lean turkey, oatmeal, spinach, sardines, tuna, chicken, almonds, asparagus, habanero and jalapeño peppers, cabbage, celery and others.
But please don’t just eat that lot whilst whilst sitting on your butt all day. They’re a brilliant addition to your healthy lifestyle, NOT a substitute for lack of physical activity or over eating!
5. You are born with a slow or fast metabolism
This is perhaps the biggest misconception of all and is most often clung to by those who claim to find it hardest to shed fat. Whilst there are indeed discrepancies in metabolism from person to person, those differences are very slight.
So the truth is, it’s not enough to blame your metabolism. Simply improving your diet and upping your exercise levels will fire up your metabolism, keep it running at a healthy rate and turn yourself into an efficient metabolising fat burning machine!
Read more from WatchFit Expert Kate Staples.