Hello ladies and gentlemen!
Today I will be talking about metabolism. What is it? Why do some of us have a faster metabolism? How can we speed it up? And can we do that at all? And what kind of foods should we eat if we have a fast or slow metabolism?
Well I wanted to start this article with the question ‘what is metabolism?’ but let me first explain the title of this article. Most of us hate our metabolism and I’m not only talking about the people who are a (little) bit on the heavy side, but also the skinny people here who would love to gain some extra pounds.
Usually gaining weight is more of a guy thing, but I also knew a few girls who wanted to add some weight (I’m sure some of u are thinking now ‘ wanna trade?/ you can have some of my weight?) and they struggled with this for years. The trick in this is to eat a lot and with a lot I mean more then you want or can eat probably. But that’s a topic for later on. First, let’s continue with this topic.
What is metabolism?
Well the Harvard university says this about it, and I couldn’t explained it better: ‘In simple terms, metabolism is the internal process by which your body expends energy and burns calories. It runs 24/7 to keep your body moving, even when you're resting or sleeping, by converting the food and nutrients you consume into the energy your body needs in order to breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive.’
So, metabolism is what keeps our body going, even when we are not going anywhere (like when we are asleep). To give you an idea about this sleeping thing. I did a little bit of calculation on this topic a while ago and I discovered that I’m burning up 50-60 calories per hour when I’m sleeping. So, when I’m sleeping, I’m still losing weight! But keep in mind that I have a fast metabolism.
Why do some of us have a faster metabolism?
In my second article I talked about 3 different body types and in that article, you could see why you are probably losing a lot of weight or you are gaining a lot of weight. A lot of the body type thing is about our genetics.
For example, when you are the skinny type, you’re probably long what means that your muscles are also longer and the same goes for your bones and veins. This means that your body has to burn more calories to keep up with the demand of your body. Vice versa can be said for the smaller kind of people.
But that is not all, besides length there is also the natural craving for food. And studies have showed that people who fall in the ectomorph class (skinny people) have less a craving for fat and sugary food and are often easier filled up by the food they eat, while on the other side the endomorph class (the bigger kind of people) have more cravings for fat and sugary food and have to eat a lot more to have that ‘ filled up’ feeling after eating dinner.
A good tip is always to keep a max of 3 hours between every meal. When keeping your meals consistent your body will keep your metabolism higher in the food break down process. Just make sure your meals aren’t huge. Sometimes a meal can consist out of an apple or something else what is small and low in calories.
Still that is not all there is to it.
Age is also highly relevant to this party, where I can take myself as a great example. When is was between the age of 16 and 23 I always had a six pack without doing anything for it, because my fat percentage was very low? Even when I ate like a bear before hibernation, I almost didn’t gain any fat tissue. Now I’m 28 and I’m seeing and feeling that this doesn’t count for me anymore. Its not that I’m gaining a lot of fat, but I’ve been measuring and observing my eating and training habits and the truth is, how older you get, the lower your metabolism will get. So, imagine how it will be when you are 40 or 50!
Besides age there are two more components on this topic.
First of the last two remaining is the activity level you have on a daily basis. Its probably easy math, but still let me explain it to you. If your job is to sit in a (desk)chair all day and you eat a lot of food high in calories, then your body isn’t going to get rid of all those calories. But when you walk to and from your work, then you could burn (some of) those calories and give your body that little bit of a boost and energy from sitting all day. The higher your daily activity the higher your calorie burning will be
Then the last one of the two and I do love this part.
The truth is, muscles don’t only make our body stronger and better looking, it is also a key ingredient in a fast metabolism. In this case I want to refer back to the Harvard explanation:
‘by converting the food and nutrients you consume into the energy your body needs in order to breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive.’
This last part, the ‘grow and repair cells’ is also what is happening with your muscles. Because muscles need to be repaired and need to be maintained. So, the thing is, the more muscles you have, the more calories your body needs to burn in order to maintain these muscles and repair them. So if you don’t have a lot of muscles, you probably won’t burn a lot of calories when you sit down of sleep, but when you have gained extra muscle tissue then you can bet on it that you will burn a lot more calories when you sleep or sit down. This also means that when you are sitting behind your desk at work, your body is trying to maintain those muscles what means that is will burn calories the whole day trough! And this is one of the many reasons why I love this bit and why I’m pro weight training.
So how can we speed our metabolism up?
Well I already gave somethings away in my enthusiasm about this topic, but for the record, here is a list with what you could do to speed it up:
- Get more muscle tissue
- Daily exercises (even walking for half an hour is good!)
- Look at what you are eating.
- Drink black coffee (makes your heart pump faster due the caffeine)
- Drink green tea (3 cups is the minimum)
- Drink plenty of water! (dehydration makes you metabolism very low)
- Eat spicy food if you can handle the heat
- Don’t do crash diet (this ruïnes your metabolism up pretty bad)
- Eat lean protein. I will explain to you why in the next chapter
Then the question stands: And can we do that at all? Yes, unless you are having heart problems (the coffee and tea) or have an allergy. Everybody in the whole wide world can speed up his or hers metabolism.
What kind of foods should we eat if we have a fast or slow metabolism?
Before I’m starting to answer this question, I would like to say that I’m planning on dedicating more articles on the food section part. Because food is for the most of us a lovely but hard subject and I want to learn all of you everything that I can teach you about it. And to be honest, that quite a lot of knowledge, to much for in this of one article. So, in this case I’m just going to answer the question and comeback on the food part later on.
So what to eat when you are having a slow metabolism?
First of all, let’s start with the lean protein. Why lean protein? Well not only for the muscle repair part, but also because protein has a mysterious place in our food and belly system and let me tell you why.
Protein has a higher thermic effect then carbohydrates and fat. In plain English it means that a great part of the protein you’re taking in is being burned in your stomach and small intestine which means that a great part will never become fat. And besides the thermic effect of protein it also has low calories and its good for your muscles! To much protein is not a good idea, because there are researches going on between a high protein intake and colon cancer. So, don’t overdo it.
The next thing you could eat to keep your metabolism high is vegetables and almost everything with low sugar, low (bad) fat and low calories. I know that this doesn’t sounds fun, but when you keep your meals consistent in small portions, your metabolism will be a lot higher!
Then what to eat if you are having a fast metabolism?
If you are having a fast metabolism and are having struggles with gaining weight, the best advice I can give you right now, is to eat more then you are doing now. In my observations with these kinds of clients I saw that the majority of these people thought that they were eating enough or that they couldn’t possible eat more. Well, that’s where they were wrong. If you are skinny and you want to put on weight, you need to find high calorie foods and enough of protein to keep you in a calorie surplus. My tip is, try to eat a little bit more every day and if you aren’t allergic to them, buy nuts and peanuts. Why? Well, because nuts contain very good fats, are high in fiber and in protein and contain a lot of calories. Try to eat a pack of nuts next to the rest of your standard meals and look at what it does with your weight. Still not putting it on? Then add more calories and keep measuring your results until you’re happy with the results.