Revving Up Your Metabolism
You have probably heard of the term “metabolic rate,” but if you haven’t, here is a quick review…
Metabolic rate refers to the rate at which your body burns calories on a daily basis. Your daily metabolic rate has three components:
- Organ systems (kidneys, liver, etc.), brain function, heart contractions, and respiration (breathing) are 55% to 70% of daily caloric expenditure.
- Voluntary muscular activity (any & all movement) is 20% to 40% of daily caloric expenditure.
- Digestion of food is 5% to 10% of daily caloric expenditure.
There are several methods one may utilize to increase one’s metabolic rate; most are temporary, but one is permanent…
Temporary Metabolic Boosters:
Eat Complete Proteins
The complete proteins are represented by eggs, dairy, and animal meats. Many nutritionists consider soybeans to be a complete protein, but they have a lower bio-availability rating than the others. Metabolic boost is approximately 10%, lasting about 3 hours. (Carbohydrates and fat have a negligible metabolic effect).
Strength Training at Higher Intensity
Though aerobic training (“cardio”) burns calories, there is virtually no metabolic boost post workout. On the other hand, studies reveal high intensity strength training will lead to a metabolic after-burn, lasting hours after the cessation of exercise. This is probably due to hormonal changes during the exercise event.
Herbs and Stimulants
Various herbs and stimulants may exert a temporary increase in metabolic rate by causing the release of hormones. Caffeine and similar substances will stimulate the adrenal gland to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, elevating heart rate and increasing work output. There are potentially harmful side-effects that must be considered with stimulants. Capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot, also increases heat production in the body, but has not been thoroughly studied in relation to fat loss.
Permanent Metabolic Booster:
Lean Muscle Mass
Muscle is a metabolically active tissue in our body, requiring energy (calories) to sustain and repair it. A pound of muscle requires 40-70 calories per day. A five pound muscle gain would boost your daily energy expenditure by 200-350 calories per day, 365 days of the year! Nothing comes close to this, and as long as you maintain it, the boost is permanent.
The bottom line is, put the majority of your workout energy into strength training to permanently increase your metabolic rate.