By Greg Landry
You hear it all the time - "metabolism", but what is it? It's the process of converting food to energy (movement and heat). Metabolism happens in your muscles and organs and the result of it is what we commonly refer to as "burning calories". Metabolism is essentially the speed at which your body's motor is running.
"Basal metabolism" is the metabolic rate or caloric expenditure needed to maintain basal body functions such as your heart beating, breathing, muscle tone, etc. It's how fast your "motor" is running when you're still in a reclined position or sleeping. Basal metabolism accounts for about 75% of the calories you expend on a daily basis!
The good news is that there are 11 ways you can "boost" your metabolism! The more of these you're able to incorporate into your life, the more you'll boost your metabolism. That means you'll be expending ("burning") more calories 24 hours a day!
1. Always eat breakfast! Skipping breakfast sends the message to your body that you're starving because you haven't had food in 18+ hours. As a protective mechanism, your metabolism slows down. Food, especially complex carbohydrates, fuels your metabolism.
2. Eat earlier in the day! Research has demonstrated that you can lose weight simply by eating a substantial breakfast and lunch, and a light dinner. Dinner should be eaten as early as possible, preferably at least four hours before bedtime.
3. Never eat less than 1200 calories per day! Less than 1200 is usually not enough to support your basal metabolism and thus will slow your metabolism.
4. Snack frequently! Complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and grains) fuel your metabolism. Also, snacking prevents you from becoming too hungry. The hungrier you are, the less control you have over what and how much you eat.
5. Eat more carbohydrates (food from plants), and less fat (food from many animals and other food with added fat)! Carbohydrates boost your metabolism and have fewer calories per weight than fat.
6. Do some type of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, stationary cycling, aerobic dancing, etc.) on a daily basis (preferably in the morning)! Forget this twice-a-week stuff. Our bodies were designed to be active on a daily basis! When we are, our metabolism soars!
7. In addition to your regular aerobic exercise, take a brisk 10 to 15 minute walk at lunch or in the evening. This serves to boost your metabolism even more!
8. Tone your muscles with weight training three days per week. Toned muscles send your metabolism through the roof. Do it!
9. Look for situations to be active. Park as far from the store as you can rather than looking for the closest parking spot. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, a broom rather than a blower, etc. Look for the "hard" way to do things!
10. Avoid alcohol! Alcohol depresses your metabolism and stimulates your appetite.
11. Drink 60+ ounces of water a day. Your metabolism needs plenty water to function properly. Carry a bottle of water with you and drink frequently throughout the day.
Get started today! You'll feel better and your metabolism will be in "great shape"!
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