Friday, January 29, 2016

Master your metabolism and burn fat like a 20 year old.

All my life, I've been a petite girl.  Although I always enjoyed working out, I didn't have to do it to stay slim.  Exercising was more about making sure I didn't get winded climbing up a flight of stairs.   I could eat whatever and not have to worry about a thing.  Life was good.

Then my thirties hit and I noticed something strange happening.  Although I stayed relatively the same size, my legs weren't as toned.  Suddenly, my food belly wasn't going down hours after a meal like it used to.  The more closely I examined my body, the more I noticed what was occurring.  Slowly, muscle was being replaced by fat.

For a while, I played it off. I still tried to squeeze into skinny jeans and fitted tops, but there was no denying the change.  So, I made some changes, and noticed the positive impact.  But the moment, I slacked, the pounds came back on.  Finally, I had to accept once, and for all, that my metabolism (my once trusty friend who never let me down) was slowing.

In my younger days, my metabolism was on over drive!  I could eat from a drive through 5 days a week and suffer no consequences.  'Cause my beloved metabolism always had my back.  But now I realize that it needs my help to rev it back up again. No longer can I neglect it and still expect it to perform at optimum levels.  My metabolism was always there for me and now it needs my help!

Are you over 25? If so, your metabolism has been slowing down by between 1-4% every year.  Not 25 yet, well enjoy these last few years of worry free eating because it won't last forever. Luckily for us, we can do something about it.  If we make conscious decisions that speed up our metabolism, we can be burning mega calories even while at rest.  Let's talk about how to do that.

One of the foundational tips to improve metabolism is to eat more often.  But immediately, my mind starts to think "but if I eat more, won't my body store more calories?"  The important distinction to make is that eating more DOES NOT MEAN  more of what you currently eat.  You're not supposed to be consuming 5-6 plates of food a day.  When the fitness experts say eat 5-6 meals a day, what they really mean is "shrink your meal size and spread it throughout the day instead of eating 1-3 large meals."  Or eat small meals and include healthy snacks in between. This is to make your body think that there's a steady flow of calories all day, so there's no need to store it.  The idea is not to allow yourself to get too hungry.  This will also keep you from binge eating or having to battle crazy cravings.
My tip regarding this technique is to practice mindful eating.  Once upon a time, I took on the challenge of chewing my food until it was nearly liquid.  I hated to do it but I wanted to experience the potential benefits.  Let me tell you, not only did I get full on less food. My digestion improved and my stomach flattened.  The only change I made was to eat with single minded focus (not eating in front of tv, phone, etc) and chewed way more than normal.  I'm convinced that combining mindfulness eating with multiple small meals a day will improve your metabolism.
Improve your resting metabolic rate.
Let's say you're awake for 14 hours today.  And you work out for an hour before work, for less than 10% of your day, you increase your calorie burn.  But what about the other 90% of your day?  If you work in front of a computer, then you come home, eat, and catch up on your shows, you're sedentary for most of the day.  That work out has to be pretty awesome in order to impact how you burn calories all day while you're at rest.

Eating 5-6 small meals will help, but if you want to make a MAJOR IMPACT ON YOUR METABOLISM, you need to increase your resting metabolic rate (basically, how many calories burned while you're inactive).  This, my friends, is the key to getting the metabolism of a youngin' in their twenties.  

Simply put, the most effective way to increase resting calorie burn is to have more lean muscle.  MUSCLE EATS FAT!  Maintaining muscle requires more calories than maintaining fat.  So if you are serious about boosting your metabolism, you need to be strength training on a regular basis.
Adding muscle shrinks you!
I started incorporating strength training in my exercise routine a few years ago.  Not only did I not bulk up, my body was sculpted in a way that was way greater than in my 20's.  Then I experienced a wonderful side effect of adding muscle....increased energy.  And when I have more energy, I move more, which means burning more calories.  Best of all, muscle takes up less room than fat so I was able to enjoy having a slim body again.

If you are ready to kickstart your metabolism boosting journey, I recommend you start strong by incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine.  This is a serious fat burning technique that helps you see results fast.  Basically, you exercise in short high intensity bursts coupled with less intense recovery periods.  Another benefit of high intensity training beyond faster fat loss, is increased human growth hormone levels (which slows down as we age).  While people are paying for human growth hormone shots, you can produce your own all natural version with high intensity training.

This morning, I completed a high intensity burst session on the treadmill (after strength training).  My session wasn't long (only 15 minutes total) but it was powerful.  There's  an obvious difference in my energy levels compared to when I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes the day prior.  I feel amazing.

Just knowing that an HIIT session can burn fat (for up to 36 hours after the workout) and spikes human growth levels is enough to me motivated to continue.

 Looking forward to having my old metabolism back again.
  1. Hi Nadège, great article. I just want to add to not forget the intake of good fats as omega 3 and coconut oïl. I lost 60lbs 2 years ago and they didn't come back because of the good fats, eating raw and organic foods, intermittent fasting, HIIT and strenght training twice a week. I hope that these little tricks can help someone.