Your Metabolism: Doomed or Lucky?

Posted on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 at 12:16 pm



Type in “boost metabolism” in Google and you’ll get more than 7 million results. 


It’s definitely a hot topic and has become a common household word, but very few people actually understand the meaning of it. 


Often in my lectures and seminars, I ask people to define the word metabolism. 


Most people refer to someone they know who can eat anything they want and not gain weight, stressing that this person has a fast metabolism. 


Others feel victimized by their metabolism and blame their age or genetics for their slowing metabolism. 


So the ultimate question remains, what is it?


It’s very simple. It’s just a rate.  It’s the speed at which you burn through food. 


Contrary to popular belief, your genetic make-up has very little effect on your metabolism, which means the power to control how fast you want it to be is totally within your control! 


Now how cool is that?  You too can be that person who eats anything they want and burns it off!  So how exactly do you do that?  Allow me to unveil the “how and why”…


1. Add Muscle


This one is a no-brainer.  Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, so the more of it that you have, the faster your metabolism will be. 




I often hear people complain that after reaching their mid-30’s or 40’s, their metabolism slowed down. 


Recognize that it isn’t your age that is the problem. 


It is the fact that with the natural aging process, we lose muscle mass (called sarcopenia in case you were wondering). 


After the age of 35, we lose 5% of our muscle mass each decade of life UNLESS we perform regular strength training.


By engaging in regular resistance training (2 to 5 times per week depending on your goals) and following a sound diet that includes adequate amounts of protein, you can prevent most of the muscle loss associated with age. 


Aha! Another reason to begin a strength training program and follow my workouts if you haven’t been doing so already.


My workouts are based on high intensity interval training, which is not only a proven technique to help burn fat more effectively, but it also stimulates growth hormones to help reverse the effects of aging and turn back the clock.


2.  Eat Thermic Meals


The act of eating in itself is work for your body, which means you burn calories while eating!


Yes, you read that correctly.  Eating food makes you burn calories. 


You see, a calorie is a unit of heat that provides your body with energy much like gasoline fuels a car. 


Some foods however cause you to “burn” more calories than others because of their heat-producing effect.  So what are these thermic (i.e. heat producing) foods?


  • Proteins provide a 20-25% metabolic boost
  • Carbohydrates provide a 10-15% metabolic boost
  • Fats only provide a 5% metabolic boost


Therefore, a thermic meal should consist of a lean source of protein, slow release natural carbohydrate, and fibrous carbohydrates. 


For example, fish (protein) with brown rice (starchy carb) and steamed broccoli (fibrous carb) is a thermic meal. 


These types of meals help boost your metabolism, keep your energy levels constant, and help make positive shifts in body composition.


3. Eat At Least 3 Meals per Day


Similar to throwing wood into a campfire, your metabolism needs to be fed regularly in order to keep your “inner fire” strong. 


In a previous article, I discussed whether eating 3 meals or 6 meals was better.


With regards to weight loss, if the same amount of calories is spread over 3 meals or 6 meals, the end result is the same. 


However, the benefit of eating frequently (every 3 to 3 ½ hours) in my opinion is the constant energy level, stable blood sugar, and a greater ability to curb cravings.


Eating only one or two meals per day is a sure way to slow down your metabolism. 


In a bid to survive, your body slows down the metabolism in times of caloric deprivation (i.e. skipping meals or not eating enough). 


As a general rule, never let yourself go without real food (not man-made food-products) for more than 4 hours at a time.


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