WHAT IS METABOLIC RATE?
The term ‘metabolism’ describes how our body transforms energy to be able to run all its functions to keep us alive. How does our body burn our calories? The rate at which our body burns these calories is our metabolic rate.
If you can maintain a healthy metabolic rate, you will be able to control a healthy weight. Our body burns calories for the energy necessary to maintain activities, including breathing, maintenance of heat, heartbeat and blood circulation, and the activities of the nervous system and internal organs. Once we go beyond these functions we burn a lot more calories in walking, climbing stairs, working out, playing sport, even just carrying the shopping.
It is logical that if we are burning more calories than we are eating then something has to happen. To measure your metabolic rate, you need to know the amount of energy you use when the body is at rest. There are two levels where the energy measure is taken, BMR (typically taken upon waking up after 8hours of sleep, 12 hours of fasting) and RMR (resting).
A classic calculation for determining one’s metabolic rate is the Harris Benedict Equation. It may seem like quite a bit of math, but it’s really rather simple to complete:
- BMR Calculation for Women:655 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age in years)
- BMR Calculation for Men:66 + (6.23 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) – (6.76 × age in years)
HOW TO BOOST YOUR METABOLISM?
- Exercise! – By doing strength training just a couple of times a week, you’ll reverse 50% of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow down that comes with age.
- HIIT training – The next time you run, swim, or even walk, ramp up the intensity for 30-sec intervals, returning to your normal speed afterward. Using this strategy will help you consume more oxygen and make your cell powerhouses (the mitochondria) work harder to burn energy. This way you can exercise for less time and still get great results!
- Get your omega-3’s – Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. Don’t like fish? Try flaxseed oil, walnuts or supplements without fishy after taste.
- Make some muscle – Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but it uses more energy too.
- Drink green tea – Green tea is well known for its antioxidant polyphenols. But the ingredient catechin, may crank up your metabolism. If you drink five cups of green tea a day, you can increase your energy expenditure by 90 calories a day.
- Don’t cut too much calories – Eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate.
- Enjoy the afterburn – Your body burn more calories after you’ve finished exercising.
- Decrease the trans fat – Trans fat slows down your body’s ability to burn fat.
- Go organic! – Food without pesticides keeps your fat-burning system running at full-tilt.
- Get your protein in – Your body digest protein more slowly that fat or carbs, so you feel full longer. Plus, it may also give your metabolism a bump.