Beating Hormonal Metabolic Slowdown
Metabolism is the complex biological process our bodies perform to turn the calories we consume into energy. Even when we’re just sitting around doing nothing, our bodies need energy for basic things like breathing, adjusting hormones, and repairing cells. The amount of calories we burn at rest is called our basal metabolic rate, or BMR. I found mine here. Your BMR is regulated by hormones and body composition, and is therefore pretty consistent, but the calories you burn each day depends entirely on how active you are.
What factors cause your metabolism to slow down?
I have been told over and over in my life "wait until you you hit 30, or 40, or 50." That with each year, it would be harder and harder to lose the weight. In my mind I imagined slowly gaining weight until I reached the end of my life as a beached whale of a woman perched high upon my sofa. Honestly, this fear of my metabolism slowing down more and more each year is what drives my research... and thank goodness for it (I guess), because I learned that it really has a LOT LESS to do with age as it has to do with other factors. While the hormonal shifts in the aging process does GRADUALLY decrease our metabolisms, we are much more quickly impacted by our activity reduction. All of the running around, and skiing, and biking, and hiking, and bar-hopping (haha) we did in our 20s has been replaced with rocking babies, and sitting in folding chairs watching t-ball games. Even if we THINK we are active, I assure you, we are MUST LESS active than we used to be AND we are battling the slow decline of our metabolism due to hormonal changes that come with age. We must be MORE active if we want to counter this.
4 Changes to Beat Hormonal Metabolic Slowdown
1. BUILD MUSCLE
Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. After a session of strength training, muscles are activated all over your body, raising your average daily metabolic rate.
2. DO SOME HIIT
Researchers have concluded some pretty fantastic things about HIIT training. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It is a short workout that packs a big punch. In a nutshell, HIIT requires you to use max effort for a really short period of time, you recover, and you repeat. Your heart rate will BURST through the "fat burning zone" into the ultra-mega fat burning zone (I just made up the ultra-mega part, but for real it should be coined). If you want to know more about this... read this.
3. DRINK MORE WATER
Every fitness guru and nutritionist always stresses the importance of drinking water. Sometimes I hear this basic advice without any rationale behind it, and to be honest, I disregarded the advice for a lot of my life because of that. I had no idea that water aids in lipolysis (the process of metabolizing fat). Just logically, that makes me want to drink more water. If I drink more water, my body is better equipped to transfer fat into fuel. Cool. Where's my Hydroflask? Some other studies have indicated that it also increases your energy expenditure (calories you are burning) because your body is having to regulate the temperature (drinking cold water makes your body work harder), digest it, send it to the parts of the body that need it for different functions. DRINK UP, Y'ALL.
4. EAT LOTS OF PROTEIN
This tip pairs well with the first one. The BIGGEST way to boost your metabolism is to build and maintain muscle mass. It is impossible to do that without plenty of protein in your diet. Eating more protein gives your body more of amino acids to use in making muscle, with a potential direct effect on muscle mass. Having plenty of amino acids via nutrition (protein), allows for our metabolism to not use our muscle mass when we are in a caloric deficit. If you are "dieting," you definitely want to make sure you are eating PLENTY of protein so that your body doesn't eat away at your muscle mass. Maintaining and building muscle is THE BEST way to boost your metabolism.