Master Your Metabolism

You are the creator of your Metabolism NOT the victim of it

One of the biggest complaints I hear when listening to people discuss their struggles with weight loss is that they have a slow metabolism. Many also believe that they are stuck with that metabolism due to age and genetics. This mindset is often what holds individuals back from achieving their weight loss goals. The reality is we have more influence on it than what we think.

Although age and genetics may not always be on your side, they definitely do not have the final say in determining your metabolism. More times than not, these factors are just crutches in the mind that hold people back from maximizing their metabolism.

Understanding your metabolism is actually quite simple. It is nothing more than the amount of lean body mass (muscle) an individual has and how much the individual moves that mass.

Therefore, in order to maximize your metabolism you must have concern for muscle and be vertical.

Concern for muscle is a term we use at the “Kitchen” to reinforce the importance of muscle on the metabolism and that muscle should not be ignored in any weight loss program. Having concern for muscle not only supports the metabolism, it also provides independence to perform activities of daily living and is essentially anti-aging. Aging is nothing more than the loss of muscle mass over our lifespan. Typically aging/loss of muscle begins in our second decade of life and the rate of loss as we age is directly impacted on the level of concern for muscle we have.

However, it should be noted that a person’s age is not a direct variable in metabolism. To illustrate this point, we performed consults on two female friends at the same time to prepare their program. Both had the same scale weight of 172 lbs, one was 52 years young and the other was 63 years young. However, the 52 age female had less muscle than the 63 age individual. In calculating their metabolism for their nutritional and exercise program, the 63 age female on average was estimated to burn 300 more calories than the younger female.

Having concern for muscle to maximize metabolism and minimize the aging process can be influenced by:

  • (1) Progressive Overload Weight Training
  • (2) Supportive Nutrition
  • (3) Relaxation / Recuperation

(1)Progressive Overload Weight Training Unfortunately many individuals fail to grasp the OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE with their weight training program. Many individuals end up doing cardio exercise with their weights NOT actual weight (resistance) training. This happens by going through the motion of completing a targeted number of reps without any true skeletal muscle breakdown. Without overload, you’re just practicing the skill of the movement.

Skeletal muscle breakdown occurs when there is overload to reach a stage of momentary muscular fatigue (MMF). MMF can be achieved by reaching an intensity level high enough to prevent you from completing another rep and will force you to take recovery from the movement/exercise. Depending on the stage of the program, target reps can be 4-15 for any exercise set with rest/recovery ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes between sets based on the intensity. If you are able to perform high volume of reps 20+ with no rest/recovery, then the workout is more metabolic and less pure strength training. This high volume seen in most boot camps or group exercise classes (Zumba, Jazzercise, etc…) isn’t actual resistance training even though the participants may use a weight in the workout.

The good news is that to create this MMF, it doesn’t only have to occur by increasing the load (aka weight). Eventually everyone will reach a point where they just can’t move anymore weight. This is where having the ability and knowledge to change base of support (stability) or tempo (rate of movement) and in some instances the range of motion to continue with some form of progressive overload to ensure the program has concern for muscle.

(2) Supportive Nutrition Relative to having concern for muscle, supportive nutrition refers to hydration and protein intake. Hydration targets should be ½ your body weight in ounces (3/4 body weight on very intense workouts or extreme environments). Protein target will range 10-35% of total calories; Due to the progressive overload resistance training, the minimum can be increased from 10% to 20%. With weight loss programs, a caloric deficit is essential regardless your metabolism, however, too large (1000+ daily caloric deficit) can lead to loss of muscle which is counterproductive to the concern for muscle objective.

Supplementation can also play a role with supportive nutrition. Specifics of supplementation aren’t the focus of this article. However, if you are going to look into supplements, first rely on a trusted, educated professional to personalize a safe and effective program to compliment your medical history, nutrition and exercise program.

(3) Relaxation/Recuperation Activities such as this will help to restore your body. This can be sleep, active rest, and various kinds of soft-tissue management. It is during this time when the body actually repairs and grows from breakdown of the workout.

This is the ingredient that is most often overlooked. You can be doing everything else right, but if you are not allowing your body time to rest and repair you will not function at your best. Getting a good night’s sleep is a great first step. Sleep is when the body goes to work with minimal distractions. Stretching, foam rolling, and massage are also great ways to enhance recovery. Finally, you want to fit active rest into your schedule. Typically active rest is an aerobic activity that will increase your heart rate to circulate blood to working muscles and move our joints.

Being vertical compliments our objective of having a concern for muscle by engaging more musculature than when sedentary. Our clients are amazed when they review the data on their metabolism and the difference in the caloric expenditure just by becoming vertical compared to being sedentary.

With the understanding that muscle is metabolism and the only place body fat is “burned” (utilized for fuel) is in the muscle cell then it makes metabolic sense to be vertical. Where is most of the muscle mass on your body? Your butt and legs. Again, this is worth repeating, if muscle is metabolism and the only place body fat is burned is in the muscle cell, why in the world would someone put their star player (butt), in terms of metabolism, on the bench by sitting all day or even when they weight train (seen at traditional “gyms”) if they do not have to.

So the next time you want to blame your metabolism, ask yourself what you’re doing to have concern for muscle and are you maximizing your opportunities to be vertical each day.

Effective weight loss programs don’t only look at weight loss on the scale rather the more sophisticated cutting edge weight loss programs focus on the change in body composition (fat weight and lean body mass). Therefore one could argue that by following the “hierarchy of fat loss” where the goal is to drop fat weight with minimal impact (loss) on lean body mass that it is also anti-aging.

If you are serious about achieving a body transformation goal, then you need a program, as any goal without a plan is really only a wish!

For more information, please feel free to schedule a FREE consult with any of the fitness professionals at My Fitness Kitchen®.

This FREE Consult is a strategy session for us to learn your goals, factor in your availability, interests, limitations (if any) and prepare a personalized game plan following our L.E.A.N (Livable Exercise and Nutrition) Lifestyle while empowering you on the “Hierarchy of Fat Loss”.

With ZERO RISK and ZERO OBLIGATION you have nothing to lose by meeting with us other than unwanted body fat!