There are a lot of myths surrounding the infamous metabolism, but what is true and what's not? We take a look at whether you can really speed up your metabolism and how to utilise the metabolism in weight loss.
Can you change the speed of your metabolism?
The metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body that keeps us alive. The metabolism is controlled by hormones and the nervous system and this process breaks down the food you eat and turns it into energy. Your metabolism is measured as BMR, basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is the amount of calories (energy) your body burns just by being alive.
You inherit your metabolism and so your BMR is mostly controlled by your genetics, however there are external factors such as physical activity and diet which can speed up the metabolism.
How do you increase your metabolism?
There are different lifestyle factors which affect your metabolism and it gradually decreases as we age. If you want to increase your metabolism, try some of the following tricks.
Eat regular, small meals throughout the day
Your blood sugar peaks and troughs naturally throughout the day, but too many spikes and dips can lead to mood swings, irritability, and cravings. By eating small meals regularly throughout the day, you will help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable and therefore keep your metabolism ticking over too.
Eat more, don't be restrictive
A very common motto in the fitness industry these days it that you need to eat more to lose weight. Gone are the days of magazines recommending we eat less than 1,000 calories per day and people mindlessly following fad diets like the baby food diet. We have now realised that to boost the metabolism and stay healthy, we actually need to eat plenty of food to fuel ourselves, so long as it's whole, unprocessed food and that we are also following a good exercise regime.
By doing high intensity interval training like a Tabata workout, we create what is called the EPOC effect. The EPOC effect means your body continues to burn calories even once you've finished the workout. Tabata training is also proven to increase the BMR, which means your body will burn more calories at rest.
Do strength training to build muscle
It has been proven that the more muscle you have, the more fat your body burns. Having a high lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism and so you will burn more calories at rest.
Metabolism boosting foods and drinks
As well as the physical activity you do, there are ways to speed up your metabolism through your diet. The following foods and drinks are proven to increase your metabolism.
Studies have shown that spicy foods can (temporarily) increase your metabolism by up to 8 percent. By adding chilli and other spices to your food, you will be speeding up your metabolism, but only slightly.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and as we've already seen, it's the central nervous system that controls the metabolism. By drinking coffee, you will be boosting your energy levels and stimulating your BMR. But remember, caffeine can be addictive and can potentially have negative affects on your sleep.
Eating plenty of protein is good for you as it builds muscle and helps to maintain healthy body and tissue function. Protein is also proven to make you feel fuller for longer, so you will end up eating less in the long run.
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins which are proven to boost your metabolism. If you're not a huge fan of drinking green tea, try adding matcha green tea powder to smoothies, which is ten times more powerful than a regular cup of green tea.
If you haven't exercised in a long time, if you're overweight, or if you've never exercised at all, the prospect of joining a gym or going for a run can be overwhelming and just down right terrifying. We're here with top tips and advice for getting active as a complete beginner.
There's no better time than right now to change your life. If you've been thinking about getting started for a while but you've been putting it off or making excuses, you need to just start. There will always be a million reasons why you can't get out there, but it won't be until you've broken the ice that it becomes easier. Go ahead and join that gym or buy those running trainers.
Treating yourself to fresh activewear is a great way to get motivated and start you off in the right frame of mind. Having comfortable, proper gym tops rather than an old t-shirt and a stylish sports bra instead of your normal bra can be the difference between a terrible workout and a great one and will make you want to exercise so that you can show off your new fitness clothing!
You're already exercising more than you think
If you take your dog for walks or go walking at the weekend with your family, you have already made a great start! This is an easy base to improve upon, by making those dog walks longer and brisker, and by finding more challenging routes to walk at the weekend with your kids. If you take public transport to work, you perhaps have to walk to the station or from the bus stop to your office. Have confidence in yourself and make sure you know that mentally you're not going from complete scratch. This will make increasing your weekly exercise easier mentally.
Find a type of training you enjoy
There are so many ways to workout; you don't have to slog on a treadmill for hours or do some crazy manoeuvre that you saw someone else doing at the gym. Activities like yoga are very low impact and are a great way to build up your base fitness if you haven't moved in a while. Walking is also perfect as it's free and you can do it anywhere! If you do want to try running, you may benefit from group running as it takes the guess work out of it and will mean all you have to do is turn up and run. In the same light, there are many benefits of joining a running club such as companionship and making new friends.
Working out when you're overweight
It can seem very daunting to start exercising when you're overweight. If you're not ready to join a gym or hit the streets with a run, you can easily make a start in the comfort of your own home. Try a home workout that doesn't require any equipment and just uses body weight. By getting up and getting moving, you are making an excellent start.
When overweight, it's important not to put your joints under too much strain. Start with low impact movements like body weight squats, lunges, and sit ups. Go back to basics with a simple circuit training routine that gets your heart rate up without compromising your health and making you feel like your chest is going to explode!
If you are coming back from an injury or from having kids, you need to take it slow. There are lots of easy ways to exercise when you have kids, but getting back into it after giving birth can be a scary prospect. Take it slow and always listen to your body.
If you're looking to try a new sport, break it down into manageable chunks. Activities like cycling are much more accessible than you think and you don't need all the fancy gear to get out there. For something more complex like a triathlon, find a triathlon training plan for absolute beginners that you can follow which guides you through the training process and helps you understand what you need to do to succeed.
Make it enjoyable!
One of the biggest reasons why people give up on exercise is because they don't enjoy it. There is absolutely no reason why you need to be forcing yourself to go running or lift weights if you don't enjoy it. These days, there are unlimited ways to get fit from gym classes to dancing and it's all very accessible. There are some surprising ways to get fit like hula hooping and trampolining which are far more fun and enjoyable than pounding the pavements for mile after mile. If you enjoy your workout, you will be far more likely to continue the trend and stick to it.
Most of us will feel stressed at one time or another, but in these modern times more and more of us are suffering from stress chronically. It's not only bad for you mentally, it's bad for your physical health too. Sundried take a look at 4 easy ways to manage stress on a daily basis in order to protect your health.
1. Go hiking outdoors
Fresh air will boost your immune system and energise you with fresh oxygen. Getting a healthy dose of fresh air each day will help to combat stress and alleviate the related symptoms. People who work in office jobs tend to be chained to their desks and it can be a struggle to get any fresh air or even daylight from day to day, especially in winter. Going for a hike outdoors is a great form of exercise and can be great fun too. Not only is it good for your physical health, you'll end up finding new places and exploring parts of your local area you never even knew existing, boosting your mental health and well being too.
2. Go for a long run
Sometimes stress follows us home from work. Perhaps your stress is stemming from family or home life and you just need to get away. It's not practical to get up and run away, but going for a long solo run is the next best thing. The exercise will give you an endorphin boost and help to melt away your stress, which can harm your health if you suffer from it long term. It can also help you to manage your thoughts and process everything that's going on in your life at any given time. It'll give you time away to be alone with your thoughts and allow you to make plans and come up with ideas that you might not be able to otherwise.
3. Practice yoga
It's no secret that practising yoga and meditating is great for battling stress. It has even been found that certain types of yoga can ease the suffering of cancer patients. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate and relax will do you a world of good and can be an ocean of calm in an otherwise hectic day. If you're not sure what to wear to yoga, Sundried have a handy guide you can follow. However, you don't need to go to a specific class in order to practice yoga; you can find a quiet space at home and listen to a guided meditation.
4. Make exercise fun
If your workout or training session is something you can look forward to each day, you will be more likely to stick to your training plan and not skip sessions. Having a fun and enjoyable training session planned for after work or at lunchtime will mean you have a goal and something to look forward to. It may help the day go quicker and will keep your spirits high throughout the day. Exercise can be your time with no distractions and no one asking anything of you.
Looking for a quality skipping rope? Buy the Sundried Skipping Rope for £20 with free delivery.
Skipping is a fantastic way to get fit and stay fit, even when you don't have access to a gym or even the outdoors. It's compact and can be done anywhere – indoors or outdoors. Skipping will raise your heart rate, improve your fitness, and tone your body. Read on to find out how to skip properly and try our beginner skipping workout to get started.
Is Skipping A Good Form Of Exercise?
Skipping is a fantastic workout and can burn up to 10 calories per minute if done at a high intensity! In order to get skilled at jumping rope, it's important to practice and to break it down into sections.
Let’s start with the jumping. When most people start skipping for the first time they jump too high, just going for it and doing what feels natural without any knowledge on proper technique. But skipping too high is not efficient for a workout and will leave you unable to skip for longer than a few seconds.
When skipping, the key is to not actually jump. Wait, what? That’s right! If you change your mindset about what your feet are doing, it becomes a lot easier. Instead of jumping, think about doing a calf raise. Practice doing it without the rope to start: raise your heels so that you are on the balls of your feet, and then lower yourself back down using your calf muscles. You’ll soon realise there’s a reason why boxers have such defined calves! You may need to increase the strength and stamina in these muscles before skipping feels easy. Take your time and enjoy the process.
Once you’ve practised a few times without the rope, try applying this technique with the rope. You should only come a few centimetres off the floor on each bounce. Keep your ankles loose and feel the balls of your feet flex. See if you can keep it up for 30 seconds without stopping.
After your feet, what you do with your arms is the most important part of skipping. Hold the handles near the rope-end as this is the most efficient and will allow the rope to swing better. Keep your wrists loose, and your elbows close to your hips. It is a very subtle movement; you do not want to be swinging your whole arm, just a slight movement of the wrist. It will be tempting to tense your arms and lock them by your sides, so try to relax from the shoulder.
This moves us onto your posture. Make sure you are standing tall, with your shoulders pulled back and down, and your core and glutes tight. The key to skipping is to relax! If you are skipping for the first time in a gym or a public place, it may be a little daunting, and you may worry about tripping in front of everyone. Let go and have fun and try not to take it too seriously, at least while you are starting out. The looser and more relaxed you are, the less likely you are to trip over and you are less likely to incur an injury.
Is Skipping A Good Cardio Workout?
Skipping is a surprisingly demanding cardio workout! If you are skipping for the first time as an adult, you will be shocked by how out of breath you get on your first try! Don’t let this deter you, take your time. If you are new to fitness altogether, then you may wish to just skip in 20-30 second bursts. If you are a seasoned gym-goer, then skipping for intervals of 60 seconds may be more for you. Try our skipping workout plan and see what works for you! Or create your own jump rope routine. Supplement your skipping with leg exercises and mobility drills so that you do not get injured, especially if you are not used to exercising. Skipping has the fantastic benefit of being great for weight loss and by adding skipping into your existing gym routine you can expect to burn up to 10 calories a minute.
Where To Jump Rope
Where you choose to do your skipping is important too. If you are skipping outdoors, try to avoid jumping on concrete as this can be harsh on the joints. Skipping on softer tarmac or grass will be better. If you are indoors, avoid carpet as this can make the rope more likely to bounce which can cause you to twist your ankle. Hardwood floors are the perfect surface on which to jump rope.
How Long Should You Jump Rope For A Beginner?
When I first got back into skipping as an adult, I was really put-off by the fact that I couldn’t do it well. I saw lots of people in the gym skipping with ease and doing neat tricks so it deflated me somewhat that I was finding it so hard. But don’t let this be the case! After only a few sessions my technique improved hugely and skipping started to feel a lot more natural. Take your time, enjoy it, and maybe even let us know how you get on by leaving a review of the Sundried skipping rope on our website!
Beginner Skipping Workout
Skip for as long as you can, rest for 60 seconds, repeat for 5 minutes.
Skip for as long as you can, rest for 45 seconds, repeat for 7 minutes.
Skip for 20 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, repeat for 5 minutes.
Gym cross-training - leg, ab, and back exercises
Skip for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, repeat for 5 minutes
Skip for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, repeat for 10 minutes.
1. You’re setting the bar too high, too quickly
New Year’s fitness resolutions are a December 31st mainstay. After all, being overweight in the age of Instagram feeds full of beach-bodies, fitness models, and socialites doesn’t exactly do wonders for one’s self-esteem. Celebrity trainers backed by thousands of dollars in advertising are touting programs left and right that promise to get you shredded in “six weeks or less!”. Brand ambassadors with perfectly sculpted backsides are pushing nutrition plans that guarantee you’ll give Kim Kardashian a run for her money just by squatting and drinking protein shakes. Social media being the lucrative self-promotion platform it is, a myriad of half-truths and misconceptions about fitness and self-care persist.
Making fitness resolutions on a rigid time-frame is a recipe for failure. Since everybody is different, what might get someone shredded in six weeks might take you six months. Or maybe less. Since our fitness is partly determined by our genetics, metabolism, and body-type, it’s important to stay consistent and on-track until you find what works best for you. Setting unrealistic standards for yourself based on a fitness competitor’s ‘before-and-after’ will only leave you frustrated and disillusioned; and nowhere closer to meeting your New Year’s goals.
2. You’re rewarding yourself too often
It’s human nature to want a reward when you believe you’ve performed exceptionally. Fitness goals are no exception. While it’s perfectly healthy (and encouraged by many PTs and nutritionists) to indulge on occasion, rewarding yourself too often can sidetrack your progress. It’s easy to brush off that second-helping of pizza or that third glass of wine with the self-promise of working it off the following day. Reward yourself too often, and you’ll find no amount exercise will give you the muscle tone and definition you’re going for.
New Year’s resolutions centered around fitness don’t always fail due to procrastination. More often than not, they fail simply because we let ourselves get away with too much. If and when you choose to indulge, keep it light, keep it brief!
Which brings me to my next point…
3. You’re not reading ingredient labels
Sugar isn’t a controlled substance, but perhaps it should be. While there’s still some debate as to whether sugar is as addictive as cocaine, one thing is certain: Limit your intake. Food companies find sneaky ways to add more sugar to their products in an effort to get them to taste better. Don’t make assumptions just because something is listed as ‘non-fat’ or ‘100% natural’. Read and double-check ingredient labels to make sure you’re not consuming unhealthy amounts of sucrose.
Better yet, avoid processed foods all together. Eating clean does wonders for raising more awareness about what we put into our bodies. Of course, this approach isn’t always practical, and sometimes we do have to reach for a packaged snack or two. Nevertheless, be mindful of nutrition and ingredient labels to spot the hidden sugars. Ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and maltose should be avoided at all costs. They’re all just variations of plain’-ol refined sugar.
4. You’re not sweating
We get it. It can be difficult to get into the habit of working out regularly. While building up a sweat isn’t exactly the most glamorous experience (no matter what the fitness models would have you believe), it’s a clear indicator that your workout is, in fact, working. Once you’ve reached a point where you can get through an entire session without breaking a sweat, it’s time to change your workout routine. Of course, working with a great personal trainer makes a world of a difference. Not everyone has the time or means to spend hours at the gym, so make sure you’re at least incorporating different cardio exercises and weight-training into your workouts.
Consider starting your workouts with a 1–2-minute challenge. Beginning with something new and energetic not only gets your heart-rate up — it motivates you to keep going strong!
5. You’re not reflecting
Everyone has their reasons for wanting to get fit. Resolutions are meant to be life-changing measures, not momentary fancies, after all. If you’re not spending a fair amount of time on self-reflection in this respect, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Reflect and analyze on what’s kept you meeting your health goals up until this point. Do you use food as a coping mechanism? Do you put off exercise in favor of television? Keep a diary for accountability. At the very least, write down a list. Find things you can easily eschew from your daily routine in order to incorporate more healthy habits.
Finally, reflecting on your New Year’s health goals shouldn’t be limited only to physical fitness. Mental health awareness is more important than ever — and it can provide insight as to why we sometimes sabotage our efforts at self-improvement. Consult a therapist if you feel your eating habits and lack of exercise are symptoms of a deeper issue. Websites and apps geared towards fitness rarely provide support in the way of mental wellness, but with more dialogue, that can very well change.
About the author: Aimee De Palma is the Marketing & Social Media Coordinator for It’s Fitness, a start-up that aims to revolutionize how we approach fitness by way of heart-pumping, sweat-drenching challenges and virtual tournaments. She's passionate about helping both new and experienced PTs and wellness professionals get the word out about their services and resides in Miami, Florida.