What is Metabolism? In Greek it means “# change” and it is the ability to transform substances and, starting from them, produce energy to keep us alive. In other words, it is the set of actions through which our body converts what we feed on into energy. This is, in simple terms, the scientific definition. But we are well aware that, regardless of what the experts say, for us metabolism has more the appearance of that friend who supports and supports us as long as things go well, but who leaves you as soon as the wind changes. So it happens that the metabolism slows down and the weight goes up… So, what to do in these cases? How to reactivate the metabolism? Relying, as always, on our two A’s: nutrition and training.
Don’t skip meals
If our goal is to lose weight, the first thing we think and do is cut calories. What if I told you that it’s not only wrong, but it’s also counterproductive? In doing so, in fact, our body will put itself in an energy saving situation, perceiving, thanks to our primordial memory, a period of food shortage. The solution? Eat consistently. Eat three main meals with a snack in between, for a total of 2-3 snacks a day. By doing so you will give work to your basal metabolic rate, accelerating its energy expenditure, even at rest. But that’s not all: it’s just as important to have clear what to eat.
Protein at every meal
Insert a lean food source of protein every time you eat: this is because it can contribute to a better glycemic response, and because the body takes more time and energy to digest proteins, in other words to break them down into single pieces (amino acids). Thus you will be able to enjoy a double advantage: first of all, you will remain full for longer after the meal; then your body will burn more calories to do this job which is scientifically called “induced thermogenesis” from food digestion. Basically, we consume more energy when we are at rest.
And carbohydrates are used to reactivate the metabolism?
All this does not mean that carbohydrates do not play a role in “friending” the metabolism, on the contrary: glucose is the primary source of energy for our body, in particular for the central nervous system. It is true that we can also live without carbohydrates – the body has survival mechanisms by which it is able to transform other nutrients, such as proteins, into glucose -, but it is a mechanism that I would define as “emergency” and which in the long run it can create stress on our body. But that’s not all: carbohydrates activate some genes that help keep the metabolism active. So why delete them? Instead, we learn to follow a balanced diet in every meal and snack.
Get moving! Yes, with the exclamation point. Because that’s the tone we use with ourselves when we want to face our slowed metabolism head-on: the more you walk, the more calories you burn. However, the equation may not give the expected and hoped-for results. In doing so, in fact, we will only risk ending up stressed and frustrated in the long run. So here are some valuable suggestions to ignite our metabolism.
Interval training sprint: play with the accelerator of your metabolism
Imagine driving your car on the motorway: if you keep the speed constant, there will be fuel savings compared to driving with constant speed changes, do you agree? Well. Try to think the same thing about your metabolism: if you swim, cycle or run while continuing to change speed for short distances so as not to produce excessive lactic acid (which would cause you to slow down), energy expenditure will increase. The good news, by the way, doesn’t end there. This increased energy expenditure will continue even after your workout, for example when you go back to your desk or you’re at home preparing dinner. It’s called EPOC (post-exercise energy expenditure).
How to activate it? Try this running or walking workout: after a 10′ warm-up, do 5 times 40″ at high intensity followed by 20″ of active recovery, continue with 5′ at an easy pace and 5 times 20″ very fast followed by 40″ of active recovery . Finish with 5-10′ bland.
Strength training to keep the engine running
Weight lifting also contributes highly to keeping the “engine running”. The more muscle fibers we manage to recruit (i.e. tease) the more inevitably the body will have to expend energy.
There’s more: strength training is always very important to improve performance as well as in some specific phases of life, such as for example from the age of 40 for men and women and for women even in premenopause and menopause .
To increase strength but without increasing the volume of the muscle, lift a weight for 4-6 repetitions with a recovery of at least 2′ between series which must be at least 3. If, on the other hand, you also want to increase the volume of the muscle, as well as tone it up, then always perform 10-12 repetitions for a minimum of 3 series but with a maximum 1′ break between series.
Go out of your way to rekindle your metabolism
So, in summary, there are four secrets to rekindling your metabolism:
1. Don’t fast
2. Include a food source of protein
3. Play on tempo changes
4. Train strength.