Jumpstart your metabolism to increase the rate of burning calories

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If you work at it, you can actually increase the rate at which your body burns calories - jumpstart your metabolism so to speak. This is known as metabolism. Many factors affect your metabolic rate.

Metabolism (or total energy expenditure) is basically composed of 3 parts:

(1) Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) - This is the amount of energy (calories) needed to run the vital functions of your body (i.e. breathing, heart beat).

RMR is believed to account for about 65 to 75% of the calories your body burns in a day.

As fat content in the body increases, the RMR decreases.

Muscle deterioration will also decrease the RMR.

To combat a decrease in the rate at which your body burns calories at rest, build more muscle and shrink those fat stores.

(2) Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) - This involves the work associated with digesting the food you eat. The amount of energy used here ranges from 5 to 15%.

The composition of your diet will have an effect on this part of metabolism. When the ratio of carbohydrate to fat is high, metabolism is higher. The body has to work much harder to convert carbohydrates to fat than it does dietary fat which is already in a storable form.

(3) Effect of Physical Activity - This is the energy your body burns to perform daily activities, exercise, play, etc. On average, physical activity accounts for 20 to 40% of the calories burned by your body in one day. It is here where you can have the greatest effect on your metabolism. This part of metabolism is considerably lower in a person who is sedentary (inactive) versus a very active person.

The intensity of the activity, how long the activity is performed, and the frequency with which the person performs the activity all have an effect on metabolism. This is probably a no-brainer, but the more intense the activity, the more calories are burned; the longer you do the activity, the more calories you are burning; and the more often you do the activity, the more calories are used up.

Unfortunately for women, they have less muscle mass than men. Thus, women typically have a lower RMR than men. People under the age of 30 usually have a faster metabolic rate for the same reason - higher muscle mass. However, this does not have to hold true. Keep your muscle mass by lifting weights three days a week. Studies have shown that in as little as three months of moderate weight training will boost your RMR.

The Effects of Food on Metabolism

Anything that speeds up the heart rate, such as stimulants, will temporarily increase your RMR.

Examples of food stimulants include caffeine and spicy chili peppers (the key being spicy). Complex carbohydrates (i.e. bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables) contain about half the calories by weight of fat. Plus, it is more work for the body to convert carbohydrates to body fat.

Alcohol is a concentrated calorie source and contains few nutrients. It actually reduces the body's ability to burn fat. The soluble fiber in oat products not only lowers cholesterol but enhances weight loss.

Walking within 10 minutes of eating can actually boost your TEF helping your body burn 10% more calories than normal. Eating every 3 to 4 hours (6 to 7 small meals per day) will increase your TEF, thus your metabolism.

Jumpstart your metabolism: Power List of Ways to Increase Metabolism

* Never ever skip meals, especially breakfast.

* After lunch and dinner, take a brief walk (10 to 15 minutes).

* Do NOT eat LESS than 1200 calories per day.

* Eat 50 to 60% of your calories from carbohydrates.

* Train with weights at least 3 days a week.

* Perform some form of aerobic exercise most days of the week.

* Drink plenty of water.

* Get Plenty of Sleep.

Get more information on how to Jumpstart your Metabolism

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