One way to effectively lower your body fat percentage is to know how to manipulate and boost your metabolism. So what is your metabolism? Science books would say ‘your metabolism is the process of using cellular energy to conduct all of the chemical and physical processes in your body that keep you alive. These processes include the proper function of your brain and nervous system, muscle contraction, body temperature, food digestion, blood circulation and breathing. Metabolic processes of all types are heavily influenced by your endocrine system, which is a system of glands located throughout your body.’ But to put it more simply; it’s the number of calories you burn just to stay alive and not through exercise. So in theory, increasing this will mean you are burning more calories even when you are resting which in turn will only add to the amount of fat you lose.
Exercise to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Fat
In a study conducted at the University of Waterloo in Canada the effects of exercise on the metabolism were monitored. Seven human subjects (3 male, 4 female, 28.9 ± 3.1 yr of age, range 20–42 yr, body mass index 22.6 kg/m2, range 17–26 kg/m2) underwent a 9-day exercise training program of 60 min cycling per day at 63% peak oxygen uptake, in conclusion it was found that ‘exercise training increases metabolism in human skeletal muscle after exercise.’ This supports what experts have long thought, that endurance athletes have higher metabolic rates than strength training athletes, despite the latter exhibiting significantly more muscle mass (which is another way to increase your metabolism.) Aerobic training is the sustained lower intensity work these athletes engage in, and its ability to stimulate the metabolism, during, and hours after, training, that has been reported on.
Also, as an additional point, it must be noted aerobic training of any kind is great for fat loss since not only do you stimulate the metabolism but you also metabolize fat directly as a fuel source, and burn carbohydrate calories, thus lowering the fat-storing potential of carbs. But that’s not to say neglect strength training, as best explained by fitness expert Luis Alonso who says ‘strength training will increase your metabolism by taxing your muscles with an external stimulus whilst also increasing your body’s ability to burn fat at rest.
The reason for this is because physically trained muscles require much more energy from the body in order to be sustained. They have developed a higher amount of fat-burning mitochondria in the cells, as well as the ability to store more fuel for quick energy production in the form of glycogen, which is a form of stored sugar; this translates into fewer calories that could otherwise be stored in the body as fat.’ Furthermore, weight training builds muscle and muscle stimulates the metabolism to a significant degree. Effectively, bigger muscles equal a bigger metabolism.
Supplements to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Fat
Caffeine is the main ingredient in almost all fat loss pills but although numerous studies show it can speed up the metabolism in the human body by about 10%, it’s not known exactly how it doe this. It is theorized by many experts that caffeine ‘enhances fat oxidation and spares muscle glycogen by creating a more favorable intracellular ionic environment in active muscle.’ (Graham. T.E. 2001)
Furthermore, researchers at Yale University found that the ‘favorable intracellular ionic environment’ created by the caffeine can improve your ability to burn more calories during exercise by stimulating the production of the neuro transmitter beta-endorphin, which studies show can reduce pain and perceived fatigue, which can then in turn increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Therefore whether it directly does increase your metabolism or just enhances your workouts, it’s clear that caffeine would be a welcome addition to your supplement cupboard if you wanted to increase your fat loss gains.
Nutrition to Boost the Your Metabolism and Lose Fat
Looking specifically at macronutrients, protein will stimulate the metabolism far more efficiently than either carbohydrates or fat, due to the energy demands of amino acid utilization. In fact, experts believe eating a meal high in protein will stimulate the metabolism by as much as 30%, as opposed to fat or carbohydrates which increase it by around 4%.
Furthermore, protein will heighten the metabolic rate for around 12-hours after eating. However eating sufficient protein shouldn’t be a problem for most athletes since the International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition states ‘strength or speed athletes were recommended to consume 1.7grams of protein per kg of bodyweight per day.’ For a 90kg athlete this equates to 153 grams of protein per day. Plus, interestingly some experts are claiming endurance athletes need just as much protein to cope with the catabolic effect of intense cardio training. In a study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada it was suggested ‘that endurance athletes require a greater intake of protein than strength athletes to meet the needs of protein catabolism during exercise.’ (M. A. Tarnopolsky et al, 1999).