How your metabolism works. Metabolism is the speed at which your body burns through food. As you get older, your metabolism decreases and you don’t require the same number of calories as when you were younger. The rate the metabolism decreases as we age is determined by the amount of muscle mass we have on our body. Greater muscle means higher metabolism. If you’re over 40, you probably aren’t as active as you used to be. You aren’t playing sports or chasing kids around the house. If you don’t use your muscle, you’ll lose it.
Digestion process burns calories. I teach my clients to eat 3 meals throughout the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and then an additional 2 to 3 healthy snacks between meals. Many of us have been conditioned to think that if we eat less, we will weigh less. The opposite is true but we must be careful to eat quality instead of quantity. There is the thermic value of nutrients — the actual calorie burning properties of nutrient digestion. This means that healthy, balanced eating offers a metabolic advantage. Eating is thermic or produces heat. Since a calorie is a measure of heat, balanced eating equals more calories expended.
Keep aerobic exercise moderate. Believing that aerobic exercise is the secret to burning fat is only half-correct. Too much aerobics subject us to a repetitive catabolic state where it literally is eating up muscle tissue. You can burn fat anytime you are in an “aerobic state.” If you are sitting and reading this article, you are in an aerobic state. You are in an aerobic state anytime you are meeting demands for oxygen. This is why proper nutrition and weight training is critical to maintain and build muscle. You can burn fat while you sleep with lean muscle mass. I use aerobic exercise to keep my heart, lungs and circulatory systems healthy and use weight training to burn calories and keep my metabolism healthy.
Muscle is metabolism. As we age, we begin to lose muscle. This is called muscle atrophy. The key is to preserve muscle to fight fat and keep your metabolism healthy. The muscle you have on your body is in direct correlation to the number of calories you burn at any given moment. Muscle doesn’t know age. You can maintain or build muscle at any age with weight training. I believe training with weights is more important as you get older because you are typically less active and your muscle will get soft from lack of use. Dense muscle mass is key to having a strong and healthy metabolism. If you would like more information on how to increase your metabolism, send Linda an email and write “maximize your metabolism” in the subject line.
Build muscle, eat 5 – 6 small meals a day, and keep your aerobic activity moderate.