Answers to Your Questions on Fitness, Exercise and Weight loss

My latest observations, experiences and advice as a personal trainer about fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, weight loss and more.

 Inspirations Personal Training Home Page : Personal Trainer Blog Home : December 2005

December 12, 2005 19:38 - Welcome to My Personal Trainer Blog!

I'll be bringing you information in a Q & A format on all of your fitness, exercise, weight loss and fitness equipment questions, so read on and please don't be afraid to ask a question.

Heart Smart Facts

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

December 20, 2005 19:05 - Q. How do I speed up my slow metabolism for better weight loss?

There are so many people who don't understand how the human metabolism works that I hear this question time and again. Many think that our metabolism just naturally slows down as we age but that's not completely true.

First of all, what is metabolism?

In it's simplest terms, without all the scientific jargon, it is rate at which your body uses or burns calories to exist.

The slowing down of the metabolism is more a result of the slowing down of physical activity. In other words, after about the age of 25, you tend to do less of the the things that keep you in good physical shape, you keep eating the same types of foods in the same quantities and as a result you lose muscle tone and mass and begin to gain fat.

Think of your muscles as the engine and the food you eat (calories) as the fuel. If the engine is idling all of the time rather than pushing the limits and roaring, sediments and carbon build up and the engine won't run as well as it should. In the case of your body when it is just idling, you don't really need alot of muscle to do that, so the muscle (the engine) begins to lose tone, it actually shrinks. Also, the extra calories you are taking in and not using become the sediment (fat) that begins to build up.

To sum it up in simple terms, the single biggest factor affecting metabolism is muscle tissue! The more of it you have, the more calories you will burn, even at rest. So provided you maintain good muscle mass and tone, your body will be burning more calories even when you are idling!

I'll explain about the other factors affecting the metabolism and more about how all of this affects weight loss in my next post.

Recommended reading:

Burn Fat Fast For Healthy Weight Loss

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

December 27, 2005 09:57 - Top Factors Affecting Your Metabolism And How to Speed It Up.

Yes, your metabolism is working 24 hours a day. That is because whether you are working out or not, every function of your body requires energy and of course the energy comes from the calories you consume.

Aside from muscle tissue, these are some of the other factors that affect your metabolism.

Meal frequency is extremely important and you have probably heard that you should eat 5 small meals a day rather than 3 or less larger meals. Skipping breakfast is probably the worst thing you can do for your metabolism if you wish to lose fat.

Well, here's why.

The reason is that going a long time between meals causes your body to go into conservation uses less energy and burns fewer calories in case it is a long time till the next calorie injection. This is something your body does naturally as a self defense mechanism probably dating back to a time when a regular food supply was less of a sure thing.

The same thing happens when you diet by drastically cutting down on your calorie intake. Your metabolism goes into starvation defense mode and slows down on the burning of calories even for basic functions. This is also the reason your energy level, both mentally and physically, drops and you will get less out of exercise because you won't be able to put as much into it...that is if you can get up the motivation to exercise at all when your system is slowed down from lack of fuel.

So don't sabotage your weight loss efforts by starving yourself! Eat frequent, balanced (proteins, fats, carbs) meals or snacks through the day to keep your body and metabolism stoked.

More factors affecting the metabolism in my next post...

Recommended reading:

Burn Fat Fast For Healthy Weight Loss

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

December 28, 2005 08:01 - What other factors affect your metabolism?

  • Your activity level of course makes a difference. It almost goes without saying, the more active you are throughout the day, the more calories you will burn, but day to day activity, unless your job is strenuous, won't build muscle beyond what it takes to do your chosen activity.

    Your body will become accustomed to the activity and will then basically idle...that is, even though you are regularly active you won't show any improvement in strength and muscle mass and won't lose weight.

    Weight gain will come if the calorie intake is too high for the level of activity and weight loss will not happen unless you push your muscles for growth and strength and then reduce your food intake to match the actual fuel needs.

  • Hydration is also important as a large percentage of your body is water and not enough of it causes your systems to slow down. For a complete list of the symptoms of dehydration and the importance of pure water see my article on water filtration. Most North American don't drink enough water and go about daily life in a partially dehydrated state which can cause more problems than just a slowed metabolism.

    More in my next post

December 29, 2005 13:16 - Further factors affect your metabolism.

Everyone knows someone who can eat pretty well anything in any quantity and stays skinny as a rail. Huge plates of food, desserts, soda or liquor, it doesn't seem to matter that you eat far less and they eat more, they won't gain an ounce and you can almost feel your pants stretching. And they have been that way all their life (and so have you). Don't you just hate that?!

The factor at play here of course is genetics. Some people just have a higher metabolism and there is nothing you can do to change genetics...but you can still speed up your own metabolism with a few simple changes.

Another less than usual factor could be the production of hormones by the thyroid gland.

A while ago, a friend of ours whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years showed up at a party and I barely recognized him. He had always been one of those thin people, never gaining a pound, and here he was the size and shape of a beach ball! After I got over the shock of his appearance and asked him about it, he explained about his thyroid gland problem.

The thyroid gland is one of the most important of the endocrine glands and its secretion of thyroxin regulate many of the basic functions of the body. Hyperthyroidism is an excess production of thyroxin and hypothyroidism is the underproduction of this hormone. If you are not producing enough thyroxin, your metabolism slows down and you will tend to gain weight, and sometimes lots of it.

A misbehaving thyroid gland can cause a host of other health problems too but the problem can be successfully treated medically.

My friend has since had his hypothyroid problem corrected with medication, has lost weight and returned fairly closely to his former size.

I probably went on too long about the thyroid gland because it's not likely you have this problem. You will probably find that exercising regularly and changing your diet will have a very favourable effect.

More on this in my next post...

Recommended reading:

Burn Fat Fast For Healthy Weight Loss

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

December 30, 2005 07:37 - How to Fix that Slow Metabolism for Effective Weight Loss

It has been proven that stress can slow the metabolism by putting a strain on many of your systems. Plus the fact that many people use food as a distraction and a crutch and not always the best of foods.

I'm not going to try to advise you on removing all the stress factors in your life other than to say that exercise is shown to be an excellent stress reliever.

Exercise gets the circulatory and lymph systems moving, it perks you up and boosts energy as it increases your metabolism and mobilizes dozens of other bodily functions that help you to handle stress much better.

To summarize the last few posts, the major cause of a slowing metabolism isn't age but boils down to the following 3 factors:

1. This is the big one! Muscle mass decreases due to lack of use. You must make an effort to maintain your muscles by strength training.

2. Dieting without exercise causes the body to lose not just fat but muscle when it requires energy. In other words, your body will cannibalize muscle during a diet. And point one above (loss of muscle mass) is the main cause of a slowed metabolism.

3. Your activity level decreases as you get older.

If these are the factors that slow metabolism and cause weight gain it becomes pretty obvious what the solution is!

More on this in my next post.

Recommended Reading:

Burn Fat Fast For Healthy Weight Loss (Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

December 30, 2005 18:33 - Weight Loss, Menopause and Metabolism

There is another factor I should mention that can drastically affect weight loss. This might apply if you are a woman nearing menopause and I encourage you to read an article on my website that deals with this specific issue.

The article is titled...Menopause and Weight Gain and describes the difficulties encountered by women trying to lose weight during this "hormone crazy" time of their lives.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

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