Slow Metabolism and Genetics
There are many genetic traits that you can inherit from your parents which could cause a slower than 'normal' metabolism. Some people have different body types, tyroid hormone variations, different level of stomach enzymes and muscle mass. There are others but these are the ones that we will cover with this article.
Body Types and Metabolism
Body types can vary from person to person. Some people are ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs. A lot of people believe that you fit into either of three types. That is not true, people can be a combination of all three. However, this is only the genetic portion. As some people get older they blame their slow metabolism on the fact that they are endomorphs and it can't be changed. People can alter a genetically slow metabolism with diet and exercise.
Thyroid and Metabolism
The thyroid gland has a major role in the metabolic process. It produces hormones which regulate metabolism. Some people (1 out of 20) are born with a slow or too fast thyroid gland. If your thyroid glad works too hard it may produce too much T3 and T4 hormones and this usually causes lower body weight. An underactive thyroid gland usually causes people to gain weight and reduces your overall BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
Digestion and Enzymes
Food needs to be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream to be used as energy. Enzymes in the stomach help with that process. Depending on the quality and amount of these enzymes, they will effect your overall metabolism level.
Slow Metabolism and Diet/Nutrition
Diet can have an extreme impact on your metabolism. Certain foods can either slow down your metabolism and make your body gain weight or it can speed up your metabolism and help you burn calories and fat.
Protein can increase your metabolism just by ingesting it. Not only does it keep you feeling full longer but it also helps build muscle tissue which raises your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Some of the best sources of protein are eggs, chicken and fish.
Depending on the type of carbohydrates (sugar, whole wheat etc) and the time of the day that you ingest them has a large role in controlling your metabolism. If you have very sugary foods with a lot of fat your body will start to store bodyfat. This can cause a slowdown of your metabolism.
Fat is a tricky one, it really depends on the type of fat (like carbohydrates), amount and timing of ingestion. Recent research suggests that 3-5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids daily actually increases your metabolism significantly. However ingestion of animal fat, trans fats or saturated fat actually slows down your metabolism.It is important to ingest 30-35% of your daily caloric intake from fat. Fat keeps your hair, brain and skin feeling and functioning it's best.
As noted in the foods that speed metabolism, cold water has a tremendous effect in increasing your metabolism. Make sure to get lots of water, green tea and the occassional coffee. Fruit juices and alcohol have a negative impact on your metabolism.
Slow Metabolism and Exercise
Exercise has a major effect on your metabolism. The more you move the more your heart has to pump to keep the right nutrients in your muscles. This has a great effect on your body's ability to burn calories (energy metabolism). Any type of exercise effects metabolism in a positive (increasing) fashion. However, certain types of exercise has a greater effect than others. The best type of exercise training is high intensity interval training.
HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training
Probably one of the best types of training you can do to increase your meatbolism is to train at high intensity: 80-90% of your maximimum heart rate and then train at a lower intensity (10-20% of your MHR). This type of training causes an 'after burning' effect which keeps your body burning calories for the next 24 hours. We have you covered in our HIIT overview and HIIT workout Plan and HIIT Calculator.
Sports and Metabolism
Sports are an excellent way to increase a slow metabolism. Because most sports are a form of interval training (stopping and starting all the time) they make an excellent contender against a slow metabolism.
There are many ways to change a slow metabolism. Increasing your protein, vegetables and good fats. Increasing your exercising while focusing on the great new way to burn fat: high intensity interval training. If you would like a complete meal plan to boost your metabolism click here.