When it comes to weight loss, exercise and diet are both very important. After all, you can't out-train a bad diet, and in order to lose significant amounts of weight, you must expend more calories than you eat and drink.
However, burning calories doesn't necessarily just mean putting in hours and hours at a time on the gym floor or doggedly doing the best exercises for weight loss. It's possible to burn calories while sitting at your desk or lounging around at home, thanks to your body's metabolism.
Metabolism is the body's process of converting food and drink into energy. According to the NHS UK website, it "describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside your body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food".
Much like the hard work you put in during your exercise sessions, the hard work your body puts in to keep everything running burns calories. This is given a number, and is known as the body's base metabolic rate (BMR). If you have what's called a high BMR, your body burns those calories much quicker than people with a low BMR.
In a report, Harvard University found metabolism was affected by several factors, such as age and fitness. As our BMR lowers with age, it takes longer to burn off excess calories, so our body is more likely to store them as fat.
Fortunately, you're not doomed to have a slow metabolism forever. The report shows us there are a few things we can do to raise our BMR and get our bodies working for us.
A high metabolism needs regular exercise and a healthy diet to keep it that way, but it will help you shed pounds and keep the weight off, whether we're sweating it out in the gym or slumped on the sofa, watching Netflix.
Metabolism tips for weight loss: Do more HIIT
If your jogging routine isn't helping you lose weight, try a short HIIT workout instead. High Intensity Interval Training, a method of exercise which involves going flat-out for a set period of time, resting and then going again, has been found to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after the workout, ensuring you're burning fat a full day after your 20-minute sweat session. Never tried it before? Get started with our four-week HIIT workout challenge.
Metabolism tips for weight loss: Build muscle
Building muscle isn't just for gym-bros in tank tops. Eating lots of healthy protein and performing regular resistance training exercises has lots of weight loss benefits too. The Harvard report found protein takes longer to digest and store in your body than fats or simple carbohydrates. The longer your body takes to break it down, the less calories are wasted and turned into fat.
Protein is also the building block of muscle. A study in the scientific journal Adipocyte (opens in new tab) found people with more muscle had higher metabolisms than those with less. It also helped prevent the development of diabetes in later life.
Metabolism tips for weight loss: Drink green tea
That's right: if you switch your milk and two sugars out for an alternative health drink, you'll lose inches from your waist line. Probably. One study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (opens in new tab) monitored the effects of green tea in diabetics, finding four cups of green tea per day for two months led to a drop in body weight, waist circumference and blood pressure. We'll drink to that.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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