It can be really frustrating when your metabolism slows down and you just can’t seem to shift those last few pounds – no matter what you do!
If you are in a position where you feel you may have a weak metabolism, you are not alone, and these tips might help to move things along for you.
What is the metabolism?
The metabolism is basically a word used to describe the numerous chemical processes that occur constantly in the body to keep us alive and our organs functioning as they need to for survival.
These functions include breathing and the heart beating. All of these chemical processes need energy in the form of calories to occur. The minimum amount of calories that your body can function from is known as your BMR which is your basal metabolic rate.
There are a number of factors that may affect your metabolism, for example gender and age.
The more muscle you have however, the stronger your metabolism will be!
What causes a slow metabolism?
Although a number of medical reasons can cause a slow metabolism – such as an inactive thyroid – if you visit your doctor and there are no medical indications as to why your metabolism has slowed down, dieting and too much cardio combined is often a common culprit for a lowered metabolic capacity.
This is because the body is a master of adaptation, and as a survival mechanism it will do it’s best to work with whatever situation you place it in.
If you reduce your calorie intake so that it is very low, your metabolism will adapt accordingly and you will find it very easy to gain fat if you eat above your current calorie level.
This is why it’s so important to transition carefully and mindfully out of a dieting phase, and also to be objective about whether or not you are in a healthy position to begin a diet in the first place.
How do I improve a slow metabolism?
#1 Lift more weights
Lifting weights is one of the best courses of action that you can take for a lowered metabolism.
Often when people want to lose weight, they increase cardio and slack on their weight training. This is a big mistake, as maintaining your muscle mass will keep your metabolism strong, even if you are in a calorie deficit which you will be in when dieting.
Make sure you keep the intensity up in your training sessions with your weight training, your metabolism will thank you for it!
#2 Reverse diet
Reverse dieting is the practice of gradually adding in calories into your diet with the intention of increasing your metabolic capacity without excess fat gain.
If you add the calories in slowly, and monitor your weight and measurements, you will be able to avoid gaining any extra fluff while increasing your metabolism at the same time.
This will put you in a great position for the next time you diet as you want to create a calorie cushion that you can chip away at when you want to lose body fat. This will mean you won’t have to resort to drastic measures to shed those last few pounds.
#3 Reduce cardio gradually off season
If you avoid doing excessive cardio in the off season, you can use it as a tool when you want to diet down later on. Cardio is catabolic by nature, which means it breaks down tissue in the body.
When you are hoping to add lean muscle mass to your body, you do not want to be spending hours on the treadmill. If while dieting you added in extra cardio to help reduce your body fat levels, make sure you decrease your cardio slowly week by week.
This will ensure you don’t gain a lot of excess fat by just dropping it entirely at once.
Take home message
Don’t despair if you are suffering from a sluggish metabolism after a dieting phase.
It takes hard work and effort, but you can restore it back to it’s former glory.
It can be a frightening idea to add in more calories to your diet and reduce cardio, but if you do so mindfully and gradually you will not store excess body fat.