By Val Fiott
Your metabolism is as unique as your fingerprint: Made up of a ton of different (and changing) factors, it’s pretty much the biggest determinant when it comes to what happens with your weight. No matter who you are, you probably want (or at least, you should want, anyway) your metabolism to be higher, faster, and let’s face it…. better!
Why is this so important? Think of it this way: A high metabolism is like an investment that yields residual income. Making money in your sleep is certainly better than having to work to make money, and that’s exactly why a high metabolism is so advantageous – it burns calories while you’re not being active. Have you ever wondered why some people just seem naturally thin, even if they don’t maintain their calories or exercise as closely as you? That’s the advantage of metabolism – it works hard for you, even when you’re not.
Now, one of the simplest, most direct ways to speed up your metabolism actually does involve a form of exercise, but because this particular form of exercise builds metabolism, it’s doubly beneficial when it comes to losing weight. With it, you burn calories while you’re exercising, and you’ll burn calories when you’re not. That particular form of exercise is strength training properly. I’ll say it again – “properly.” This means it has to be often enough—preferably more than twice per week for at least 30 minutes at a time—and that it has to be challenging enough. This means that your strength training needs to be performed with a selected resistance that causes you to truly struggle for several repetitions of the movement at a time. If you reach your final repetition of a pull-up, pushup, bicep curl, or any other strength exercise and you find that you’re not quite feeling that clichéd “burn” that we fitness professionals are always talking about, then honestly, you’re not really done! Beneficial strength training isn’t about counting reps and moving weights around; it’s about getting your muscles to adapt to the right level of stress. That’s what will improve your metabolism—those healthy levels of natural stress on the muscles and nervous system that cause your body to need more calories just to function each day. Once you have that, you’ll have an improved metabolism and you’ll be burning more fat, not just when you’re exercising, but even while you sleep.
Val Fiott is an exercise scientist, ACE-Certified Health Coach and ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. He has been a Subject Matter Expert for the American Council on Exercise since 2010 and has served as Director of Client Services for Perfect Personal Training since 2005. Val has an extensive history of leading personal trainers and their clients to better, faster, safer success.