Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Understanding Metabolism

Tuesday Tip: Understanding Metabolism 🤓

Despite what you might think most of your daily calorie burn doesn’t come from exercise. It’s driven by your metabolism (converting food cals to energy) which determines the number of cals you need to maintain your weight.

Your calorie burn consists of:

#1 60-70% Basal metabolic rate; the cals you need at rest, to survive; breathing, digesting, filtering waste, nothing more. It varies with body size (bigger = higher bmr), composition (more muscle = higher bmr), age (younger = higher bmr), genetics, hormones (thyroid hormones) and health (ill = higher bmr).

#2 10% is from food thermogenesis (digesting food). Protein requires the most to digest. 0-3 percent of fat cals are used to digest it, 5-10 % for carbs and 20-30 % for protein. But as food thermogenesis only accounts for 10% of daily burn, eating more protein will only have a small effect on your metabolic rate.

#3 20% is from physical activity; walking, workouts, and day to day activities; typing, carrying heavy loads, standing, fidgeting, shopping, etc.

So if you aren’t seeing the results you want, but are tracking your food right, then maybe you’re overestimating your calorie burn? There’s lots of tips out there to boost metabolism e.g. eating more frequently, or not eating late at night etc but few have studies to back them up.

Some tips which are backed by science include:

# including strength training in your workouts. Boosting your muscle mass increases your BMR and burns more calories at rest. You don’t have to lift big weights, body weight exercises are also effective.

# increase intensity in your workouts; short bursts of intense effort increase afterburn e.g. intervals when running, swimming or cycling, or doing workouts that naturally include it like hiit/ bodyattack/ circuits etc.

#3 Eat enough protein. You’re still only contributing a little extra burn, but by ensuring you have protein with every meal you will not only burn a little more digesting, but more importantly you’ll feel fuller for longer, and you’ll have amino acids to support muscle recovery and repair.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Combat Slowing Metabolism

Tuesday Tip: Combat Slowing Metabolism 💪🏼

I am often asked how to combat a slowing metabolism as we age. Metabolism (basal metabolic rate – BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to carry out basic bodily functions at rest (breathing, circulating blood, cell repair, hormone balancing etc). Contrary to popular believe your metabolism doesn’t slow down as you age. What actually happens is that physical activity reduces and lean muscle mass is lost. This means a lower BMR giving the effect of a slowing metabolism. So how can you prevent this happening and keep your metabolism firing?

# 1 Be more active

Work activity in to your day – walk more, stand more, try new classes/exercises etc.

# 2 Resistance training

It’s important to build and maintain muscle so ensure you are doing some resistance training in the form of a class (e.g. pump) or in the gym itself.

# 3 Avoid fad diets

Extreme dieting can cause a down regulation in metabolic rate which can persist for years after the dieting ends. Cutting calories is fine but do it in a steady and sustainable way, in conjunction with physical activity, to help preserve muscle mass.

# 4 Find your motivation

Find what motivates you; is it the form of exercise? the social aspect of classes? the feeling of getting stronger? fitting in to your jeans? being able to run around with your children or pets? Whatever it is find that thing that keeps you going – write it down and keep it somewhere you can see it.

# 5 Get good habits

Find some healthy habits that work for you; track your food, exercise regularly, find alternatives to eating when you’re stressed (adult colouring books, reading, a bath etc), and measure your progress. Studies show those who measure their progress regularly are more likely to lose fat and keep it off long term.

# 6 Get hungry

Listen to your hunger signals and learn how to tell when you’re really hungry vs bored/emotional. A little hunger is a good thing; train your body to recognise actual hunger, Practice mindful eating – pay attention to what you eat, and when you eat, to help avoid boredom or stress eating.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Boost your metabolism

Tuesday Tip: Boost your metabolism 🙌🏼

We’ve all seen products which claim to boost your metabolism and whilst things like caffeine, Green tea, black pepper do increase metabolism it’s only short term. There are however a few other things you can do to maximise longer term metabolic benefits

# sleep cool

A recent study found that participants who slept in cool bedrooms (<18 C) doubled their amount of brown adipose tissue (tissue that actually burns cals). More brown fat means an increased BMR all day.

# Eat carbs

During exercise your muscles use stored glycogen. If you don’t consume enough carbs glycogen levels will be low and you won’t have the energy to exercise as intensely and you’ll burn fewer calories during and post-exercise. So include carbs with every meal.

# Slow weights

Weights based workouts are essential for building lean muscle and increasing bmr but if you’re rushing the reps you’re missing the benefits. It’s important to be slow and steady in the eccentric phase (lowering) as well as the lifting. Eccentric movements are more muscularly damaging and require more cals to repair. Studies have shown an increased fat burning of 5-9% just by focusing on the eccentric phase.

# Eat fat

Eat fatty foods particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. walnuts, sunflower seeds and oil, fish etc). These enhance the activity of genes that control fat burning. Just be aware they are calorie dense so have a small portion.

# Hiit it

Include high intensity interval training in your workouts rather than just steady state cardio. Studies show increased fat loss due to greater post exercise oxygen consumption ie greater post workout calorie burn

# Get salty

Include table salt (which contains iodine) in your meals (or iodine rich foods such as seaweed, shrimp, cod and eggs). Iodine is essential for the thyroid gland which modulates metabolism. You only need 1/2 tsp salt per day.

# Hello sunshine

Exposure to daylight is linked to lower BMI. It regulates your circadian rhythm, controlling your sleep, how much food you consume, how much energy you burn—all essential components of a healthy metabolic rate. So get outside!

Happy Tuesday 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Metabolism Myths

Tuesday Tip: Metabolism Myths 🌶

Social media is full of claims about things that will speed up your metabolism so you burn more calories but sadly most of these claims are false. Here are a few of the myths.

#1 Smaller frequent meals speed it up

Smaller, more frequent meals won’t do anything to your metabolism. Eating 6 small meals or 2 large ones really just comes down to preference. More small meals can lead you to overeat unless you’re being very careful with the portions. So, rather than measuring the size and frequency of your meals, pay attention to calories.

#2 Skipping meals slows it down

Skipping meals isn’t necessarily something I’d recommend but it won’t affect your metabolism. You’d need to be at a massive calorie deficit for considerable time to enter “starvation mode” and impact your metabolism. The issue with skipping meals is you are more likely to binge later, but if skipping a meal works for you and doesn’t make you eat more later then go for it.

#3 Caffeine speeds it up

Yes, caffeine does raise your metabolism, BUT crucially only for a short window of time. To get a significant effect on calorie burn you’d need to keep yourself caffeinated which causes poor sleep, heart issues, jitteriness. Caffeine is a diuretic (you pee more) which dehydrates you, which actually slows your metabolism! If you like a coffee, or need a bit of energy before a workout, then go for it, but don’t think it as a free pass to eat more!

#4 It’s fixed

Metabolic rate is affected by age, gender genetics, health, and muscle mass. More muscle = higher metabolic rate. So it’s important to do some resistance training. Cardio training also spikes your metabolism for a few hours afterwards. Aim for > 90 mins vigorous aerobic work (spin, attack, HIIT, running etc), and >2 strength training sessions a week.

#5 Chilli speeds it up

Chilli makes your food taste better, but it won’t give you much of a boost. The capsaicin in chilli peppers does very slightly increase your metabolism for a short while, but adding it to your food or taking pre-workouts/fat burners with it in won’t make you shed kgs I’m afraid.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Bigger weights aren’t always better

Tuesday Tip: Bigger weights aren’t always better 🏋🏻‍♀️

If you want to get stronger and fitter you have to lift heavy weights in the gym, right? Wrong! Several recent studies have shown this isn’t the case at all. You may have seen mention of this on the TV last week, I’ve had a look into the study behind the story.

Recent studies in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that lifting light weights (30 -50% of 1 rep max) for more reps, was just as effective as lifting heavy weights (up to 75-90% of 1 max rep) for 8 – 10 reps both for increasing strength and muscle size. Participants took part in a 12 week program of total-body resistance training (leg press, bench press, shoulder press, leg extension, bicep curls) – half used light weights, half used heavy, all lifted until failure. After 12 weeks, both groups made equal gains in strength and size, except for the chest press, where in fact those lifting lighter weights showed greater gains! Muscle strength increased 25-30%, and both groups put an average of 2.4 pounds of lean muscle on. In addition, biopsies of the muscles showed there was no difference in the growth of muscle fibres in either group (type I and II).

If you want to get stronger then you need to increase your muscle mass (don’t confuse this with getting “bulky”) by activating as many muscle fibres as possible. Day to day activities use the type I fibres first. As demand on muscles increase (more reps, or more weight) you recruit type II fibres – which is what you want. Conventional wisdom states that you can ONLY recruit type II fibres by lifting big weights for fewer reps, but what these studies show is that you don’t need to do that. The key is lifting to fatigue – with whatever weight you choose.

Great news for anyone who wants to get fitter and leaner but doesn’t fancy lifting heavy weights in the gym. You CAN still get strong by doing things like body pump, or workouts with smaller weights IF you are reaching fatigue by the end of the set or track. Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx