How often do you hear someone blame genetics for the state of his or her metabolism?

Your metabolism is genetic in a sense that we are all born with the ability to break down food to create energy. A “fast” or “slow” metabolism is determined by your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest). Someone with a lower BMR will burn fewer calories at rest compared to someone with a high BMR.

Therefore, we gain weight when we consume more calories than we are able to burn.

It may give you peace of mind to know that your genes are not your weight fate, but the best way to keep a fit body in high gear is to know how to optimize your metabolism.

Exercise

Fact: muscles use more calories than fat. Weight training is the type of exercising which will typically have the greatest effect on your long-term metabolic rate. By strengthening your muscles your body generates more lean muscles mass tissue, which will then increase your basal metabolic rate and allow you to burn more calories at rest.

Fueling your Body

While it might sound easy to just add a couple workouts every week, that’s actually not the case. Many people underestimate, especially women, how much you should be eating throughout the day. Without sufficient nutrients, cells will readjust and begin to function on smaller amounts of energy and in turn, store more fat. Under eating will slow your metabolism down. Proper nutrition along with weight training is key in optimizing your metabolic rate. Eating larger, balanced meals with the right amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat keeps your blood sugar stable, reduces cravings and keeps your body’s energy supply constant steadily converting calories.

Sleep

Sleep is your body’s way of recharging for the day ahead. Certain body functions like muscle growth and tissue repair occur specifically when you are powered down. Without enough sleep, the hormones that regulate appetite are thrown off and your production of stress hormones increase, which result in an inflammatory response that puts your self at greater risk for diabetes, heart diseases and stoke. On top of that, your brain function is decreased leading to unhealthy decision making and overeating.

Not only does a balanced lifestyle optimize your metabolism but it also will allow you to perform at your best each day. Feeling good results in greater productivity, focus and overall life satisfaction.

If you want to read more about how sleep affects weight loss, read our previous blog post “Does Sleep Effect Weight Loss”.