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Status:Closed    Asked:May 30, 2013 - 08:16 AM

How can I boost my metabolism? Are there any supplements I should take?

 
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Metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn calories varies individually and is based on age, gender, height, weight, hormones, and of course activity level. The use of supplements to boost metabolism remains a topic for debate. Much of the controversy surrounding these ergogenic aids has to do with their safety. Unlike standard medications, they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, therefore not subjected to the typical rigorous standards of product safety. Additionally, their usage may interfere with medications you are currently taking for existing medical conditions or with other supplements. And without regulation, the combinations may prove not only detrimental, but potentially life threatening (FDA, 2006). Therefore it’s best to speak with your doctor before beginning any supplement regime.


The good news is that a large determining factor in metabolic rate is body composition. The leaner the individual, the higher their metabolic rate and visa-versa. As a starting point, it may be helpful to consider consulting with a certified fitness professional to calculate your current body composition. Healthy body fat percentages can range between 21-31% (women) and 14-24% (men) (ACE, 2013). Together with your fitness professional, you can work towards developing an individualized fitness program to help you build muscle and consequently maximize your metabolic rate.


Besides improving body composition, here are a few other ideas to help fire up a sluggish metabolism:


Eat Breakfast
Many studies show that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight. It makes sense when you think about it because if you skip your morning meal, you’re more likely to compensate for the calories later in the day.


Get Active
This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym everyday but with a little regular physical activity, you’ll find it easier to control weight and reduce hunger while decreasing your risk of chronic disease.


Think Small
The digestive process raises our metabolic rate slightly. Therefore, eating smaller well-balanced meals that contain a combination of protein and carbohydrates throughout the day may give you an opportunity to increase your metabolic rate- but the greater advantage is the impact on blood sugar. Small frequent meals tend to hold blood sugar levels steadier making it easier to manage hunger; thereby positively impacting any weight loss effort.


Rest Up
Metabolic rates are affected by sleep patterns. A lack of sleep can decrease your body’s ability to burn calories effectively making it much more difficult to not only lose weight, but keep it off. So it’s best to aim for plenty of rest each night to keep your metabolism humming.


References:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Dietary Supplements (FDA); What You Need To Know; http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/UCM240978.pdf, May 2006.

American Council on Exercise (ACE), ACE FitFacts: Energize Your Life With Strength Training,
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy_living_fit_facts_content.aspx?itemid=3
293
, accessed 05/31/2013.


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May 31, 2013 - 03:07 PM

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