Category Archives: Getting Strong

Do Some People Really Just Have a High or Low Metabolism?

Genetics do have a role to play in our metabolism. Some people just have a naturally high metabolism, while for others it doesn’t work quite as fast. But before we get into the specifics of the causes of having a high or low metabolism and what can be done about either, let’s first discuss metabolism, so we have a better understanding of it.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a biological process in most living organisms that breaks down food consumed so the body can use the nutrients as energy. It has two parts called reactions – catabolic and anabolic.

The catabolic reaction happens first as it breaks down food so the nutrients can get into your bloodstream and get eventually into your cells. The anabolic reaction occurs after the nutrients enter your cells and are used to build new tissue and repair your body.

The rate at which the catabolic and anabolic reactions happen is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR plays a large part in how your weight is affected. A low rate means food is broken down more slowly; a high rate more quickly.

High Metabolism

On the surface, it sounds great to have a high metabolism; in theory, you could eat whatever you want and not gain weight. But, it isn’t all that great because it can cause some serious health issues of its own.

People with high functioning metabolisms eat a lot of calories in a day just to keep from being hungry, but much of the food they eat not only tends to be high in calories, but also high in saturated fat, sugar, salt – all things not good for them. This can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, strokes, high cholesterol and diabetes.

While a high metabolism in many people is caused by their genetics, gender and age, other causes can be an overactive thyroid, smoking and stress. There isn’t much one can do about their genetics, but the other three are treatable and manageable.

Low Metabolism

Generally a low functioning metabolism can be due to a hormone imbalance. As we age we lose testosterone which helps regulate muscle mass. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn. To build more muscle, add a couple days per week of strength training in addition to your cardio exercise routine.

Just as an overactive thyroid can cause a high metabolism, and underactive one can cause a slow metabolism. Your doctor may be able to reset your thyroid activity through thyroid therapy.

Stress can also cause a slow metabolism due to weight gain brought on by increased cortisol levels. Reduce the stress and you’ll increase your metabolism.

As you can see, having either a high or low functioning metabolism can cause health problems. If you think your metabolism is out of whack, and nothing you try is working to make it function more normally, see your doctor; many times they can help get your metabolism back on track.

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What Exactly Is Your Metabolism And Why Does Boosting It Help You Lose Weight?

The word “metabolism” is raised in just about every conversation about weight loss. But what exactly is your metabolism? And what does it mean to boost it?

A Definition of Metabolism

Metabolism is actually a broad term. It’s used to define the collective systems in your body that create and use energy. The process begins when you put food or nutrients into your mouth. Your body begins digesting them and converting the food into fuel and energy. At a cellular level, energy is created and used.

Most of the energy you use comes from the creation of ATP. However, glucose and fat are also additional sources of fuel and can be used depending on the energy that is required. For example, if you’re taking a hike you’ll primarily use ATP. If you’re doing strength training then you may tap into your glucose stores for energy.

When most people think about boosting metabolism they’re focusing on burning energy faster. But boosting metabolism also relates to what type of energy you burn. For example, if you want to lose weight then you want your fitness plan to tap into the fat stores for energy….

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Dieting Vs. Working on your Metabolism: Which Works Best for Weight Loss?

When it comes to weight loss, there are generally three schools of thought. The first is extreme dieting. This involves strictly following the instructions of the latest dieting trend to make headlines. The measures are extreme, and the results are generally short lived. The second is balanced dieting – controlling your calorie intake against the amount of calories you burn during the day. Creating a calorie deficit is said to result in weight loss. The third is metabolism boosting. Your metabolism is the process by which your body turns food into energy. A slow metabolism leads to your body storing food as fat, while a fast metabolism burns through food more quickly. So which approach is best?

First up, let’s look at extreme dieting. It’s nonsense. You might see short term results, but it is generally completely unsustainable. Put it out of your mind.

That was easy! OK, so what about balanced dieting vs. working on your metabolism? This one isn’t so easy. Unfortunately, proponents of both are often quick to disparage the benefits of the other. The reality is that a balanced diet and boosting your metabolism should really go hand in hand. They are intrinsically linked, and keeping both in mind is the best way to approach weight loss.

There are many ways to boost your metabolism, but the most important is to make sure you are eating enough of the right foods. Severely reducing your calorie intake actually slows down your metabolism, making weight loss even more difficult. In order to lose weight, you need to maintain your calorie intake. This involves being aware of just how many calories you are taking it, and how you are getting them. By substituting fatty, high calorie foods for greater portions of healthy, low calorie foods, you will speed up your metabolism and lose weight more quickly.

Another closely linked aspect of dieting and metabolism is exercise. Aerobic exercise burns calories, but by increasing your heart rate you can encourage your metabolism to work faster, greatly increasing the benefits. A good way to increase your heart rate is to introduce high intensity periods to your exercise. For joggers, this could be breaking out into a sprint for 30 seconds every couple of minutes. For walkers, this could be increasing to a jog for 30 seconds every few minutes.

The truth is that there is no definitive answer to the question of dieting vs metabolism. A balanced diet (and not a severe calorie cutting diet) will naturally improve your metabolism. Similarly, foods and activities to boost your metabolism will result in a more balanced diet. The key is in understanding your body. Understand the foods it needs and what positively impacts your metabolism. Only by keeping both in mind can you see sustained, permanent weight loss.

Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient For Heart And Bone Health

Most people have heard about vitamin K but few know that it comes in two forms: Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is one of the vitamins that researchers are finding out are great for your bone health and for your heart. It is as important as taking calcium when it comes to improving bone health.

Research has found a link between vitamin K2 and calcium. It turns out that without the addition of vitamin K2 in your diet or as a supplement, you can’t regulate calcium levels and bone health suffers. In addition, those who have decreased levels of vitamin K2 in the diet put themselves at a greater risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

People who have insufficient calcium in their bones get osteoporosis and have elevated amounts of calcium in the arteries instead. Vitamin K2 can turn this around.

Information on vitamin K has been around for a long time and the current dietary recommendations by the US FDA have been related to the small amount of vitamin K needed to clot the blood. The amount needed for healthy arteries and bones is more than that.

Osteoporosis and Heart Disease

While these two conditions seem unrelated, they are actually closely related. Both medical issues increase with age, particularly in the 60s and 70s. Both are conditions that develop gradually and don’t just pop up overnight.  Atherosclerosis can begin as early as one’s teens and can take years to become clinically significant, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have begun to understand the link between atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. They seem to be linked to certain regulators, such as osteopontin and matrix GLA-protein, which affect both bone health and the health of the arteries. A protein known as morphogenetic protein-2 was thought to be present only in bone but has been found in the tissue that makes up atherosclerotic plaques.

It was found that those who suffered from osteoporosis (thinning of the bones from a loss of calcium) also had an increased risk of calcium deposition in arteries. The reverse is also true.

What they discovered was that calcified plaques are not just plaques at all but are really bony tissue inside the arteries. Calcium in the arteries is actually ossification of the blood vessels.

In the same way, it was found that things like sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, aging, smoking, and high cholesterol levels were linked to both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. The scientists wondered why both conditions coexist so frequently among older people.

Some researchers believed that the link was that calcium transferred itself from bones into the arteries but this didn’t hold up in research studies. Drugs that control osteoporosis, such as Evista (raloxifene) and Fosamax (alendronate) take care of the lack of calcium in bone but do nothing to improve atherosclerosis so the two issues are probably under separate regulatory mechanisms.

Now, it has been discovered that Vitamin K2 may be at the bottom of the link between osteoporosis and bone deposition in the arteries.
Vitamin K comes as vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, which is found in egg yolks, dairy products, and organ meats. Most of the research on the vitamin relates to its ability to help the liver make clotting factors, including factors II, VII, IX, and X, as well as proteins C and S. They have found that vitamin K is a good antidote to warfarin toxicity.

More recently, it was found that vitamin K is strongly linked to the maintenance of healthy bones and the prevention of arterial plaques, which are bony material trapped in the arteries. Vitamin K seems to keep the calcium out of the arteries and puts it back into the bones where it belongs. The dose of vitamin K necessary to do this is far greater than that needed for bone and arterial health.

Link Between Vitamin K2 And Osteoporosis

It has been found that it is vitamin K2 that is the type of vitamin K most responsible for inducing the mineralization of bone and keeping it out of the arteries. People who eat foods high in vitamin K2 are less likely to have osteoporosis than those who don’t eat a lot of vitamin K2.
Research studies have since supported the idea that vitamin K2 limits the incidence of bony fractures. The dose necessary is much higher than the recommended daily allowances for vitamin K that is currently recommended.

Link Between Vitamin K2 And Heart Disease

Vitamin K2 has been found to reduce the amount of cholesterol and calcium plaques found in heart valves and in arterial walls. In one large study of more than 4800 participants, it was discovered that those who ate more vitamin K2 in their diet had a 57 percent reduction in the number of deaths due to heart disease. This was not found to be the case for vitamin K1. When taking in vitamin K2, there is less calcium deposited in the blood vessels and more deposited into bone.

This means that, in the future, there may be a change in the dietary recommendations for vitamin K2 so that it can do what it does best—put calcium into the bones instead of depositing into the arteries.

Can Tea Boost Your Metabolism?

You’ve probably heard the idea that tea can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories. Study after study shows it can – but to what extent? In one study done by the University of Geneva, Switzerland (albeit small, but still conclusive with this group), participants were divided into three groups: Group One took 50mg of green tea extract, Group Two took 50mg of caffeine and Group Three took a placebo.

During the study, participants were housed in a respiratory chamber where their energy expenditure and thermogenesis were measured. At the conclusion of the study, Group One showed a 4% increase in thermogenesis and a 4.5% overall increase in energy expenditure over the other two groups.

So can tea really make a difference?

Can a 4.5% increase in energy expenditure really make a difference in one’s weight loss endeavors? Yes and no.

From the aspect that whatever we can do to help speed up our metabolism, and ultimately help with weight loss, is beneficial in the long run. And when added to the other things we are doing to speed up our metabolism, yes it can.

No, from the aspect that it is unreal to expect that drinking a cup or two of tea per day will be the answer to weight loss for an obese person. After all, 4.5% of a 1,500 calorie diet is only about 60 calories, but as said before, it can be part of a synergistic effect when added together with other metabolism-increasing efforts.

Types of tea

Although the study referenced only took green tea into consideration, other types of tea have also proven themselves to increase metabolism and ultimately weight loss:

Oolong – Increases fat burning by 157% in addition to increasing metabolism and blocking fat absorption.
Pu erth – Improves digestion along with increasing metabolism.
Feiyan – Suppresses your appetite along with improving metabolism and the burning of fat.
White – Stimulates the burning of fat while stopping the generation of new fat cells.
Peppermint – Served hot or cold, it not only speeds up digestion, but helps burn more calories.
Porangaba – Boosts weight loss while suppressing your appetite. Has also shown to reduce fatty deposits and cellulite.

Drinking tea is not enough

While drinking tea does help increase your metabolism, alone it is not enough to promote any appreciable weight loss. However, when added to a consistent exercise routine including both cardio and weight lifting along with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, the three-pronged approach creates a recipe for substantial weight loss.