1. How your metabolism worksEven when at rest, your body burns calories to circulate blood, digest food and nutrients, breathe, repair cells and tissues, eliminate waste through urine and feces, among other functions. The amount of calories that your body uses to be able to optimally perform all its functions is what we know as the basal metabolic rate or resting metabolism . To understand it better, we could compare the metabolism with the engine of a car. Just as it stores gasoline for the engine to run, our body also prioritizes energy storage so that, in the absence of it, we can survive in good conditions. In order for our car to have good power, we must supply it with the fuel it needs and make some changes and checks periodically. Likewise, to accelerate our metabolism in a healthy way, we must give our body the energy it needs, integrating the necessary habits to guarantee its proper functioning. Let us now imagine that the engine of our car is damaged, to fix it it is not enough to change the gasoline, we must repair the engine. In the same way that, if our metabolism is slow, it will not be enough to change the diet or the food we eat, but we must focus on finding the root of the fault to teach your body to use its fat and glucose reserves that it has stored for a long time without sacrificing our muscle mass, because without it it is impossible to maintain good metabolic health as it is the tissue that increases the basal metabolism the most, the most "expensive" tissue to maintain.
2. Lose weight by accelerating your metabolism in a healthy and consistent way
1. Controlled caloric deficit. Prioritize real foodConsuming fewer calories than your body invests in maintaining its vital functions, in moving, favors the provision of the appropriate environment for catabolic processes to occur in an attempt to obtain energy to continue with all functions. If we generate an excessive deficit in our body, we run the risk of damaging our muscle mass, therefore any strategy aimed at accelerating metabolism must take into account the care and maintenance of muscle mass so that the basal metabolism does not decrease so much by reducing the calories. A good strategy to reduce caloric intake is to prioritize real food . It is by far the main recommendation. Eating foods with high nutritional density is a guarantee of gaining in nutritional quality and satiety .
2. Eat enough proteinStar macronutrient if you want to protect your muscle against caloric deficit. The official daily recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization) ranges between 0.8 and 1 g of protein per kg of body weight. That is to say, in a person who weighs 60 g and consumes 2,000 calories, it would represent 12% of the total calories. This recommendation is minimal and especially indicated for sedentary people, but given the importance of maintaining good muscle mass, we recommend at least 15% in people who are not very active and do not have goals to increase muscle mass . This % will undoubtedly rise in people who:
- Are interested in losing weight : protein promotes muscle synthesis, increases metabolism thanks to its thermogenic effect and controls appetite. People who are overweight should calculate the amount of protein to consume based on their target weight and not their current weight, so as not to overestimate their consumption.
- Are interested in gaining muscle : Start with 1.5 - 2 g/kg and can increase if you don't get results. If you follow a dairy or vegetarian diet, you may need to slightly increase this recommendation to compensate for the lower quality of vegetable proteins .
- Seniors – Muscle is the biggest life insurance there is. The scientific evidence is clear in this regard, older adults will benefit from more protein, the official recommendation of 0.8 g/kg in many cases favors muscle catabolism.
3. Try intermittent fastingIntermittent fasting not only brings health benefits (reducing inflammation, increasing SIRT3, improving lipid profile, reducing insulin resistance, strengthening the immune system, among others), but also helps in many cases to regulate caloric intake, control anxiety and stop being slaves to schedules and calories. Fasting makes it easier for the AMPK pathway linked to autophagy and catabolism to activate in the morning. Although there are several types of fasting, the best known and easiest to follow is the 12-13/12 fast, 12-13 hour fast and 12 hours in which you include your intakes . If you feel anxiety during fasting hours, black coffee, tea or vegetable broth are your allies. Intermittent fasting has become very popular and it certainly brings great benefits. However, it is important to do it consistently and aware of your needs to avoid over-stressing your body and unconsciously malnourishing it. If necessary, look for a professional to accompany you in the process and help you integrate and adapt this tool.
4. MoveI consider it reductionist and a real mistake to see exercise exclusively as a way to burn calories, let's try to implement and increase movement as a way to feel better, to activate your hormonal system, to use the body you have. When we talk about NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), we refer to all the daily activities that we carry out during the day and that, together, generate caloric expenditure that considerably increases metabolism. From setting the table, changing posture while sitting, to typing the phone. Do not forget the ultimate goal, to improve your mobility, develop your physical qualities, your self-esteem, your relationship with you. Move to live longer and better, not to burn calories :)
5. Muscle massWeight training and having a fast metabolism are two things that are directly related. Thanks to muscle mass, resting metabolic rate increases, this is because basal metabolism increases . We know the benefits of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise (HIIT, functional, sprints, etc.) aimed at increasing heart rate and promoting auto-fatigue, but let's not forget to work on muscle mass to prevent the metabolic rate from dropping. If you maintain your muscle mass as you lose weight, the resting rate will not decrease and, consequently, it will not be necessary to continue generating a deficit in your body to continue with the process.
6. Adapt carbohydrates to your physical activityAt the beginning of your path towards weight loss and systemic inflammation reduction, it makes a lot of sense to reduce the intake of carbohydrates to eliminate glycogen, liquids, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. However, despite the current boom around keto/low carb diets, we must not demonize carbs. They are not your enemies or the bad guys from the movie . Well-managed carbohydrates have enormous benefits, especially if you want to promote the growth of your muscle mass. It is essential to know how to include this macronutrient in your diet to give your body flexibility, avoid anxiety or excessive insulin spikes at the moment in which you incorporate them again. Introducing carbohydrates during peri-workout (before and after training) and giving priority to those that do not have a great impact on your blood glucose, such as tubers, pseudocereals, and legumes, may be an optimal strategy to replenish glycogen and the insulin released to allow the activation of the metabolic MTOR pathway, the one intended for building muscle tissue and maintaining a high basal metabolic rate. On the other hand, carbohydrates do not have a clear positive impact at the hormonal level, allowing hormones such as leptin, insulin, adiponectin and other hormones linked to the immune, nervous, emotional and endocrine systems to be released, guaranteeing health and a diet based on balance. .
7. Work your metabolic flexibility. Sensitize your insulinMetabolic flexibility is aimed at teaching your body to use fat as an energy source in such a way that the peripheral receptors of your muscles work properly. You can read the tools that will help you boost metabolic flexibility here . Also, you can make use of insulin sensitizers such as:
- Green Tea
- Berberine (1-2 g/day)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (400-600 mg/day, being able to reach 800-1000 mg in case of diabetes.
- Omega 3 (1-2 g/day) which will also help you improve your lipid profile.
- Chromium (200-600 mg/day)
- Cinnamon (500-1000 mg/day)
8. Increase your catecholaminesThe catecholamines for those of you who have not heard of them before are: dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These promote the mobilization of fat thanks to the activation of the enzyme HSL (for its acronym in English Hormone Sensitive Lipase or LSH). Exercise is undoubtedly the best modulator of these hormones. In order to understand the physiological basis behind it, we have to delve a little into the biochemistry of our body. Hormones work like any communication system in which one part of the body emits a signal and the other must receive it (receiver). Fat cells have two catecholamine receptors (alpha and beta). Stick with this idea: when catecholamines hit a beta receptor, fat mobilization increases , and when they hit an alpha receptor, fat mobilization decreases . Therefore, to mobilize fat you have to keep the anabolic hormone par excellence (insulin) low and catecholamines high. If both are elevated, the action of insulin will prevent the mobilization of adipose tissue.
9. Correct hydrationIn weight loss processes in which we reduce the amount of carbohydrate supplied, it is especially important to keep the body hydrated, since many electrocytes are lost as a result of urinating a lot, reducing inflammation, increasing sweating due to the thermogenic effect of exercise and activation of the sympathetic nervous system that releases a lot of adrenaline. It is important not only to drink water, but to incorporate electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. Sodium is essential to keep the cell hydrated, as well as being necessary for glucose to be transported from the intestine to the blood plasma when refeeding with carbohydrates. A great alternative to include in your day to day is sea water, about 150-200 ml diluted in fresh water.
10. Regulate your biorhythms. Prioritize restThe eating strategy that you decide to carry out must be carried out in a coherent way with your day to day. It is useless to try to impose habits that will be impossible to follow. We must encourage your body to allocate the hours it needs to carry out the processes of catabolism, autophagy, muscle building, and relaxation of the nervous system in order to promote the intestinal, emotional, endocrine, and immune balance that it deserves. The tools that undoubtedly bring more benefits in terms of regulating biorhythms, also giving importance to deep rest are:
- Introduce carbohydrates in the post-workout meal to promote the anabolic pathway (MTOR) of building muscle mass.
- Try to go to bed with finished digestion. Do not eat dinner close to going to bed. Your body should focus on resting, not worrying about digesting.
- You can introduce a supplement to activate catecholamines starting in the morning that contains L-Tyrosine and mucuna pruriens to try to promote your energy boost early in the day.
wake up mood
- If you have trouble falling asleep, you can introduce a booster containing melatonin, gaba, and magnesium to improve stress adaptation, and use adaptogens such as ashwagandha to encourage the adrenal gland to modulate cortisol release, thus preventing adrenal fatigue .