We hear the word metabolism thrown around a lot. But lets take a closer look at what it is, how it works and how it can be improved.
WHAT IS METABOLISM
The official definition for Metabolism is said to be the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within living organisms. But what is that really? In simpler terms it is the process in which your body converts food and water you consume into the energy needed for immediate use or to be stored for later.
There are many functions that require energy that go well beyond the use of our muscles. All of our vital organs require a steady flow of power to remain in good health. But eat and drink too much and your metabolism will store that energy as, you guessed it, fat.
Your body is a very complex system that with stored energy reserves can survive for weeks without food simply by slowing down the metabolism. But in the absence of water you can only survive a few days. So keep that in mind if you ever enter into a fast.
ANABOLISM AND CATABOLISM
In the simplest definition possible Anabolism is the building up of your body and Catabolism is the breaking down. Anabolism generally requires energy, Catabolism mostly releases energy.
In the process of anabolism the body uses simple molecules like Amino Acids and creates larger molecules like proteins. As we know, proteins are essential to the increase of muscle mass. There are also a number of hormones involved in the process but we will get into those in another article.
Catabolism works in reverse, using larger molecules to creates smaller while releasing energy in the process. As you can imagine this process is likely to pull these larger molecules from sources such as nucleic acids, polysaccharides and what some consider the worst…. proteins…. oh the gains.
Catabolism isn’t always a bad thing as this also translates to the breaking down of organic food and this releases energy. The hormones released in catabolism are cortisol, glucagon, adrenalin, cytokines. But we will discuss this more in length in another article.
Sleep plays a very important role in how our body functions. The benefits range from:
- Improved memory
- longer life
- reduce inflammation
- Reduce stress
- Reduce depression
- Heals your body
- Increase weight loss
….and many more
But what about the lack of sleep or excess of sleep? How does this impact the metabolism? Too little sleep and your body will increase ghrelin hormones which tell the brain you are hungry. Also a lack of sleep can decrease glucose tolerance which can result in a compromised insulin sensitivity, and raise evening cortisol levels. Too much sleep and you are at risk of developing diabetes.
So what is the best solution to maintain metabolism function with sleep?
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up same time
- Create a relaxing environment to sleep in. Dark, quiet, not too hot.
- Try to get 7-8 hours sleep
- Avoid caffeine or meals prior to bed.
- Avoid exercise 4 hours prior to sleep
EXERCISE AND NUTRITION
First lets note calorie restrictions. You hear this a lot around health circles and the discussions that follow. Calorie restrictions can be effective in the short term but not in the long term. In the long term a deficit of calories can trigger an altered metabolic state where less energy is being burned. Less diets can be difficult to kick butt at the gym when there is little energy being released. There is also a risk of being malnutrition, so if you do this even in a short term for weight loss make sure you consult a professional.
You want to consume the building blocks we mentioned earlier in our discussion on anabolic and catabolic. We need the proper food to help our body break down into energy such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, calcium, fats and sugar.
Exercise is also key to revving up the metabolism. The three types of exercise are aerobic (cardio), anaerobic (strength), agility (speed). I suggest dipping a little into all forms as they each play a key position in the effectiveness of your health and metabo0lism.
I hope you found this article on Metabolism: What is it? How can it be improved? helpful.
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