Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions occurring within our body at the same time. Metabolism consists of a complex network of hormones and enzymes that transform food into energy and determine how efficiently that fuel is used, which is very important for runners. The metabolism is part of everything our body does; breathing, moving, sitting, sleeping and everything else in between. The higher the metabolism runs, the more energy we burn, and the more active our body and brain are. To increase your metabolism, will also improve your athletic performance and help keep you healthier for life.
“Metabolism” is a term for a host of chemical reactions going on inside you every moment of every day. It’s what changes the food you eat and the fuel stores you have into usable energy. It’s what breaks down and rebuilds muscle tissue after a hard run. It’s what keeps you living, breathing, and thinking.
Genetics play an important role in how our metabolism functions, but even people with slower metabolism, it is very efficient to speed up the rate to feel more active and energetic.
Easy Ways to Boost Our Metabolism
Sitting has become a bigger part of our lives especially recently. By not moving and sitting for too long, our metabolism slows down, which can contribute to some health issues. Of course our runs are very beneficent, but to stay active daily will be very helpful. Activities such as walking, walking up the stairs, doing stretches, will activate the body and increase mobility.
To Do: Walk more often, carry some bags, take the stairs instead of the lift, even use a standing desk for your office work.
Get a Good Night Sleep
A lack of sleep can affect the metabolism and slow it down. Sleep deprivation can cause some serious health issues by how it affects the metabolism. Not getting enough sleep can also increase the risk of insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. Not enough sleep can also decrease the fullness hormone leptin and increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Those hormone can affect some high-sugar and high-fat food cravings.
To Do: Get enough sleep during the night, aim for 7-8 hours on a regular sleeping schedule to allow the body to recover and function optimally.
Caffeine has been shown to boost the metabolism by 4-11%. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, even one daily cup of coffee can boost your metabolism by 5-8%. Caffeine has also been shown how it provides extra energy and endurance for runners.
To Do: To consume about 200-300mg of caffeine per day is the recommendation (2-3 cups), but to avoid adding sugar can contribute to some more metabolic benefits.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber is also a great source to boost up the metabolism. Breaking down the fiber, the body expends more energy than with plain refined foods. High-fiber foods decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, supports healthy gut microbes, and reduces inflammation.
To Do: To eat high-fiber healthy foods will make you feel more satisfied and reduce the cravings of unhealthy foods.
- Whole grain pasta
- Sweet potatoes
Eat Enough Protein
Protein is another nutrient that forces the body to burn more energy to digest and process the protein. The body burns twice as much energy to digest protein than high-carb foods. Protein can boost the metabolism rate by an extra 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 1-3% for fat. Protein can help our body feel more satisfied and reduce cravings of processed, high-sugar foods. And for people who perform regular strength training session, to consume enough protein is essential to build up, support and recover the muscles.
To Do: Protein intake timing can make a huge difference, to eat protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner will balance the body and activate the metabolism and provide recovery nutrients.
Perform Strength Training/HIIT Training
Strength and HIIT training are great options to boost up our metabolism. Increasing the muscle mass will make our body burn more energy for the rest of the day. And having more muscle mass will increase the metabolic rate, even while we rest. To perform a 15 minute strength workout will make our body burn 100 extra calories a day for the following 3 days. So when we perform strength workouts and HIIT workouts regularly, at least 3 times per week, the benefits of metabolism boost will be very efficient.
To Do: Include 3 strength/HIIT workouts per week in your regular schedule.
To maintain a regular running training schedule will maintain a higher metabolism. To keep moving and performing cardio exercises, boost up our metabolism quickly, and we can feel a big improvement. To go for a morning run, we feel more energetic and active for the rest of the day. After a morning run, our body and metabolism feel more balanced, so we don’t have as much high-sugar processed food cravings.
To Do: Follow a regular running schedule, Make sure you hydrate and drink enough water and refuel your body with healthy nutrient-dense foods
Foods to Increase the Metabolism
- Protein-Rich Foods: Lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds.
- Iron, Zinc, Selenium-Rich Foods: Lean meat, seafood, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds.
- Spicy Food: Chilli peppers, to eat healthy spicy foods can help increase the metabolism and fat oxidation.
- Metabolism-Boosting Spice: Ginger
- Legumes and Pulses: Lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, peanuts.
- Iodine-Rich Food: Seaweed
- Antioxidant Food: Raw cacao, dark chocolate (85%+).
- MCT: Coconut oil
- Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar
- Caffeine: Coffee, green tea, oolong tea.
- Water: Water can boost up the metabolism by 24-30%. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially when running in hot and humid weather.
Boost Up, Feel Great, Run Strong!