Ray Burton: As you get over 40, your metabolism starts to slow. It was never a problem for me before so I didn’t look into it much. But now I’m 43, and as I started research on how to boost metabolism, I realized it is a huge topic and that a lot of people want to speed up their slowing metabolisms.
So what we’re going to do today is cover how to boost metabolism, sculpt your body, burn off body fat, develop unstoppable motivation and much, much more over this and the next few posts.
I’m Ray Burton, author of “Begin At The Gym,” which is your complete blueprint to starting from scratch with the goal of losing weight and building muscle with no prior training experience.
However, in this series of articles, I’m going to answer specific questions submitted via e-mail in response to when I asked my readers what they wanted answered about how to boost metabolism so you can sculpt your body, burn off body fat and develop a lean muscular physique.
Basal Metabolic Rate – before we talk about how to speed up your metabolism, we need to talk about your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
BMR is used interchangeably with Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE) most times. All we care about is that your Basal Metabolic Rate is where we start fiddling with calorie intake if you are a numbers type of person. If you are not a numbers type person for dieting, then there is more on how to do that later.
For now, you need to know this if you plan to boost metabolism by the numbers.
First step – losing fat and maintaining your muscle is the key to looking good. So you need to take in less calories than you currently are, but not so many that you lose muscle. Your protein intake and resistance training will maintain your muscle, but we’ll get into that in a different section.
For now we need to figure out just how many calories it takes to achieve this. Use the Harris benedict equation for BMR that I have provided a link to or you can do it the manual way if you’re a geek at heart. This is the equation that most registered dieticians use.
Harris benedict equation
• Convert your weight from pounds to kilograms. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. For example: 190 lb / 2.2 = 86.3 kg;
• Convert your height from inches to centimeters. Take your height in inches and multiply it by 2.54. For example: 58 in. x 2.54 = 147.32 cm.
Listed below are the equations, for both men and women, in order to calculate your Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE). Your BEE is the amount of energy you need in order to maintain your weight at bed rest or no activity. Therefore, your BEE is also used as the standard for your total calories needed when you are active and want to lose weight because the activity will cause the calorie deficiency needed.
66 + [13.7 x (weight in kg)] + [5.0 x (height in cm)] – [6.8 x (age in yrs)] = BEE (in calories);
655 + [9.6 x (weight in kg)] + [1.8 x (height in cm)] – [4.7 x (age in yrs)] = BEE (in calories)
Now onto how to boost metabolism…
How To Boost Metabolism – The Q&A
The first question is from Lisa. I’m just going to read these out as they were put in. If they seem weird, such is the nature of questions that are submitted.
Lisa: How do I get truly lean and mean?
Answer: You work out and you watch what you eat, and you know what? There’s not much else I can say to a question like that, because it’s so vague and general, because I don’t know your weight, I don’t know your activity level and I don’t know what you’ve been eating. The first thing, if you’ve never done a thing in your life is to get active and then start looking at what you’re eating and as vague as that seems, that’s the good answer to that one.
Having said that, you need action steps. For getting active from a completely non-active state, I recommend daily walks. As soon as possible after starting that, I would incorporate a very short yoga flow every three days. Perhaps just 5 sun salutations. I find at this point, people generally want to start doing more. If that’s the case, it’s time to pursue a movement practice that gets you fired up. Could be anything from yoga, to weightlifting to rock climbing.
For eating, start with eating at least a salad a day and paying attention to what foods you eat that have sugar in them. Cut back on those sugary foods and eat more real food.
The next question from Pammy; this one’s a little bit more in-depth.
Question: If I’m doing high-intensity workouts five to six days per week, can I keep my [calorie] intake around 1,500 initially to jumpstart and then ramp up the number of calories as needed? I’m doing your workouts plus Insanity and their plan says I should be eating around 2,000 calories per day, but I find it to be a lot of food to eat.
Answer: That’s pretty normal, that kind of question. You can go into a deep caloric deficit very short-term just for a jumpstart, but the longer you stay down there, the more muscle you’re going to sacrifice. It will only work for a limited amount of time before everything starts to shut down. Having said that, one good way to go about that is to go to your proper level of calories and keep zigzagging, so if you have the proper level of calories one day, but then drop down low the next and then come up to where you’re supposed to be the next day. Or do two low calorie days, then one up. Any configuration of that sort so that you’re always circling around your optimum caloric intake.
As far as whether you should be eating 2,000 calories per day or not, that’s really hard for me to say, because again, it depends on activity level and leanness factor, for lack of a better description. Someone that’s really obese and someone that’s really lean have different needs and I don’t know what calculator you used, but I do know that the Insanity program is pretty good and I would probably say that they’re close to the ballpark. Of course, I can’t attest to that, but for you saying that it’s a lot of food to eat in a day, that is what 98% of the people out there say when they start eating whole foods in the proper amounts.
As soon as they start eating correctly they tell me, “This is a lot of food to eat.” So even if they find it a lot, if you want some really good results, you just have to buckle down and do what’s necessary. How you’ve learned what to eat so far in your life might not be how you should be eating to attain your present goals, so it’s going to take some time to change.
Question: I have heard that a slow, but long walk, 10km-ish is as effective for fat burning as high intensity cardio; is this true?
Answer: Answering this question is like writing a research paper. Is it as effective for fat burning; let’s quantify that. Yes, it is, but we have to put time in there, the amount of time spent exercising to the amount of calories burnt. When you say, “Is a long and slow walk as effective for fat burning as high intense cardio, you’re talking about the fuel that’s burned. Are you burning fat or are you burning glycogen, so in that aspect of the equation or the question I would say yes, maybe even more so, because the percentage of fuel that comes from the oxidization of fat is on par or more. However, if you’re looking at the overall grand scheme of things, it’d be a different thing. If you burned 100% only fat and you only burned 50 calories walking slow, but you burned 1,000 calories in high-intensity cardio, you would lose more weight doing a high intensity cardio.
What you have to take into account is at the end of your cardio for that day, how many calories did you burn and how did it affect your system? That’s the more important factor. If you go for a long, slow walk for 10km and you end up burning, say, 400-500 calories based on your body weight or whatever and you did high intensity cardio for, say, 20 minutes and burned 200 calories, then the long, slow walk was better for you on that day. There are a lot more variables in there as far as, say, the high-intensity cardio workout may be causing muscular growth and stuff like that and the hormonal responses are much different between the two, but at the end of the day the easiest way to answer that question is to say the cardio that’s best for you is the cardio first, that you’ll do and second, the one that allows you to burn the most calories if you’re after fat loss. Good enough.
A lot of people get into the argument of which is better for results, then they talk about the hormonal responses and percentages of whether you’re burning fat or whether you’re burning sugars and so on and so forth and they forget about the fact that at the end of the day, you just want to create a deficit in order to lose weight or fat. Let’s move on to the next question.
That’s it for this article. Share your thoughts and questions below and I’ll send out an email when the next article in this series is ready. You can sign up for email notifications here: About Ray