Fitness Friday #3: Fire It Up!

This week I REALLY wanted to address more of the psychology of fitness, but I think I will wait on that. But I will tell you another mantra I have come up with about that. First, though, what was our mantra from last week? That’s right – ANYTHING is better than nothing!! Another mantra is: You won’t take care of what you don’t love. So many of us try to beat or shame our bodies into a condition so that we will THEN love our bodies. Truth is: you won’t take care of anything you don’t love, no matter its shape. Those that know me are saying, “Now there’s the pot calling the kettle black.” No doubt, I have trouble appreciating the physical house the Lord blessed me with – our society constantly bombards us with messages that tell us that a not-very-tall, somewhat lumpy, thirty-something with crow’s feet isn’t a valuable being, and I do have trouble not listening to that. But, at its most basic, my body can: walk across a floor, see the computer screen in front of me, hug each of my family members with both arms… and on it goes. I am a blessed woman and I have to consciously listen to everything I tell myself – being sure that I don’t use any words (thoughts) to myself that I wouldn’t use to anyone else that I love.

Okay, that was longer than I intended. Moving on.

Metabolism: love it or hate it. That mystery process we all have. I looked up definitions for you, but let me put it in Sarah-terms: metabolism is simply the energy required to keep your body working – breathing, digesting, growing hair and fingernails, etc. In fitness we generally think of it as “rate that calories are burned” and metabolism does have a direct affect on that rate (at this point I’m almost paralyzed with the knowledge that pretty much anyone who really knows anything about metabolism will easily correct my usage and definitions. keep in mind I said up-front I have a cursory knowledge of all of this.) So, many of us are only concerned with metabolism from the standpoint that we want to “speed it up” and burn off that chocolate cake before it settles in for a long winter’s nap on our hips.

Truthfully, as I understand it, the number one determiner of your own metabolism is genetics. You get what you get. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you have to give up and go for chips and queso and be done. There are several things you can do to help out what you’ve been born with.

Many of you have heard that increasing muscle mass is a great way to boost metabolism. Of all of the things I am going to point out here, that takes the longest to establish/ develop, but it also has the most lasting effects. I don’t mean to bulk up and/ or compete at weight-lifting to increase muscle mass. One way to increase muscle mass (percentage) is to simply lose fat. But to tone and add to your own muscle mass, you will need to do some resistance exercises. Another time I will give you some specifics on what you can do. (hand weights on sale at Target this week! :-)

Eating fires up your metabolism. Yes, this one is a fine line! That is why many diets and programs encourage you to eat every 2-3 hours. Not only does it keep you from getting so hungry that you make poor food choices, but it also kicks in your metabolism.

Exercise fires up your metabolism. (I know, “Duh!”) Again, this is where ANYTHING is better than nothing. A slow 10-20 minute walk around the block will fire up your metabolism for as much as another 30 minutes after exercise. That is why a walk after dinner is a good idea: you’re double-burning!

I have read one study that said that getting enough sleep fires up your metabolism (Dad, sorry – you should have quit reading on this one. I think he last slept through the night when he was 7). The study suggested anything over 8 hours – I know, none of us are doing that. That also suggests one of the many reasons we, as a nation, are constantly getting fatter: we average about 6.5 hours sleep/ night (says the lady watching the clock tick later and later while she blogs). It makes sense though – think of how sluggish you feel when you don’t sleep well. Evidently, all of your cells feel the same way and don’t want to work at their normal speed!

Caffeine speeds up your metabolism, but this is also a fine line. For instance, one study said that people who drink 2 cups of coffee/ day burn a whole 50 calories/ day more than those who don’t. 50 calories, seriously? First, I easily put 200 calories worth of cream in my coffee, also it’s a diuretic (making you lose all of that precious water you’re guzzling). For me, the best bet for caffeine is to have a little before you exercise: that way you are doing the double-burn AND it leads to a more effective workout (different study, but true and logical).

Another study suggests that drinking 8-oz. of water kicks up your metabolism temporarily, but I have heard this one greatly disputed. But, I figure you need to be drinking the water anyway and if the study happens to be right – even better!

Again, I’ve gone way too long!! Remember:
ANYTHING is better than nothing and
You won’t take care of anything you don’t love.

Everybody have a great and fit week – or just try not to go completely insane inside the house!


laura a. said...

Blogging at 6:23 a.m.? I'm impressed. Anyway, #1. I did a running workout 3x and did Body Pump 2x for the 2nd week in a row. I have also cut out most sugar and refined carbs, loaded up on fiber, fruits and vegetables,and healthy fats in moderation. All this has left me 3 pounds heavier and constipated. #2. Your comment about not taking care of something we don't love and shaming our bodies into submission so that we will love it when...OUCH! but definitely something I need to hear. So, I offered up a prayer for the ability to love my body. Thanks again.

Ashleigh said...

Great motivating post! (Coming from the girl who just came home from eating chocolate cake and ice cream with her hubby on a "date"...) I needed that first "loving" part. I know I frustrate those closest to me (read:DH and mom) by my constant complaining about what I don't like. Not good. Thanks a bunch... now I'm in the mood for a run. :grin:

Design by Deluxe Designs