Busted! 2 trendy untruths on how to speed up your metabolism.

Untruth #1 Gain muscle and you’ll speed up your metabolism

You’ve all heard this fitness lore – just work out and get lots of muscle. You’ll burn hundreds more calories. Even when resting.

Oh, really?

Can you imagine? We’d just have to up our weights sessions and after a couple of months we’d be lean, mean, fat-burning machines. Some people have even said that for every half kilo of muscle you put on you’ll burn an extra 50 calories a day. This means that if you worked out hard – and we mean very hard (because putting on muscle takes a lot of work) – and you managed to put on around 4 kg of muscle, you’d be burning next to 500 cals every day.

That’s around one and a half pieces of chocolate cake, or more than three glasses of wine burned every day, courtesy of your new, buff bod.

It’s a beautiful fantasy. And magazines love to sell us fantasies, especially ones about how to speed up your metabolism!

Extra muscle does burn a few extra calories, but not a lot. According to obesity researcher Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, “Lean muscle only accounts for 20 to 25% of resting metabolic rate.” Muscles have a low resting metabolic rate. The truth is, approximately every half kilo of muscle burns around six extra calories a day – a far cry from 50.

Essentially, if you put on approximately 4 kg of muscle, you’ll be able to burn up to 60 cals a day while you stretch back on the couch and watch another cooking show on the telly or Facebook your friends. That’s equivalent to one small apple. Sure, it’s something. But it may not be the answer to your prayers.

Unfortunately, there is no magical solution that will crazily speed up your metabolism while sleeping or lying on the couch. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your weight loss goals. It just means you have to stop reading the headlines about miracle methods on how to get a fast metabolism.

These type of secrets are aimed at lazy people. Secrets that aren’t even true. It’s fantasy. So if you’re trying to lose weight, best you don’t take it seriously.

Untruth #2 HIIT will increase your metabolism

This myth is another real disappointment, because, for a lot of us, it totally got our hopes up! Finally – a way to work out quickly with lasting results!

Interval training is a wonderful tool, and it can do great things for fitness levels, but it won’t increase your metabolism for several hours after each workout.

There are many studies that debunk this myth. In fact, at the University of South Australia, researchers found that after intense activity the extra calories burned were somewhere between six and 15%. That’s still some difference, but it’s not dramatic. Unfortunately too, as you get in even better shape, the percentage of calories burned post-workout are even smaller.

Good news: THIS is how to speed up your metabolism

Okay, so we know that focusing on your resting metabolic rate (RMR) isn’t the best strategy. But the good news is that if you get moving, you will increase your metabolic rate.

Go for a walk. Ride a bike, clean the car, do an exercise class. Because the more you move, the more calories you burn. That’s much more interesting than try to work out magical methods for boosting your resting metabolic rate.

Start exercising more and you will burn more calories, thus boosting your metabolism.

Finally, here’s an extra untruth you can forget about. Save your money and forget the diet pills. They won’t melt away the kilos overnight. Most of these contain caffeine of some description and will overstimulate you. Also, they don’t really help you lose much weight.

Keep your money in your pocket. You’ll appreciate the extra dollars. For most of us, the fact that we enjoy a little extra money in our pocket is one truth that will never change.

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Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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