Let me tell you a story. Long ago when I was 18, I was in the gym wearing my super tight vest, (I still wear them) my portable CD player was blasting NOW 32 and I was squeezing out my 400th bicep curl of the week. Generally I was a bad ass. I had so much gel in my hair it didn’t move a millimetre, despite me rocking back and forth like a nut case with horrific technique to complete rep number 401. I was breathing heavy, I was sweating, I felt so cool I didn’t even bother training the back of my arm (tricep) that day. I always had a mindset of, if you don’t see it in the mirror then why bother working it out? It just made no sense why I should do things to balance my body out, and improve my ape like posture. How silly I was.
Always Listen to Your Elders.
As I was leaving the gym that day, an older guy who used to give me and other people ‘solid’ advice came over and with a pat on the back said:
- “Looking good kid, enjoy it while you can because you won’t be able to do that when you are my age.”
- My response: “Do what?”
- Him: “ You won’t be able to stay that lean when you get to my age, it all slows down.”
- Me: Looking confused and still listening to NOW 32 in one ear.
- Him: “ I remember when I was your age, I could eat what ever I wanted and get away with it. But your metabolism slows down and that’s it then.”
Holy S**t, this guy was telling me when I get to about 45 like him, I just get fat? And there is nothing I can do?! This guy wore a t- shirt with his name on it and worked in the gym, he must know his stuff right? Despite me putting all this effort in now I’m destined to be overweight once my “metabolism slows down?”
I had to find out more, as I walked out I asked another guy who was a similar age the same question. His response was one of agreement, but he patted his over weight belly while he answered, almost to double confirm that your metabolism is something we are all destined to lose, while a bigger waistline is something we will all gain. Although looking back he was eating a sausage roll, maybe that didn’t help him.
Fortunately after 15 years of studying I have found out this in fact is a complete load of rubbish. At the age of 32 my metabolism is not looking or feeling slower, and my ability to lose weight is no way harder. I am currently working with 10 people over 50, and all of them lose at least 2lb of body fat a week. Over the last 10 years of Personal Training I have worked with hundreds of people all ages who have successfully lost weight and kept it off. They have all sucessfully INCREASED their metabolism.
The Metabolism Secret?
It is true that our bodies deteriorate with age, physically and hormonally, which can lead to a slower metabolism. This doesn’t mean though, that we have to let this make us fat. All of the above clients have transformed their bodies and reduced body fat by sticking to the same formula. One of the things I hear the most is when a client over 40, 50 or 60 say something like: “I’d love to lose a stone but I know that’s not realistic at my age”. So logically, lets think about that. You think that your body won’t give up body fat because of a slow metabolism and your age? What if you went without food for a month, you wouldn't starve to death? Trust me, your body will burn body fat, the fact people don’t like is that you have to MAKE it burn body fat. But that is true wether you are 18 or 90, you have to do certain things that enable your body to burn calories and burn fat. If you do the right things you can have a metabolism that was way better than the one you had when you were 18.
The main reason most of us get bigger as we get older is simple. We sit more at our desks, we become more dedicated to Netflix box sets and we have a car that will take us everywhere we want to go. Obviously, this is no longer swinging from trees and playing kiss chase like we did back then, so we can only expect to burn less calories. That’s right, everyone else thought it was weird when i suggested playing kiss chase at 18 years old too. All this lack of activity leads to another important factor of metabolism; muscle loss. It is thought people lose around 5 to 10 pound of muscle in each decade of life. Muscle is active all the time, in other words it requires calories (energy) to maintain what it is. Obviously if it wastes away that is another big factor which will encourage our ‘slow’ metabolism. So why does our muscle waste away? Mainly because we aren’t using it! Life gets busier so we exercise less, but the truth is we can prevent a slow metabolism and even better speed it up.
3 ways in which you can boost yours:
1. Build muscle - I hope you are all bored of me going on about lifting weights. The advantage of doing so is HUGE! Have a gym program developed for you which is specific to that goal. BUILDING MUSCLE EFFICIENCY! Stop doing sit ups and walking up a hill on a treadmill and get a serious workout done. Lift weights, speed up your metabolism, it’s simple. You won't end up bulky, but you will improve the muscle you have to burn calories better.
2. Lift big, Lift heavy, Burn calories for longer - If you don’t know how to do this then seek help. The bigger the exercise (squat, deadlift etc.) the more the metabolic rate is increased. This effect can last way after you have finished training, so minimal curls, maximal pull ups.
3. Don't do Silly Diets - Hormonally, lots of things happen when we exercise and modify our diets. If you are constantly doing diets that involve drinking liquid cabbage while standing on your head, chances are you are reducing calories a lot and playing with these hormones. Chances are there is no lasting damage from doing them but it's just not good for your body. If you make changes they should be progressive.
So to conclude, your metabolism does slow down with age. But don't use that as an excuse, there are loads of things you can do to help boost yours through the roof. Mainly exercise and diet!
If you would like help boosting your metabolism or changing your body shape then you can contact me right here: Chris@bodytransformation.co.uk