We have all been there. We eat whatever we want and in what quantity we want and see little change in our weight. Then suddenly it happens. That donut, bag of chips or piece of pizza turns into fat and is stored in places that make fitting into those skinny jeans a nearly impossible task.
While packing on the pounds happens to a lot of people at different ages, one of the drivers in weight gain is the aging process that sees a slowing down in metabolism. Ever wonder why the metabolism slows down after age 30? Muscle mass or a reduction there in, and the way we eat controls the metabolism speed that invites fat to the party.
Strength training has often been associated with maintaining and increasing bone density, Runner's Fuel founder and nutritionist Rebecca Turner says building and maintaining muscle mass should be a priority to address a slowing metabolism.
"Lean muscle is the furnace in which calories are burned and energy is stored," Turner said. "Without adequate muscle, weight loss or maintenance is impossible and fatigue or exhaustion is inevitable."
While many people can increase cardio based activity as a way to kick start their metabolism, as one ages, strength training in addition to cardio workouts is increasingly important. Adding more resistance exercise and using all muscle groups’ works better to re-engage a lagging metabolism.
This combination of resistance or strength training with cardio focused exercise engages the muscles more often and in different ways which leads to increased strength, fitness and a higher metabolism.
Studies show that adults lose ½ to 1 percent of muscle mass every year starting in their 30s, Turner said, and muscle strength declines by 12 to 15 percent per decade. The danger is the lack of perception of the effect to one’s body until a deep fitness and muscle loss hole has been dug.
The good news is the body is resilient will respond favorably to stimulus to improve muscle mass and re-ignite your metabolism. Turner provides some tips to get you back on the path to having the body you want.
Focus on whole foods and protein
Proteins are the only nutrient capable of creating or reserving muscle mass. Eat a variety of protein-rich foods each day like seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry, low-fat dairy foods and eggs. Veggies such as kale and spinach help raise the metabolism and prevent inflammation.
Eat omega-3 fats
Researchers suggest essential fatty acids boost everything from heart health to mood. Now omega-3s are getting praised for sparing muscle due to their anti-inflammatory skills Foods like salmon, walnuts and omega-3 enriched eggs provide these essential fats plus protein.
Resistance train often
Resistance training (weights, push-ups, lunges or Pilates) actually builds muscle and prevents it from vanishing. Experts recommend 20-30 minutes of intense resistance training two to three times per week.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.