Tuesday, 20 November 2012

10 Ways to raise your Metabolism

      1) Lifting Weights

Training with weights boosts your metabolism in a number of ways. Weight training itself has been shown to increase exercise post oxygen consumption which means your metabolism may be raised for hours or even days after the session. 

As we know weight training is also the main way to stimulate the growth of muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, so it requires calories even when at rest. Muscle tissue also helps increase the number of fat-burning enzymes in your body.

2) Don’t Avoid Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are involved in the manufacture of hormones and repair of cell membranes in your body. With the right types of fats, your body can use these anabolically. These processes require energy, so the fats may actually increase your metabolism despite the added calories you are consuming! You can add fats to your diet without increasing calories simply by increasing the percentage of calories from fats and then lowering the percentage of calories from carbohydrates or protein.

3) Little Things Can Make a Difference

Believe it or not, simply changing some simple daily habits can have a huge impact on your metabolism. Try something simple like parking further away from your destination and walking there. Little extra efforts each day will increase your body’s energy and stamina.

Other activities that help boost your metabolism include standing instead of sitting, taking stairs instead of elevators, and even fidgeting!

4) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Using the right types of carbohydrates can be a valuable tool for your metabolism.

For example, you may expend more calories consuming 20 grams of carbohydrate from lentils than 20 grams of carbohydrate from sugar. The lentils contain fibre and other nutrients that the body must work to extract, and therefore expends more energy. Look for fibrous, low-glycemic carbs and focus on unprocessed carbohydrates.

5) Fluctuating calorie Intake

Zigzagging calories is by far one of the most effective methods for keeping your metabolism revved. Homeostasis is the action your body takes to “remain stable.” In other words, if you drop your calories, your body will try to slow your metabolism in order to keep things the same. By zigzagging calories, you may be able to prevent this mechanism.

Try zigzagging your calories day by day, so if your target is 2000, consume 1800 one day and then 2200 the next. You can also do this week by week.

6) Higher  Protein Intake

Protein requires a complex chemical conversion by your body in order to be used as fuel. It takes up to 30% of the calories you consume to use protein for energy.For example, 100 calories of protein may take up to 30 calories to process. Therefore, increasing the percentage of calories in your diet that come from protein may help raise your metabolism.

7) High Intensity Cardio

High intensity cardio, like weight training, takes you into the anaerobic zone of training. This creates what is known as “oxygen debt.” Even when you have concluded your exercise, the body is processing waste and recovering from the activity, helping to keep your metabolism high.

8) Eating Small Amounts More Often

Most bodybuilders are aware of this technique. Consuming food triggers digestion, and digestion requires calories. By eating smaller meals more frequently you continuously supply your body with nutrients while forcing it to digest and break down the foods. This will help to raise your metabolism.

9) Eat Whole Foods

The calories that you burn during digestion are due to the need for your body to break down the foods. When foods are processed, much of this work is done for you. For example, processed flour is ground into small pieces that the body can digest more quickly. This means your blood sugar rises faster and your body expends fewer calories processing the flour. Whole grains, on the other hand, pack more nutrients, are higher in fibre, and force the body to work harder to use them as energy.

10) Drinking Cold Water

Your body will expend more calories trying to raise cold water to the temperature of your body, but the exact amount is debatable. However, it makes sense that integrating this habit with the other habits listed above can contribute to the greater goal of raising your metabolism.

Look out for my next blog:  Weight Training for Beginners

Rich Palmer PT
“making your fitness goals a reality”

Saturday, 10 November 2012

NUTRITION: Micro-nutrients explained

Micro-nutrients are different from macro-nutrients because they are necessary only in very tiny amounts. However, micro-nutrients are essential for good health, and micro-nutrient deficiencies can cause serious health problems. Micro-nutrients are necessary for the healthy functioning of all your body's systems, from bone growth to brain function.
Micro-nutrients and their role
Micro-nutrients are what are commonly referred to as "vitamins and minerals." Micro-nutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.
As mentioned, micronutrients are different from macronutrients as your body needs only very small quantities of them for survival. However, if your body doesn't get the small quantities of micronutrients that it requires, serious health problems can result.
Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body's systems. Sodium, for example, is responsible for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body; it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate appropriate pH levels in your blood. Here are some of the ways that other micronutrients help maintain your body's systems:
  • Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolize the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat.
  • Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolisation of the micronutrients calcium and vitamin C.
  • Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and lymphocytes.
  • Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body to metabolize fats, and promotes energy production and growth.
  • Chloride helps regulate water and electrolytes within your cells, as well as helping to maintain appropriate cellular pH.
Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals
Getting enough micronutrients in your diet isn't hard. Eat a balanced diet including plenty of nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, like red cherries, purple grapes, yellow bananas and orange carrots. The more colourful your diet is the better.
It's easy to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat fruit salads for dessert instead of sweets. Prepare your own homemade soups and salads, and include two or more vegetable side dishes with each meal.
Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders
Micronutrient deficiency can lead to some serious health problems. Here are some of the most common micronutrient deficiencies:
  • ·         Iodine deficiency is the world's foremost cause of brain damage. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in stillbirth, miscarriage and irreversible mental retardation. Fortunately, it's easily prevented by the use of iodized salt.
  • ·         Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children; in pregnant women it can cause night blindness and increases maternal mortality rates.
  • ·         Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world. Over 30% of the world's population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.

Remember, try to ingest the proper amount of micronutrients to ensure optimal health and prevent deficiency disorders!

Look out for my next blog: 10 Ways to raise your Metabolism

Rich Palmer PT
Personal Trainer Services Sutton Coldfield
“making your fitness goals a reality

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUTRITION: Macro-nutrients explained


Macro-nutrients are the nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macro-nutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three types of macro-nutrients:

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Fat

While each of these macro-nutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies:

Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

This means that if you looked at the Nutrition Facts label of a product and it said 12 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per serving, you would know that this food has about 48 calories per serving (12 grams carbohydrate multiplied by 4 calories for each gram of carbohydrate = 48 calories).

Besides carbohydrate, protein, and fat the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, is not a macro-nutrient because we do not need it for survival.


Carbohydrates are the macro-nutrient that we need in the largest amounts. The general opinion is that between 45% and 65% of calories should come from carbohydrates. Why we need carbohydrates in our diet:

·         Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain and the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
  • Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

Fibre refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact and help to move waste out of the body. Diets that are low in fibre have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and heamorrhoids and to increase the risk for certain types of cancers such as colon cancer. Diets high in fibre; however, have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fibre include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.


The general opinion is that between 10% and 35% of calories should come from protein. We need protein for the following reasons:

  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
  • Preserving lean muscle mass

Protein is found in meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and in smaller quantities in starchy foods and vegetables.

When we eat these types of foods, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need. Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids.


Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat is essential for survival. The general opinion is that between 20% and 35% of calories should come from fat. We need fat in our diet  for:

  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
  • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintaining cell membranes
  • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarine's  oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings. There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, lard, and cream) and trans fat (found in baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, and margarine's  have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease. Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat (found in foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and canola oil) has been shown decrease the risk of developing heart disease.

Although macro-nutrients are very important they are not the only things that we need for survival. Our bodies also need water (6-8 glasses a day) and micro-nutrients  Micro-nutrients are nutrients that our bodies need in smaller amounts, and include vitamins and minerals.

Look out for my next blog: Nutrition: Micro-nutrients explained

Rich Palmer PT
Personal Training Sutton Coldfield
“making your fitness goals a reality”