age metabolism

The Metabolism Fallacy: Why Your Age Has Less to do with Your Metabolism than You Think

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’ve probably heard the line “your metabolism slows down as you get older”. Maybe you’ve even said yourself “I have this extra weight because my metabolism is slow”.

And, I’m glad to say, to some extent, you’re right. As you age, the body naturally wants to slow down in many ways. It wants to slow down your metabolism, take away your muscles, stiffen up your joints and put a choke-hold on your brain.

So, yes, your metabolism does naturally slow down as you age…however…

I’m also here to tell you that your age does not have as big of an impact on your slowing metabolism as you would like to think. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at what metabolism actually means.

What in the World is Your Metabolism Anyway?!?

The metabolism sounds like some mythical creature living deep inside of us, considering the way we talk about it. But, truly, it’s much simpler than doctors, talk show hosts and other “health experts” make it out to be.

Your metabolism simply makes up all the processes that help you produce energy. When I say “produce energy” think “burning calories”. We all like burning calories, right? 

Well, when your metabolism is working efficiently and effectively, it BURNS calories like a champ. When it’s not working so well (I.E. when it slows down “because of age”), it STORES calories like a champ.

Here’s an easy way to understand your metabolism…generally speaking, when someone says “my metabolism is slowing down because of my age”, what they’re referring to is their Resting Metabolic Rate, or RMR for short (I’ll use Metabolism and RMR interchangeably from now on).

Your RMR is the amount of energy (calories) you burn at rest. For instance, let’s say you spent all weekend laying on the couch, binge watching House of Cards. The amount of energy (calories) you burned laying around would be your RMR.

RMR is important because this energy production makes up the bulk of your calorie burn throughout the day. Yes, of course, exercise and movement burn calories. But your RMR makes up the biggest proportion of energy burn. On average, RMR accounts for fully 60-65% of your daily calorie burn.

Maximizing Your Metabolism for Calorie Burn

So, if RMR makes up 60-65% of the calories that you burn throughout the day, then wouldn’t it make sense to figure out what you can do to maximize that calorie burn as much as possible?

Of course it would. And here’s where we’ll have to bust some myths of aging and metabolism to help you start to believe that you can make progress towards your goals again.

When it comes to increasing your RMR, there are 2 views that you should be looking at:

#1) The short-term view

#2) The long-term view

Most people spend most of their time viewing metabolism through the short-term view. For instance, you can start to improve your RMR today by moving more, exercising, taking supplements, changing your nutrition and on and on. 

But you know this because you’ve probably fallen into the short-term trap before. If you look at the health & fitness industry as whole, they feed off of your need and desire for short-term results. Think about it. How many times have you seen ads for things like:

6 pack abs in 6 weeks or less

Cleanse your body of 10lbs in 10 days

Lose 20lbs in 4 weeks on the grape fruit diet

A lean, tone body in 8 weeks with no effort needed

The number of products available that promise these types of results are endless. Most people view regular movement and daily exercise as a burden because…well…it requires effort. 

And the fitness industry advertisers understand this. Which is why these products are marketed as “quick fix” products and not “put a bunch of effort in so you can improve yourself for the long term” products.

The ONLY Way to Develop a Healthy, Thriving Metabolism for the Long-term

The next logical question, then, is “What do I need to do to increase my RMR so I’m burning more calories for the long-term?!?”.

Which is a great question, BTW…

Now, while there are many ways to boost your RMR in the short-term (and you should try some of these to see if they will work for you for now. Just remember, the goal is to start to shift your mindset to a growth, long-term mindset), there is only ONE way to increase your metabolism in a sustainable, long-term fashion.

And the only way you can start to burn more calories on a regular basis is by building lean mass, AKA, muscle!

And the ONLY way to build muscle effectively is by resistance training.

Let’s unpack this a little bit. First, the reason why you have to build muscle to develop a strong metabolism is because muscle is active. Meaning, when your resting the muscle on your body is working hard to burn calories.

Fat, on the other hand, is not active. Fat is simply stored energy. Which is why it’s important to work hard to have more muscle on your body in proportion to the amount of fat on your body.

Which leads us to resistance training. Many people, especially women, think the lifting weights is going to make them big and bulky. And, understandably, most women don’t want to have big, bulky muscles.

The good news is, although the point of lifting weights is to build muscle, women are not able to naturally build bulky muscles because they lack the hormones needed to do so. The women that you envision with big bulky muscles are likely “enhancing” their results with outside help (if you know what I mean).

So, my challenge to you is simple: start to shift your mindset from short-term thinking to long-term thinking. Make your LONGEVITY a priority. You and I both know that the short-term thinking you’ve had so far has gotten nowhere. But, luckily, you can change that TODAY and start building toward a stronger better you for tomorrow!

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