How to turn back the clock on your aging metabolism

You used to be able to eat whatever you wanted but now you can’t even look at a chocolate bar right? You and everyone else! It doesn’t need to be that way.

Your metabolism doesn’t just tank because you’ve gotten a few years older. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, everyone would gain weight, but not everyone does do they? Apparently if you’re not overweight by age 40 it’s unlikely to happen because at that point you just naturally eat less food anyway. (These are averages people!) What happens is that sometime between 20 years old and 30 years old you start to lose muscle. Until that time you are technically still ‘growing’ but then you reach your peak and it all starts to slip away.

Lets not forget the other stuff too, the lifestyle differences between a 25 year old and a 35 year old. A 25 year old tends to have lots of energy and is always doing things with friends and family, forgetting to eat lunch, not bothering with dinner, grabbing a couple of crackers and a banana instead. (WTF?) A 35 year old tends to be more likely to be married with kids. This means you are on a synchronised meal plan with your family. The routine is you come home and eat a big dinner with your family. You don’t even think about whether you want it or not anymore do you? In fact you DO want it, because you expect it.  But are you hungry enough for that big dinner after that big lunch you had?

Back to the muscle loss. Muscle as you know weighs more than fat. It also burns more calories than fat. Only a few per pound but it’s still true. So basically someone who is 70 kg but 15% body fat is burning the same amount of calories a day as someone who is 70 kg and 30% body fat.

155-lbs-before-and-after

Image source

This woman weighs the same in both photos, her maintenance calories per day will be the same at both times in her life except that in the fitter photo she’s obviously working out more so her maintenance calories will be more. So she’s thinner, fitter, older and eating more calories. Granted she’s not eating chocolate bars all day, but she can have one now and then and not worry about gaining weight.

If you don’t do something about it, you will be losing muscle mass every year and replacing that body weight with fat. Then the fat burns fewer calories and you gain more fat. This is the rut we get into as we age if we aren’t careful.

So what do you do about it?

You pick up heavy things. You do squats. You do push ups. You eat chicken and eggs and other proteins. Resistance training and eating enough protein (.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight) are the answers to the aging, declining metabolism issue.

Resistance training resources:

I can recommend any of the New Rules of Lifting books for everyone.

Shape.com’s “Easiest Plan Ever”

Nerd Fitness Beginners Body weight workout

Spark People Full Body Strength Training

Now I’m not going to pretend that I always follow my own advice. I keep meaning to get back to my body weight routine. Maybe publishing this will spur me into action again!

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