Gone were the days when you can wolf down a Big Mac, upsize, and an ice cream cone after without a second thought. Now, you’re surviving on salad and still struggling to shed those extra pounds. Why? No, really. WHY???
According to the American Council on Exercise, your basal metabolic rate drops roughly 1 ~ 2% per decade. But don’t be so quick with blaming it on your age and metabolism rate! In fact, your office job and sedentary lifestyle probably have more to do with your weight gain than anything else.
Yes, your metabolism does slow down as you age
That is because you tend to lose a bit of muscle mass when you grow older. Simply put, a 50 year old individual is never going to have as much muscle mass as a 20 year old person even with the same workout and diet plans. Older people also tend to carry more fat.
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But there’s no reason why you can’t be old and still look incredible
Let me stop you right there before you use your age as an excuse to let yourself go!
There are all sorts of theories online on how to maintain your metabolism, such as eating hot peppers, drinking green tea, and skipping meals; but there’s really only one way: Preserve and gain lean muscle mass through exercise.
Maintain metabolism by strength training
To be technical, it’s not just exercising; to combat the loss of lean mass and keep your metabolism revved, you really have to turn to strength training. Strength training can help you build muscle and produce more human growth hormone, both of which keep your metabolism running as fast as (or faster than) it did when you were 20!
According to research from the Harvard School of Public Health, people who lift weights put on less belly fat as they age as compared to the cardio bunnies. While any exercise will help you burn calories while you’re at the gym, only strength training gives your metabolism the biggest boost after your workout ends.
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Eventually you may have to cut down on calories (just a lil bit)
Once you hit your 40’s, your levels of estrogen, progesterone, and (again) human growth hormone decrease. So naturally and unfortunately, your metabolism takes a toll. When that happens, working out alone may not do the job — you would have to reduce your caloric intake (about 200 cal/ day) in order to maintain your weight. If you want more details, click here for a very helpful summary table of recommended calories intake according to age and gender.
You are gaining weight by eating less, not because you’re getting older, but because you’re not hitting the gym enough. (Admit it!) When you’re at the gym, don’t just go for the treadmill, but pair it with some weight lifting. Let’s start building lean muscles now and be fabulous later! 😉