I hear it all the time.  After 30 or after 40 your metabolism slows to nothing.  Even my mom will say to me, “You know your metabolism slows down when you get older.  Look at all the exercise that you do and you never lose any weight.” Really?  Are we really doomed after 30? Should we give up after 40?  Well, there may be a grain of truth that the metabolism slows each decade  I always  point out to my mom- that I also eat about 3 times more food than I did in high school, and twice as much as I did my first 2 years of college.  During 2 years in high school I subsisted on no more than 800 calories a day and maybe 1200-1500 my first year in college.  Those calorie numbers doubled  once I started weight training my sophomore in college.  And now 20 years later it seems almost impossible to eat less than 2500 without being hungry.  I eat and eat and eat.  So does that sound like my metabolism is slowing?  Hmmmm?

They say a woman’s metabolism slows by 2% per decade after age 30.  So if the average woman eats 2000 calories a day we’re only talking about 40 calories less you can eat each decade.  That puny decline is caused by loss of muscle that happen as we get older-starting as early as our later twenties- that’s if you’re not weight-training.  If you’re weight training- you can eat as much as you ever did.

Here are a few tips to keep the metabolism churning.

1.) Don’t go too low on calories.  Your body will adapt to the fewer calories every time.  The metabolism will slow to account for the lower calories and as soon as you slip back to a “normal” number of calories you will gain the weight right back and then some.  A smartest way to lose is by a creating a modest 300-500 calorie deficit and adding 300-500 of calorie burning to your daily routine.  And on top of that, include one or 2 days a week where you eat a normal number of calories or have a cheat day.  This will help reset your metabolic furnace and keep the calories burning.

2.) Include plenty of protein

Protein has a thermogenic effect which actually allow you to eat an extra 100 or 200 calories a day.  Protein requires more calories to burn so  include some high quality lean sources of protein with every meal.  plus protein fills you up!

3.) Eat early and frequently

You’ve heard it all your life.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Studies have shown people who eat breakfast tend to lose more weight than breakfast skippers.  A lot of body-builders start eating within an hour of waking up and continue eating every three hours after that.  Others like me prefer to get a work-out first on an empty stomach.  Either way, the first meal of the day definitely revs up your metabolism after not eating for 10-12 hours.  Frequent eating some may argue is not proven to speed the metabolism but if  top competition body-builders over the last 20 years, the leanest athletes on earth, were used as a case study, you’d find that that is exactly how they dieted to get to single digit body-fat levels.

4.) Pump the weights!

The most important thing you can do to rev your metabolism is hit the iron.  Muscle burns nine times more calories than fat.  So the more muscle you build the more calories you require.   The hormonal changes that occur with weight-training are favorable to fat-burning as well as increased metabolism for hours after the fact.

5.) Increase the intensity of your work-outs.

  There is a  growing body of evidence that short intense work-outs and high intensity interval training are superior to extended low to medium intensity work-outs for keeping the calories burning for up for an extra 48hours afterwards.  So work-out smarter not longer and go for that extra push to elevate your heart-rate.

6.) Split your work-outs

If you do your weights in the morning, try doing your cardio in the afternoon or split your cardio in 2 smaller sessions. Each session will rev the metabolism and keep the calorie after burn going longer.

7.) Get your shut eye!

Get 8 hours or more  to maximize your fat-burning and metabolism.  Lack of sleep creates hormonal disruptions that interfere with fat burning an appetite control.  Studies suggest people who run on lack of sleep will eat on average an additional 300 calories and be hungrier than those who have adequate sleep.

8.) Relax!

Stress increases cortisol levels which leads to abdominal fat which is considered the most dangerous.  The best way to eliminate excess cortisol is eliminate stress.  And if you’re already working out with weights you’re probably doing a good job already!

There are other suggestions I could put out there but these are the most important and significant ways to keep your metabolism stoked well into your thirties, forties, and beyond.  Hope you put them to use!