Did you notice that many people who arrive to Qatar gain weight? I can easily come up with examples of the people I met who arrived to Doha and within first 12-24 months managed put on extra 5-10kg. Have you asked yourself what is the cause? I came to a conclusion that most of those people had a slow metabolic rate, but is this the root cause? If it our metabolism that we need to blame?
Many of us have busy lives, work and family commitments take up big part of the day, but definitely not all of it. Slow metabolic rate means that you burn little calories, while fast metabolic rate is the opposite – more calories burned. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is how many calories are burned at rest by your body for its daily functioning. And this figure doesn’t fluctuate too much from person to person of a same dimensions. Another component that will not have a very substantial variation in a calorie burning effect on your body is Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), which is the number of calories burned to digest food. But a quick point to mention here is that it takes almost twice as many calories to breakdown protein than carbohydrate or fat. But what will give you a substantial difference in daily calorie expenditure is daily exercise and non-exercise activities.
These two factors will hugely contribute to your metabolism, either positively or negatively.
• Exercise activities are those which are planned and including weight training, cardiovascular, etc.
• Non-exercise activities are those which are not planned, going grocery shopping, walking the dog, etc.
We have previously cover quite a lot about exercise activities ( please refer to previous post for details on muscle groups, type of exercises, repetition ranges, frequency of exercising, etc), therefore we won’t cover this area in this article and instead we will focus on non-exercising activities.
This is where genetics will come into play. Some people will burn more calories doing the same daily activities as you are and there is nothing you can do about it. But what you can do is to ensure you are active throughout the day. It is not good to workout for an hour a day and do nothing or sit for the rest of your day. It counts what you do thought out the day. Perhaps, it is not your slow metabolism perhaps it is just that you need to move around more than you do. General lifestyle in Qatar is quite sedentary due to many factors including the hot climate and a lack of waking streets, etc. This leads to the fact that even those of us who do manage to train several times per week have a small amount of non-exercising activities and are sedentary most of the time. If you are living in Qatar then it is highly possible that like a large majority of people you spend lots of time sitting on your butt. A very typical day agenda for an employee would be to wake up, drive to work, sit at work, drive to a restaurant for a dinner with friends, sit at the restaurant, drive back home, lay on the couch and go to bed. The truth is that most of us are very sedentary throughout the day and incredibly inactive. So, what is the solution? What can be changed?
Well, to start with try using our tips from our last article regarding Fitness Time Management & Lifestyle, this will give you some ideas that may apply to you. Try to substitute optional sitting by standing or walking around. You may be able to fit in a short break of 10min every hour to walk around office or to meet with a colleague to discuss some topic. When you are watching your child’s sport training, you utilize this time to do something yourself or at least to me on your legs rather than sitting on the bench. Make a good use of stairs when going up or down instead of elevators and escalators in shopping malls, buildings and office. If possible consider getting yourself a standing desk that you may want to use for at least half of your working day at the office. If there weather is too hot, go to the pool with your kids to swim and play. If you are spending a lot of time browsing internet and social media, chatting with friends and family, all of this can be done while walking in the park, along the Cornishe, by the beachfront or on the treadmill. Daily non-exercising activities add-up and can make a difference between gaining weight and maintaining weight or losing weight.
Lack of movement is our enemy, far bigger than a slow metabolism. It’s very good to workout several times per week, but it is as important to ensure that your sedentary time is reduced to minimum. Try filling your day with active activities to prevent sluggish metabolism and burn more calories.
By beFitness TEAM
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