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The Best Way To Measure Your Metabolism
For years I felt like my metabolism was like Superman on crack. A calorie burner like no other!
My body stayed lean and muscular with ease, so I always thought there was no way in the world my metabolism was stagnant.
When you see a paper-thin woman or a man with a shredded six-pack, you might think that these physical attributes are a perfect indicator of a healthy metabolism.
In some cases these individuals may have a stable metabolism. Most of the time, this is not the case.
Your metabolism isn’t measured by how fast you can lose weight, how much you can bench press, how fast you can run 800 meters, or how nice your farts smell (maybe a little when it comes to your poops).
You can measure your metabolism by considering this checklist…
Your immune system is very strong, you rarely get sick
Gas and bloating are very minimal
Energy levels are high and stable
You sweat during exercise, rarely feel cold
Feel warm and comfortable all day long, especially on your hands and feet.
You’re not one of those sufferers who wonder “why am I so cold all the time?”
The sleep is amazing and stable, without waking up at night
Your digestive system is alive (regular daily bowel movements)
Craving is very low
You can recover from workouts without feeling fried all day
And finally, the best measurable indicator of a healthy metabolism is…
High body temperature and pulse. Your body temperature should be between 97.8 and 98.6, with a healthy heart rate between 75-85 bpm at rest.
I learned this technique from two classes I took from Josh and Jeanne Rubin. The Metabolic Plan and Combating Fatigue with Food.
Most people’s body temperature ranges between 95 and 97, due to years of elevated adrenaline and cortisol, blood sugar imbalances, and dietary choices that provide little to no energy or heat at the cellular level.
I thought my metabolism was bulletproof for the longest time. When I started taking my temperature and pulse I was amazed. My temperature was hovering around 96.2 quite often with a low pulse of 65 bpm.
According to Josh and Jeanne, “A normal pattern will decrease in the morning, peak at noon, and decrease again in the evening.”
They share a wealth of knowledge in their courses. They explain that testing your body temperature and pulse allows you to:
Assess hormonal fluctuations that affect the body’s ability to meet daily demands
Identify subclinical hypothyroidism
Identify the effects of the adrenal glands and blood sugar on metabolism
Josh says, “When your body temperature and pulse are out of the normal range, it indicates stress in the system and a reduced metabolism. Stress in the system stimulates a number of inflammatory hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, prolactin and estrogen .”
Here are some key points I also learned from them about what happens when you have a low body temperature and pulse:
Digestion is disrupted, leading to an inability to break down and absorb nutrients
Thyroid and/or adrenal function is suppressed
Inhibition of production of protective steroid hormones (progesterone, cortisol, DHEA)
Metal imbalances develop
There is an intense waste of oxygen, which leads to the production of lactic acid
Muscle tissue begins to decline
Adrenaline levels are elevated, creating various compensations
Using a digital thermometer and your own two fingers is the easiest and cheapest thyroid/adrenal/hormonal and total metabolic screening you can do.
Purchase a digital thermometer from Target or another local store and start practicing taking your oral temperature. You can take your temperature in other areas, but keep it simple and use the under-the-tongue method.
Take your temperature up to three times a day, three consecutive days a week.
Your first reading should be as soon as you wake up, as you lie calmly in bed. The next reading should be twenty minutes after breakfast, and then the third time will be twenty minutes after lunch or another meal of your choice.
Take your pulse using your fingers, not your thumb, as the thumb has its own pulse. Select either your carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) pulse.
A pulse higher than 85 beats per minute may be more subtle indicating that your adrenaline and cortisol are too high and out of balance. Keep in mind that heart rate regulation takes longer than body temperature regulation, so be patient when it comes to this measurement of your metabolism.
Do both of these tests together as it will make things easier. Record your results on the phone, computer or in a notebook.
You may be scratching your head thinking that your heart rate should be much lower than 75-85 beats per minute. I like what Kate Deering (a fellow doctor) discusses on her blog about pulse…
“Broda Barnes MD and Dr. Ray Peat both state that an optimal heart rate is between 75 and 85 beats per minute. Huh? I thought a low heart rate was better? Most athletes don’t have a heart rate below 60 beats per minute ; consider that Lance Armstrong has a heart rate of about 45 beats per minute. Yes, Lance is fit and yes he had a very low heart rate. However, let’s remember that he had testicular cancer at the ripe old age of 25. You must Remember — the fit doesn’t equal healthy. A healthy metabolism causes higher heart rates and body temperature — two things you will NOT often see in endurance athletes.”
There are many biochemical reactions that take place in your body during the day and it is your duty to keep your metabolism running.
On a dumb science level, your cells need to be fed the right carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
When your cells receive the right nutrients, they “breathe” without stress and produce heat and energy efficiently.
When your cells are breathing properly and generating heat, your body temperature and heart rate reflect this and your metabolism starts kicking ass.
I can remember when my temperature and pulse started to rise and settle. My hands and feet weren’t freezing all the time like before, I stopped waking up in the middle of the night, and my energy levels became drastically different.
Remember, having a healthy and fast metabolism doesn’t mean getting chiseled abs, having the lowest body fat on the block, or feeling like superman on crack (maybe a little).
Pay attention to foods that increase your body temperature and pulse and act as a barrier.
As your metabolism begins to change for the better, you’ll begin to notice what it’s like to have plenty of energy and the new feeling of being fuzzy and warm even on a chilly day. Enjoy your metabolism makeover journey!
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