Imagine something so powerful it can literally increase your strength and burn off fat while you sleep, eat or surf the internet.
Imagine that it's free and that there are no negative side effects.
Imagine the possibilities: A leaner, stronger you would be able to hit the ball harder, bowl faster and be less tired at the end of a long session.
That something is your metabolism, and while you may have heard the term in relation to weight loss you might not realise how you can use it to make you a better player.
You can use your metabolism to your advantage in two ways:
- Building Up (Anabolic)
- Breaking Down (Catabolic)
The trick is getting your metabolism so it is working as much as possible to make you stronger (build up muscle) while losing your dead weight (breaking down fat). But your body is also capable of doing it the other way around. Let's look at how it does both.
Keeping it Simple
Your body is constantly using energy just keeping you alive (this is called BMR). You also use energy doing other stuff like walking around, playing cricket or going to the gym.
The amount you use varies from person to person depending on lots of factors like your height, age, how much muscle you have and how active you are. The more you use, the 'faster' your metabolism is. But as you can see, it should be pretty easy to speed up.
Here is where things get really simple when it comes to metabolism:
If you use more energy than you consume (through food) then your body will use its store of fat to give you energy. If you consume more than you need your body will increase its fat store.
It's a straightforward balancing act that is the same for everyone no matter how fast or slow their metabolism is.
If you remember that fact above all others then you know the essential rule about metabolism and you are halfway to turning it to your advantage.
If you want to cut fat, eat less calories than you burn. If you want to improve strength, eat slightly more calories than you burn. If you want to do both, read on.
How To Fool Your Metabolism
Knowing about the energy balance is only half the story though. We also need to know how to fool your metabolism in three ways:
- Increase the amount of energy it puts into muscles.
- Increase the amount of energy it uses from its fat stores.
- Decrease the amount of energy it turns into fat.
How do you do this?
Through controlling the following things:
1. When you eat
As you already know, you get energy from eating. Every time you eat something your body has to decide what to do with that energy.
If needed, (for example for scoring a winning hundred or lifting weights) it will use it by putting it into your muscles, if you don't need the energy it will store it for later use (as fat).
This means eating after training or playing is great because your energy stores are low so your body puts most of the foods energy into muscle (helping you get stronger) and hardly any into fat.
- Save eating as much carbohydrate as you can until after training.
- Try eating larger meals in earlier in the day and smaller meals later in the day.
2. How much you eat
Eating large amounts in one go at any time makes your body store the excess as fat because it can't use all the energy that you give it.
- Cut the size of your portions. A good rule of thumb is to not eat more food than you can get into your hands cupped together (although that may get a bit messy with soup).
3. What you eat
The type of food you eat is important to how your metabolism deals with the energy in it.
A bar of chocolate is high in sugar (which releases a lot of energy quickly). This fools your body into thinking it has plenty of energy to spare and will store most of it as fat. Not good.
On the other hand, an apple will release its energy a lot slower (this is what people mean when they refer to 'Low GI') and your body will use more of the energy in muscles rather than store it.
- Eat as many Low GI foods as you can.
- Cut out as much processed and high sugar foods unless you have just trained or played.
4. How often you eat
You burn energy slowly through the day, so your body prefers to get a slower stream rather than a big spike. This means eating several smaller meals more often than the normal three.
- Eat the same amount of food, but cut it down the size of the portions and eat more often.
5. How much activity you do
Any activity can burn energy above your BMR (which is speeding up your metabolism). That, of course, includes playing cricket.
But also essential is how much lean muscle you have. The more you have the more your metabolism needs to put into it and that means weight training.
- Make sure you are doing significant activity five to six days a week. This might mean playing, training or going for a run.
- In that, do weight training at least twice a week: More in the off and pre seasons.
6. How much stress you have
The down side of training is that increases the stress hormone (cortisol) in your system.
Cortisol is a great hormone to have in small amounts, but higher levels start breaking down muscle tissue and depositing fat for the body to protect itself. So you need to make sure you keep it in check.
- Get sleep. 8-10 hours a night reduces the amount of cortisol in your system
- Don't train too much. Keep weight sessions to under an hour, running to under an hour and a half and cricket practice under two hours.
- Avoid stressful situations where possible and learn to cope better with the stress you do get.
- Don't skip meals or starve yourself.
If you follow this guide you will be leaner, stronger and a better cricketer. Not only that, but you will get there with a metabolism that is working for you even when you are not training.
A truly natural way to fool yourself into real success.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008