Metabolism is a term for all of the chemical processes that occur in your body. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body burns.
Metabolism can be affected by our age, body size and muscle mass, as well as our level of physical activity (of course) and even environmental temperature. Certain hormonal issues, like hypothyroidism, can also affect your metabolism.
Metabolic rates vary between individuals, but experts are unsure how much of this variation, if any, is affected by genetics.
I get asked all the time about how to speed up metabolism in order to lose weight. Here are the top ways to make sure your metabolism is running at its peak:
1. Get moving!
Physical activity will help to increase your metabolism. So, instead of the elevator, take the stairs. Instead of parking close to the door, park in the farthest spot and walk. But, you already knew that, right? Need I say more?
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is exercise which focuses on intensity rather than duration. For example, it is better to run ten 30 second, all out “sprints,” rather than run at a marathon style pace for 30 minutes. If you need more information about this, I’d be happy to walk you through it. Simply give us a call.
3. Resistance Training
Exercises involving weights (includes body weight) and resistance bands is considered resistance training. This type of exercise involves the breakdown and repair of our muscles and results in greater muscle mass. The more muscle mass we have, the greater our metabolism. This is one of the biggest reasons why, pound for pound, men lose more weight than women while on a weight loss program- men have more muscle mass to begin with. Women would do well to incorporate resistance training into their routines 2-3 times per week.
Adequate amounts of protein in your diet will help you build more muscle mass as described above. In addition, because of the thermal effect of food (TEF), protein will cause a temporary increase in your metabolism.
5. Don’t starve yourself
Restricting calories too much and too long can cause your body to go into “starvation mode” and result in a lowered metabolism. Interestingly, however, intermittent fasting (which I frequently recommend to my clients) minimizes this phenomenon.
6. Stay hydrated!
Drinking lots of water will keep your metabolic rate high. Drink throughout the day.
7. Get adequate sleep
Quite simply, lack of sleep/poor sleep can result in a lowered metabolism. For best results, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will help your body’s circadian rhythm.
Incorporate some, or all, of these methods to increase your metabolism (and lose more weight).
(Although some “experts” would include coffee and other caffeinated beverages on this short list, I will not. Caffeine may certainly raise your metabolism if you don’t consume it too often, but regular coffee drinkers, for example, will see much less of an effect.)