If you’ve been struggling with your weight and are trying to figure out how to jumpstart your metabolism, we’ve got you covered.
Weight management is largely dependent on the number of calories you burn versus the number of calories you use — but if your metabolic rate is slow, that means that you’re burning fewer calories at a slower rate than you might like if you have a fast vs. slow metabolism. This can also be especially frustrating as you age since many people find that their metabolism slows decade by decade.
So if you’re trying to manage your weight, you might be wondering how to improve your metabolic health and boost weight loss. In this article, we’ll go over how to increase basal metabolic rate and ways to increase metabolism that are actually backed by science, no matter what your age.
What is metabolism?
When we’re talking about metabolism, what we’re really talking about is the number of calories that your body uses up every day.
To get a little more technical: your metabolism refers to your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories that your body uses each day when it’s at rest (ie: not counting exercise or movement, just the calories it needs to carry out all of those functions like breathing, digesting, thinking, heart pumping, keeping your body temperature stable, etc.).
Why this matters: calories play a huge role in weight management. If you eat more calories than your body burns daily, those excess calories must be stored somewhere in case you need energy later on … and so it is stored in your fat tissue. Meanwhile, if you are at a calorie deficit and burning more calories than you’re taking in, your body “burns” through your fat tissue in order to access those stored calories.
So, someone with a “high metabolism” can “burn through” the food that they eat faster. Meanwhile, someone who complains of a “low metabolism” might use less energy and thus, have an excess of calories that can sometimes translate to weight gain, or having a harder time losing weight.
Slow metabolism causes can include low physical activity and low muscle mass. However, one of the primary reasons that you may have a slow metabolism is your genetics and your age. In fact, researchers have found that our metabolisms decrease almost linearly as we age, due in large part to changing body composition and a decrease in muscle mass.
Can you actually boost your metabolism?
The rate of your metabolism depends on a number of factors, some of the most prevalent being your genetics and your age — and both of these factors can’t be changed. But the good news is that yes, it is possible to boost your metabolism with a targeted combination of lifestyle changes.
And on a related note, can you permanently boost metabolism? Again, your basal metabolic rate is dependent on several factors that are out of your control, so “resetting metabolism” isn’t really a possibility. However, changing your lifestyle and maintaining it can act as a metabolism booster in the long run.
How to boost metabolism
Trying to figure out how to boost metabolism for weight loss? Some of the best ways to boost metabolism include getting plenty of exercise and increasing your muscle mass, drinking plenty of water, and incorporating some high metabolism foods into your diet.
Increasing your muscle mass
One of the best ways to boost your metabolism is to gain muscle! Lean muscle mass requires more energy for your body to maintain than fat tissue, which means that focusing on body recomposition and building more muscle can ultimately lead to a higher resting metabolic rate. In fact, some researchers believe that the main reason people experience a dip in their metabolism as they age is because of declining muscle mass, which means that finding ways to increase your muscle mass instead can ultimately help slow the decline.
To gain muscle, focus on adding resistance and strength training to your routine—think weight lifting and bodyweight resistance workouts (like push-ups and pull-ups). You’ll also want to make sure you’re eating plenty of protein to help rebuild your muscles after those workouts.
Get into a consistent exercise routine
Remember, even if your resting metabolism burns only a certain amount of calories every day, you can also increase your burn every day if you’re expending more energy — in other words, by exercising more!
Make it a point to carve out at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise about four to five times per week to help boost your calorie burn and improve your body composition. For the best results, mix it up and add several different kinds of workouts into your plan including cardio-focused activities, resistance training, and stretching.
Drink more water
Can water boost your metabolism? The research says yes! Getting an adequate water intake is a natural metabolism booster that can lead to a temporary boost of up to 30% of your metabolic rate shortly after drinking! Researchers believe that this happens because your body needs to burn more energy in order to increase your body temperature after drinking cold water, leading to an extra boost. To keep your water cold and fresh all day long, use an insulated bottle like the LARQ Bottle Filtered or Bottle PureVis.
Add some metabolism-boosting foods to your diet.
You can also eat certain food to burn fat and increase metabolism. These foods that increase metabolism work in different ways to boost your burn. For example, some take longer for your body to digest, like whole grains and vegetables that are packed with slow-digesting dietary fiber as well as protein-rich foods like nuts, seeds, poultry, and seafood. Others, like hot peppers, contain compounds that are thought to give your body a temporary fat-burning boost (ie: capsaicin in hot peppers and MCTs in coconut oil).
With this said, it’s important to note that these metabolism-boosting foods are foods that speed up your metabolism, but the number of extra calories burned usually isn’t a huge number. You’ll still want to incorporate them into a calorie-conscious diet and implement a good exercise program if metabolic weight loss is your goal.
10 foods that speed up your metabolism include:
- Green tea
- Whole grains
- Chili peppers
- Coconut oil
Your metabolism is your body’s natural energy-burning process that plays a direct role in your metabolic health as well as your weight. While certain factors that determine your metabolism, like your genetics and your age, can’t be changed, you can absolutely control other factors like your activity level, body composition, and diet quality to give your body the fat-burning boost it may need to speed up the process.