Updated: Oct 20, 2020
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This week I want to talk about metabolism.
First I want to talk about what doesn’t boost your metabolism- spicy foods, eating 6 small meals a day, diets, detoxes or supplements. These are not approved by the FDA and therefore can be dangerous.
There is only ONE thing that can truly boost your metabolism and we will talk about that in a minute.
The metabolism is a mystery to most people. Some of us say we are born with a slow one, others fast, but what does it really mean?
Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes in your body. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body needs. The speed of your metabolism is commonly known as your BMR or basal metabolic rate. This is essentially how much energy or calories your body burns in a day. There’s no perfect formula to determine BMR, but online calculators can give you a good estimate by considering your gender, height, weight, age and activity level. Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. Simply put, weight loss occurs when you consume less calories or exercise more, preferably both.
I want to reiterate there is only ONE true way to boost your metabolic rate and that is by building muscle.
The amount of muscle you have is directly associated with your metabolic rate. Unlike fat mass, muscle mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest.
One study showed that doing strength exercises for 11 minutes a day, three times per week, resulted in an average increase of 7.4% in resting metabolic rate after half a year — and an additional 125 calories burned per day. Many adults think that their metabolism slows down with age and technically it does, but due to reduced overall muscle mass and activity- not simply due to age. The average adult loses 3–8% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. So in this case what they say is true, if you don’t use it, you lose it ! To combat this, resistance training through the lifespan is crucial.
Aside from resistance training you can temporarily boost your calorie burn and this is known as the thermic effect of exercise or food.
A few ways to do this include:
Get up- walk around your house, park further away, take the stairs, fidget by bouncing around. One 10-person study showed that spending one afternoon standing burned an extra 174 calories compared to sitting. Even seemingly insignificant activities like typing may increase your metabolic rate by 8% compared to doing nothing
One of the most effective forms of exercise is high-intensity workouts, also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT exercise involves quick and very intense bouts of activity, such as sprints or fast push-ups. It significantly speeds up your metabolism, even after the workout has finished — an effect dubbed “the afterburn”.
3. Eat adequate protein
The general recommendation is 0.8 g/kg body weight. This is important for maintaining muscle mass or preventing muscle loss but also due to proteins thermic effect of food.
Protein may increase metabolic rate by 20–30%, whereas carbs and fat cause a 3–10% increase or less.
4. Drink Water
Temporarily boosting your metabolic rate doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s as simple as drinking a glass of cold water. Many studies show that drinking water leads to an increase in the number of calories burned, an effect known as water-induced thermogenesis . Drinking cold water has an even greater effect than warm water, as this requires your body to warm it up to body temperature. Studies show drinking about 16 ounces (500 ml) of cold water may cause a 5–30% increase in the number of calories burned for 60–90 minutes afterward. It seems that increasing your water consumption is also beneficial for your waistline. Several studies show that drinking 34–50 ounces (1–1.5 liters) of water daily may lead to significant weight loss over time
The bottom line ?
Although Your basal metabolic rate is largely out of your control there are ways to increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day. Skip out on the weight loss supplements and gimmicks. Instead, add resistance training into your routine 2-3x weekly in addition to other forms of movement, exercise, water and adequate protein intake.