Tips To Increase Metabolism
This blog post was created for those who are eager to learn about bodily processes relating to metabolism and what we can do to increase it.
First of all, let us understand what metabolism means. Our metabolic rate is quite simply the speed or rate of which our bodies use energy. It can be said to be the amount of energy that an individual is expanding at any given time. Today we will be talking about resting metabolism, which is the minimum energy required to stay alive (what we need for our bodies to function properly). We will look into how we can increase this so our bodies absorb more energy just because we need to live, meaning less energy is stored away as long term energy (body fat).
I also wanted to add that there are some factors that affect our metabolism that we can't control, such as:
- Age - metabolism slows as we age - Gender - Genes - Hormones
That being said, there are still things we can do to improve our resting metabolism, even if it is only slightly. Any benefit would help especially when it comes to long term weight loss.
Here are some things we can do to improve our metabolism:
- Resistance (weights) Training - this is one of the most important and effective ways we can increase our metabolism. Firstly, I want to kill the myth of females getting bulky and buff by doing resistance training. If you are a female that is worried about doing resistance training because you don't want to get buff, don't worry. Females don't have the testosterone like males do, which is a big reason for males muscle growth. So if you are doing casual resistance training, you will not get buff and bulky.
The reason why resistance training is so good is because it builds lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is much more metabolically active than fat mass. Muscles are like the bodies engine, the larger the engine, the more fuel it needs to consume to work. Our muscles constantly need glucose, so our bodies first priority is to feed it glucose and store it in the muscles for use. The more muscle mass, the higher percentage of glucose we store in our muscles instead of as fat. This means the more muscle mass we have, the more energy we will use to feed those muscles even when we are not doing anything. Muscle mass is also not easy to lose, our bodies preserve it as much as possible. It takes roughly 6 - 8 weeks of no resistance training for us to begin to lose our muscle mass. So having muscle mass would be great for long term weight loss and boosting metabolism. Have a read of Benefits of Resistance Training blog to get more info.
- Eat a proper amount of food - This may come as a surprise to some, but the amount of calorie restriction we hear about currently is not doing any good for us. As stated in the introduction, metabolism is our bodies efficiency at using energy. The source of energy for our bodies is food, so it would only make sense that our bodies use energy only if we give it energy. The thing is that most people restrict their calories daily below a safe amount thinking our bodies will continually expend energy. Our bodies are smarter than we are usually, we won't use energy we don't have. Instead our bodies will start to slow metabolism in order to survive as we are not receiving the energy to function properly. There is no logical way that our bodies will use high amounts of energy when we are not resupplying it, we would simply die away after not eating. The logical response for the body would be to preserve the limited amount of energy it is given, which means slowing down metabolism.
Imagine we are thrown on an island for 10 days with only a small amount of food. We would try to spread the food out as much as possible to be able to sustainably feed ourselves. Meaning we would eat small amounts as we don't have an abundance of food. No one in their right mind would eat all the food on day one. Same goes with our metabolism, if we don't get much energy, we would spare using the energy so we can sustainably live. Read the 1000 Calorie Diet: Good or Bad blog to get more info.
- Add some spice in your food - this may not be for all, I personally hate eating chilli or spicy foods. But chilli and other spicy foods are a great benefit for boosting metabolism. Adding some spice on your food can help boost your metabolism temporarily. Peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that can boost your metabolism. Eating spicy foods alone may only have the slightest effect on metabolism, but it can help combined with other methods of increasing metabolism such as the above mentioned methods.
- Move more - especially high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is where we go as hard as we can for a short amount of time with rest in between sets. This will cause a rise in heart rate and the demand for oxygen and quick energy. This means body must supply quick energy to the muscles for these high intensity bursts. Even after the exercise session is finished, our bodies will be in oxygen debt. This means that our bodies will be consuming higher than normal oxygen to replenish what we used up during HIIT until we get back to the normal resting state. This will raise our metabolism for up to 12-20 hours after our workout. HIIT training can be a great addition to your weekly exercise program around resistance training.
These are a few tips and tricks you can do to increase your metabolism over the short term and long term. They do take effort and discipline but the payoff will be worth it. As they say, good things don't come easy. Give it a try and all the best.