How Metabolism Works, How to Hack It & increase metabolism naturally

Ways to increase metabolism naturally

We’re sure you’ve already heard the word metabolism but it is not what you think it is. Yes, metabolism does play a role in keeping your bragging friend in tip top shape, but that’s not the entire story. So I thought i’d write about what your metabolism actually is and ways to increase metabolism naturally.

How does your Metabolism work?

Regulated by your thyroid gland, your metabolism is constantly running, even when you’re asleep.

Metabolism can be compared to an engine that keeps you going and to keep it going, you need to feed it with nutrients.

The thyroid gland

Since your thyroid gland controls your metabolism, it is critical that you keep the health of your thyroid gland in check.

When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (a condition called hypothyroidism), your metabolism can get severely compromised.

At least 3.7% of American adults are known to suffer from an underactive thyroid. Fortunately, it can be improved with the right diet and hormone replacement therapy.

Metabolism and metabolic rate

The word metabolism is commonly used interchangeably with metabolic rate, hence, the skinny friend reference.

Metabolic rate is the amount of calories you burn and metabolism is a combination of two processes, anabolism and catabolism.

Anabolism involves the synthesis of compounds to be used by your cells and catabolism is the breakdown of molecules for energy.

The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories and fat you will burn and the easier it becomes to keep unnecessary pounds off.

Metabolism rate – factors

Some people have faster metabolism than others, this is on account of several factors such as one’s lifestyle, genetics, age, gender and weight.

Sure, you can’t do much about genetics and age, but certain lifestyle changes are a surefire way to rev your metabolism, for better health and a better physique.

Additionally, the biochemical reactions associated with metabolism are closely intertwined with your nutrition.

Therefore, proper nutrition is essential for a healthy metabolism.

We’ll get into how you can make your metabolism work to your advantage shortly. Let’s understand how it works first.

Basal Metabolic Rate

Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR is a measure of the minimum energy it takes for your body to burn a maximum amount of calories.

Your BMR is 40 to 70% of the energy needed by your body to function at its current rate.

Just like your metabolism, your BMR is also influenced by weight, your lifestyle and your age. It is affected by your activity levels as well.

Therefore, if a person leads a sedentary lifestyle or states that they have a “slow metabolism”, what they really mean is that their BMR is low.

Metabolism hacks you need to know

As mentioned earlier, there are several ways through which you can hack into your metabolism and make it work the way you want it to.

If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness, chances are you’ll want it to be faster.

The following is a no B.S. list of natural techniques that you can apply in your daily life to boost your metabolic rate and get the results you want.

1. Train intensely

If you’re looking for a way to amp your metabolic rate fast, skip the boring steady-state workouts and try high intensity interval training or HIIT.

HIIT involves quick and intense bursts of activity, which you can perform at home, outside or at the gym.

Since you’re working out way more strenuously than you usually do within a period of time, chances are you’ll increase your metabolic rate and burn more fat, even after your workout.

2. Strength train

Building muscle and achieving a leaner body is a great way of increasing your overall metabolic rate (including BMR). Your muscles are far more active than your fat.

With more muscle, you will be burning more calories every day, even during rest.

Weight loss can result in metabolic decline. Fortunately, lifting weights can help you retain muscle mass and sustain your metabolic levels.

One study with 48 overweight female participants showed that even with a 800 calorie diet, the women who did resistance training were able to maintain their strength and metabolism, while losing significant fat weight.

The women who didn’t exercise at all or performed aerobic exercises, only lost fat and muscle weight and experienced a drop in their metabolic rate.

3. Have plenty of protein

As we mentioned earlier in this article, food has a huge role to play when it comes to your metabolism.

Following a meal, your metabolism is often up for a few hours. This is a phenomenon called the thermic effect of food or TEF for short.

TEF is the result of the additional calories the body needs to digest and absorb the nutrients from your meal.

What is Protein

So what is Protein? Protein is a slow-digesting nutrient that has the largest effect on your TEF. Having a protein-rich meal can increase your metabolic rate by 15 to 30%. Carbs cause a 5 to 10% increase and fats, a sad 0 to 3%.

As a bonus, eating more protein also helps you feel full and satiated, stopping you from overeating. It also prevents you from losing muscle, which commonly occurs from dieting.

4. Add Spice

On the subject of food, did you know that you can increase your metabolism by adding the right spices? This simple hack can be done to a wide range of meals and can increase your TEF by a few hours.

This is due to a component called capsaicin, which releases heat once ingested. If you’ve ever wondered why you sweat after particularly spicy food, capsaicin is often why – but at least it’s good for you!

It can be found in numerous spices, but chili and ginger both have high levels. The latter also contains gingerol, which does many of the same things, while also providing an anti-inflammatory benefit.

Try adding a little chili to your meals or even adding ginger to your tea. This will keep your metabolism up for a longer period after you’ve eaten.

5. Reduce being sedentary, it kills your metabolism.

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a definite way of decreasing the amount of fat you burn daily.

Sadly, most jobs require people to be sedentary at work, which can wreak havoc to your metabolic rate and overall health.

While working out or playing a sport can improve your metabolic rate drastically, simply standing more often, walking more or taking the stairs can help increase it too.

One study showed that you are burning 16% fewer calories when you’re sitting compared to standing. Sitting down too much can harm your overall health.

Using a standing desk and performing certain tasks while standing or walking, such as answering the phone, are great ways to reduce the amount of time you’re sitting every day.

6. Get more sleep

Sleep is critical for great health, which includes a healthy metabolism.

Lacking sleep on a long-term basis can severely increase your risk of diabetes, depression and heart disease.

Furthermore, a plethora of studies show that poor sleep may negatively affect your metabolic rate and increase your chances of gaining weight.

Is a better metabolism only gifted to people who are “born with it”?

Having a higher metabolic rate means you can burn more fat while exercising and during rest, while sustaining your gains.

Is a better metabolism only gifted to people who are “born with it”? The answer is no.

While some people are naturally able to burn more calories than others, you can easily increase metabolism naturally by making some lifestyle changes such as (more) exercise, changing your workout routine, eating plenty of protein and getting some good sleep.

Let us know

We’d love to hear in the comments below any tips you have on how you can increase metabolism naturally….

Demmy James

Demmy James is a fitness buff, strength and conditioning specialist and content contributor with Muscle & Strength. He is constantly looking to inspire and motivate others to achieve their own health and fitness goals through his writings. Follow him on Twitter for more tips and guides.

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  • What a great informative piece, I loved it. I need to add some weight training into my workouts to gain some muscle. I have often found that drinking cold water when I wake helps and if I am sitting down I always have a shakey leg to keep active! x
    Lola Mia //

    • Thanks Lola, really glad you enjoyed, some great extra tips there too!

      I agree, keeping as active as possible, for example moving whilst working or pacing whilst on the phone are great ways to work that into your every day life.

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