Metabolism is the living balance of energy and energy-forming components within the human body.
Our bodies convert energy sources (i.e., carbohydrates, amino acids, fat) into energy, and the speed at which this occurs is known as the metabolic rate.
For example, when carbohydrates (sugars and starch) break down inside the stomach and small intestines, they form themselves into glucose (simple sugar).
Although each organ requires a different glucose level, glucose is responsible for providing the energy necessary for cellular metabolism.
While it is the liver that enables the storage of glucose, it is the pancreas that creates insulin.
This insulin, in turn, controls the amount of glucose stored in or released from the liver.
Without insulin, glucose floats aimlessly through our bloodstream and remains largely unused for energy needed to make the body machinery work.
In this article, I’ll be covering metabolic rate and simple and effective ways to boost your metabolic rate for more weight loss.
Measuring Metabolic Rate
Healthcare advocates highlight the importance of good metabolic control.
Fostering a healthy metabolic rate helps stave off the debilitating effects of an endocrine system going awry.
Metabolic rate is highly correlated to your muscle mass. So lean people have less fat and more muscle mass.
Muscle mass is what runs our body machinery and is one of the main users of body metabolism.
Anyone who wants to stay fit should, therefore, be looking at building muscle mass.
Related Content: Can You Build Muscle at Any Age?
To fall from lean and mean to heavy and sedentary means that an aging individual may have inherited high metabolic rates.
However, the individual has altered his or her body-fat distribution by a general slowdown in metabolism due to lack of exercise and subsequent loss of muscle tissue mass.
Central to energy metabolism is how heavy a body mass is.
The heavier and the more mass, the more work the body machinery has to do, thus the higher the metabolic rate (to keep the body mass the same).
Although this may sound counterintuitive, as we usually think overweight individuals have a slower metabolism, it makes sense that increasing muscle mass is what slows the process.
Once the body mass decreases through regular exercise and less food intake, the metabolic rate begins to slow down.
Health professionals use a standard weight-height ratio known as the Body-Mass Index (BMI) to measure weight in kilograms divided by height in meters.
The “normally healthy and fit” BMI for a woman, 1.65 meters tall and 54.5 kilograms heavy (up to 68 kilograms), is 20-25.
Here are some BMI ranges and their interpretations from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
- < 18. 5 = Underweight
- 18.5 – 24.9 = Normal weight
- 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
- > 30 = Obesity
How to Increase Your Metabolism
A slowdown in metabolism can occur due to several factors.
There are, however, three factors that affect metabolism the most – aging, inactivity, and a bad diet.
You can’t do anything about the debilitating effects that accompany aging.
However, there is a lot you can do to counter this by increasing physical activity and improving eating habits.
9 Simple and Effective Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism
1. Workout in the Morning
Exercising in the morning can boost your metabolic rate up to 10 times than normal.
I always work out in the mornings because it also puts me in a great mood for the rest of the day.
2. Start the Day With a Good Breakfast
Always start your day with a good breakfast. A good breakfast gets your metabolism going for the day.
Your body will burn it off easier than it will a hearty dinner. This breakfast should also be a high protein breakfast.
3. Don’t Wait Until You Get the Munchies
Avoid hunger pangs by eating low-fat food every four hours during the day.
Letting yourself go hungry triggers a slowing down of your metabolic rate, which in turn spares and stores your fat cells.
Eat smaller meals rather than fewer large ones; eating (smaller portions) often stimulates your metabolism, which reduces stored calories.
4. Build More Muscle Mass
Your body is constantly burning calories even when you’re doing nothing. More muscle means more calories burned.
To build muscle mass, focus on strength, and weight training. Have a look at the exercise archives for inspiration.
5. Hydrate Your Body
Drink up on all the water. I shared my journey through drinking gallons of water every day in How Water Helps With Weight Loss.
Dehydration slows down metabolism significantly. Drink 8 or more glasses of water every day.
It can be flavored water as well. Flavor water with healthy fruits and veggies using a water infuser like this one.
You can also eat fruits and veggies that contain water like cucumbers and tomatoes.
6. Eat the Good Snacks
Snack every few hours when trying to boost your metabolism but snack on the good stuff.
Instead of chips and cookies, reach for nuts, fruits, rice crackers, etc.
7. Switch to a High Protein Diet
When your body is trying to digest protein, it burns more calories. You don’t have to cut out everything but eat leaner and protein-rich foods.
I share more about this in High Protein Diet for Weight Loss. Lean, protein-rich foods include beef, turkey, salmon, chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, and eggs.
8. Avoid Common Dieting Mistakes
There are 3 classic mistakes dieters make, which torpedo fitness goals and leave you heavier than when you started.
These dieting mistakes also slow down your metabolism. There’s a breakdown of these at 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Dieting.
9. Remain Physically Active
Stay physically active. I don’t mean workout 5 hours a day but don’t become a couch potato either.
Walk as much as you can, use the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. Just these small changes alone make a huge difference.
Since muscle is the key user of a body’s metabolic activities and consequently runs the body machinery, it is important to maintain a lean/mean profile.
You can do this by following the tips above, exercising, and making sure you don’t descend into a sedentary lifestyle.
Boosting your body’s unconscious energy burner can help stave off unwanted weight gain and the debilitating effects of a metabolic system gone askew.
Download Reach Your Fitness Goals Faster With These 17 Tips for even more ways to speed up your metabolism.