Does it seem like you’re swimming against the tide when it comes to losing weight? If your current diet and exercise strategies aren’t doing the trick, the culprit could be your metabolism—the way your body processes energy. The good news is, there are ways to speed up your metabolism and kick-start the weight-loss and muscle-building process through some simple changes.
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body converts the food you consume into the energy that powers your body. Your body works constantly, circulating blood and oxygen through the body and repairing any damage. Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories that your body uses to perform life-sustaining functions, measured in kilojoules, and that rate differs based on a wide range of factors.
Metabolism is divided into two main processes: catabolism and anabolism. When food is ingested, the body breaks down complex molecules like protein, carbohydrates, and fat into smaller units through catabolism. Anabolism then takes these simple molecules and creates the more complex molecules that the body needs to survive. These two processes work simultaneously, keeping the body running.
Can someone speed up their metabolism and convert food to energy more efficiently? Yes, but only to a certain extent. Various factors determine a person’s metabolic rate; some of these elements a person can influence through their behavior, while others are out of their control.
- Genetics– If someone’s family has a faster or slower metabolic rate on average, the odds are they’ll follow that pattern.
- Age– It’s common for metabolism to slow with age due to hormonal changes and muscle mass loss.
- Body Size– The larger your body, the more raw material for your metabolism to control. It takes more energy to move blood and oxygen through a large body and repair and grow cells, so the body will need more to eat.
- Muscle Mass and Body Fat– Size isn’t everything—different cell types use energy at different rates when at rest. Muscle is efficient and burns calories rapidly, while body fat is slow and burns kilojoules slower than any other cell type.
- Medications– If you’re on any medications that affect your hormones, it affects your metabolism. Weight gain or loss is often a side effect of these medications.
Behavioral Changes That Can Increase Metabolism:
While genetics play a big role in your metabolism and can’t be changed, you still have the power to change your basal metabolic rate for the better. These lifestyle and behavioral changes can help your body run like a well-oiled machine.
- Get More Aerobic Exercise– Your metabolic rate increases during bursts of activity, especially during short bursts of intense exercise. The high-intensity interval training exercise strategy can train your body to process energy more effectively.
- Prioritize Protein– Eating food actually burns calories, as the body has to work to digest and process the contents. But what food you eat matters; digesting protein takes more work and can increase your metabolic rate. You’ll also feel full and stay full longer.
- Drink More Water– Drinking water can temporarily speed up metabolism. It’s particularly beneficial to drink cold water since the body has to expend energy to heat it to body temperature.
- Build Up Your Muscle Mass– Not only will regular workouts burn calories, but by swapping out fat for muscle, you’ll be supercharging your metabolism. Muscle burns calories more effectively than other cells, so you can expect a leaner body to be more efficient.
- Focus on Fat Burn– By cutting out carbs, you can hit the metabolic state of ketosis, which converts fats for energy when glucose isn’t available. People who follow the keto diet don’t just cut out carbs; they also increase their intake of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a specific type of fat that the liver can quickly convert into ketones for energy. Many keto dieters use MCT supplements like MCT oil or collagen and MCT protein bars to promote ketosis.
A Faster Metabolism Is a More Efficient Body:
Genetics doesn’t have to be destiny when it comes to your metabolism. A combination of diet changes and a regular workout routine can get your body’s internal processes running more efficiently than ever.