How to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Are you gaining weight because of a slow metabolism?

You’ve cut down on calories and exercise regularly, yet you’re still not losing weight. The only other possible diagnosis, you may expertly conclude, is a slow metabolism.

But what exactly is a slow metabolism? And how does it affect your weight? Can you do anything to speed it up? Professor James Timmons, a metabolism expert from Loughborough University, gives your metabolism a closer look. Read on…


IMPORTANT – this information is intended to be motivational and NOT intended to be a substitute or replacement for medical advice. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional before changing your physical activity level or diet.


What is metabolism?

Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that are continuously working inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food. Basically, the chemical changes in your body that creates the energy and substances you need to grow, move, and stay healthy.

These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Your BMR accounts for anything between 40% and 70% of your body’s daily energy requirements. The percent depends on your age and lifestyle. If you hear someone say they have a slow metabolism, they actually have a low BMR.

There are many calculators that can help you determine your daily energy needs available online. Look for calculators using the Harris-Benedict equation.
Here are just 2 examples:

BMR Calculator
BMI Calculator


Quiz #1

In general, the more muscle and less fat you have, the higher your metabolic rate.
True or False?  (tap to see answer below)

Quiz #2

Women usually have a higher metabolic rate than men.
True or False? (tap to see answer below)

Do some people have a faster metabolism than others?

Your body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in determining your metabolic rate.

Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio tend to have a higher BMR.

As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why your BMR tends to decrease as you age.

In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism as they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women, which is why their daily calorie allowance is higher.

Your metabolism may be partly determined by your genes, although this is not yet fully understood. Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.

Am I heavy because of a slow metabolism?

People who struggle to lose weight often blame a slow metabolism. However, numerous studies involving thousands of people worldwide have failed to find evidence to support the widely held belief that overweight people must have slower metabolic rates.

In fact, the opposite appears true: overweight people may actually have a higher metabolism than their leaner counterparts, reflecting the energy requirements of maintaining a larger body size. When you account for differences in body size and composition, there is a remarkable similarity in energy expenditure between individuals.

Research has also shown that people tend to eat more than they think they do. When asked to make a list of everything they’ve consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating far less than they actually do.

More often than not, the reason you’re putting on weight is not because of a slow metabolism, it’s because you’re eating and drinking more calories than you’re burning. It may be hard to accept, but staying on top of the number of calories you eat is key to losing weight and keeping it off. Tracking your calories will help you lose weight as you become more aware of your caloric intake.

If I lose weight too fast will it slow my metabolism?

Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can reduce your BMR. With some diets, your body is forced to break down muscle to use for energy. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it then becomes a lot easier to put body fat back on after coming off the diet.

This is yet another good reason to avoid fad diets that promise quick weight loss. If you eat right, get plenty of sleep and exercise, you should be able to achieve your ideal weight.

Can I speed up my metabolism?

Not so fast on those foods and drinks that claim to boost your metabolism. These include but not limited to green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is flimsy, the effect on your metabolism is marginal at best and each person will respond differently to each product. Be cautious when using these as each may even have side-effects that are more harmful than beneficial.

While you don’t have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active – than you and I.

Here are the three most effective ways of burning calories:

Aerobic activity
Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories. You should aim to do 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling and swimming, a week. You can achieve this target by doing 30 minutes five days a week and breaking down your activity sessions in chunks of 10 minutes. To lose weight, you are likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet. See the Physical activity guidelines for adults.

Strength training
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so increasing your muscle mass will help you lose weight. Don’t worry, you don’t need to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger! Aim to do muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights and high intensity (HIT) exercise. Heavy gardening may also do the job.

Be active
You should be on the move and fit more activity into your day. You can start slowly, then work your way to 10,000 steps a day. Tap Amazon to check out the apps they have available for tracking your fitness. Once you get into it, it just may not be as difficult as you though.

We hope you found this beneficial but if not, please leave a comment and let us know why. This will help us improve! Thank you for visiting with us today. Wishing you the very best of health!

PS. If you are looking for some fitness essentials, please check out our fitness page and shop our >> eStore for Fitness (hurry!! It’ll only be available until 10/27), you can find the equipment you need for these exercises without the hassle of shopping! As an affiliate of Amazon, you can click on our images of fitness equipment to shop on Amazon!

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Nutrition and Metabolism

Answer to Quiz #1

In general, the more muscle and less fat you have, the higher your metabolic rate.

True. Your metabolic rate is strongly influenced by your body composition. People with more muscle and less fat generally have a faster metabolic rate, while people with more fat and less muscle generally have a slower metabolic rate.

↑ Back to Quiz Question ↑

Answer to Quiz #2

Women usually have a higher metabolic rate than men.

False. Men tend to have a higher metabolic rate than women because women have a higher proportion of fat.

↑ Back to Quiz Question ↑

Sources: Fat tissue can communicate with other organs;
NHS explains metabolism; Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020

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Author: Joan E Wilder

We focus on providing information about the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

6 thoughts

  1. You continually amaze me w/all the important health info you send out…thanks so much for keeping us updated with new info each time.

    Like

    1. Why thank you anonymous. Thank you so much for your support – we do this for people like you that are interested in getting or staying active.

      We sincerely hope you take advantage of the exercises too! Stay active and healthy!!

      Like

  2. Great post! This is such an important thing people need to remember when trying to be healthy and lose weight. It’s a tricky thing to evolve but once you do it can do wonders for your body and lifestyle! Great post! I love the quizzes too!

    Like

    1. Thanks Colin, I appreciate your support! My mission is to help people stay active – with desk jobs especially, it’s vitally important. I’m happy to see you agree – stop by our exercise pages too. Let me know if there’s a topic you’d like to see. Thank you again Colin for your input!!

      Liked by 1 person

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