Boosting Your Metabolism

Boosting Your Metabolism

Some individuals eat relatively little but tend to gain and maintain extra weight very easily, while others seem to eat whatever they choose without any negative repercussions on the scale. Why is that? Many people blame this disparity on metabolism, but is a slow metabolism truly to blame?

Yes, metabolism can be linked to weight loss or weight gain, but metabolism is not the sole reason you might gain or lose weight. To better understand what this might mean for you, it’s best to learn what metabolism is and how it can affect your physique.

conversion-energy-conceptMetabolism

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. It is all the chemical processes in your body that continuously allow life and normal functioning. These processes include those that break down nutrients from your food and those that build and repair your body. The building and repairing of your body require energy that ultimately comes from your food. The food you eat provides nutrients that form energy, making it one of the vital components of metabolism. This simply means that metabolism is the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.

There are several ways that your body burns calories:

  • Through the energy required to keep the body functioning at rest; this is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is partly determined by the genes you inherit.
  • Through everyday activities
  • Through exercise

Metabolism word cloud

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) 

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic (basal) life-sustaining functions, including when at rest. This includes:

  • Breathing
  • Circulation
  • Nutrient processing (Digestion)
  • Cell production

To compute your BMR, you can use the Harris-Benedict Equation:

Metric formula for men

BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) − (6.755 × age in years)

Metric formula for women

BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.85 × height in cm) − (4.676 × age in years)

Example

Male: Weight (W) = 55 kg, Height (H) = 155 cm, age (A) = 30 years old

BMR = 66.7 + (13.75 x W) + (5.003 x H) – (6.755 x A)

= 66.7 + (13.75 x 55) + (5.003 x 155cm) – (6.755 x 30)

= 66.7 + 756.25 + 775.465 – 202.65

= 1395.765 or 1400 kcal

Example

Female: Weight (W) = 55 kg, Height (H) = 155 cm, age (A) = 30 years old

BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 × W) + (1.85 × H) − (4.676 × A)

= 655.1 + (9.563 × 55) + (1.85 × 155) − (4.676 × 30)

= 655.1 + 525.965 + 286.75 − 140.28

= 1327.535 or 1350 kcal

Note: kcal values are rounded off to the nearest 50

bmr-basal-metabolic-rate

Factors determining individual basal metabolism:

Body Size and Composition: People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.

Sex: Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories.

Age: As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

Genetic Predisposition: Your metabolic rate may be partly decided by your genes.

Environmental Temperature: If the temperature is very low or very high, your body must work harder to maintain its normal body temperature, which increases the BMR.

Infection or Illness: BMR increases because the body has to work harder to build new tissues and to create an immune response.

Amount of Physical Activity: Hard-working muscles need plenty of energy to burn. Regular exercise increases muscle mass and teaches the body to burn kilojoules at a faster rate, even when at rest.

Drugs: Stimulants like caffeine or nicotine can increase BMR.

Dietary Deficiencies: For example, a diet low in iodine reduces thyroid function and slows metabolism.

Crash Dieting, Starving, or Fasting: Eating too few kilojoules encourages the body to slow the metabolism to conserve energy. BMR can drop by up to 15 percent and if lean muscle tissue is also lost, this further reduces BMR.

random papers printed

Nutrition, Metabolism, and Energy

Nutrition and metabolism have an interdependent effect on human health. While nutrition is the process of nutrient utilization from the environment, metabolism is the coordinated process of transforming nutrients inside the body to use as energy. And right after you eat, your BMR normally rises because you use energy to eat, digest, and metabolize the food you have just consumed. This occurs soon after you start eating and peaks 2-3 hours later.

Essential nutrients supply energy (calories) and supply the necessary chemicals that the body itself cannot synthesize. Food provides a variety of substances that are essential for the building, upkeep, and repair of body tissues, and the efficient functioning of the body. Your diet needs to provide essential nutrients like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and around 20 other inorganic elements. 

Metabolism vector illustration

Weight and Metabolism

Metabolism is commonly blamed for weight gain. However, the truth is that excess weight is not all due to bad luck, thyroid trouble, or some other unexplained, uncontrollable external factor. Rather, it is the calories consumed vs calories burned that have the most influence on weight changes.

Metabolism may increase or decrease, and your body is designed to store excess energy in fat cells. Thus, eating or drinking more calories (energy intake) than you expend (energy output) will commonly cause weight gain. On the other hand, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest, and sleep), you’ll lose weight. It’s important to note that your body also perceives a lack of food as starvation, causing your BMR to slow down. This means fewer calories will be burned over time. That’s one reason why losing weight is often difficult.

Gaining weight is unfortunately a complicated process that combines genetic makeup, age, health conditions, hormonal changes, diet composition, and the impact of the environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity, and stress. All of this can result in an imbalance of the energy equations.

standing on scale

Physical Activity and Metabolism

The speed of your basal metabolism is beyond your control when it comes to burning calories but exercising and participating in extra physical activities to burn those fat deposits are controllable factors. The more active you are, the more calories you can burn. Typically people who are thought to have a fast metabolism are simply more active than others.

Exercise Examples:

Aerobic – Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardio is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. This includes activities such as walking, cycling, hiking, swimming, and many sports. Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase the time you spend on physical activity even more. If you can’t set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of activity throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.

running in machine treadmill

Strength Training

Strength training should be performed at least twice a week to help build muscle. Remember, muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does. Combining resistance training with movement helps burn more calories. Strength training does not have to involve heavyweights in a gym setting. Try adding resistance bands, light dumbbells, or even soup cans to your home workout to make your fitness regimen more challenging.

resistance-band-fitness-home

Look for ways to add extra activity to your day. Choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further away are simple ways to burn some calories. Get up and move during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. Every bit of extra activity will burn calories and contribute to weight loss.

Weight, Metabolism, and Age

Are you wondering why you can no longer eat as much as you could when you were younger without paying the price on the scale? This is because your metabolism naturally slows down with age, making it easier to put on extra weight despite a little. This can be attributed to muscle loss, natural aging of metabolic processes, and course, being less active. Fortunately, several steps can be taken to combat this age-related drop in metabolism. 

Hormones and genetics can also influence your metabolism as you get older, making it difficult to predict the rate of everyone’s metabolism slowing.  

adjusting-weight-scale

Combating the Effects of Age on Metabolism

We can’t avoid aging or the natural decrease in metabolism, but there are certain ways to fight the effects of aging on metabolism.

Resistance Training: Resistance training, or weightlifting, is great for preventing a slowing metabolism. It offers the benefits of exercise while preserving muscle mass, two factors that affect the speed of your metabolism.

High-Intensity Interval Training: HIIT is a training technique that alternates between intense anaerobic exercise with short periods of rest. HIIT also continues to burn calories long after you finish exercising. This is called the “afterburn effect.” It occurs because your muscles need to use more energy to recover after exercise.

Sleep: Inadequate sleep can slow down your metabolism. Fortunately, a good night’s rest can reverse this effect. Poor sleep can increase muscle loss, which slows down your metabolism. If you can’t fall asleep, try unplugging from technology at least one hour before bed. 

Eat More Protein-Rich Foods: Eating more protein-rich foods can help fight a slowing metabolism because your body burns more calories while consuming, digesting, and absorbing these meals. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Protein-rich foods have a higher TEF than carb- and fat-rich foods. Protein is also essential for fighting sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). A protein-rich diet can help fight an aging metabolism by preserving muscle. Try to eat protein at every meal.

food-sources-protein-healthy-diet

Make Sure You Eat Enough: A low-calorie diet can slow down your metabolism by switching your body into “starvation mode”. While dieting has its benefits when you’re younger, maintaining muscle mass is more important with age. Older adults tend to have a lower appetite, which may decrease calorie intake and slow metabolism. If you struggle to eat enough calories, try eating smaller portions more frequently. Try to keep healthy high-calorie snacks like cheese and nuts handy.

Drink Green Tea: Green tea can increase your metabolism by 4–5%. This is because green tea contains caffeine and plant compounds that have been shown to increase your resting metabolism.

cup-japanese-green-tea

Everyone is unique, making it more complicated to identify the sole reason why metabolism declines with age. Making small changes and incorporating these tips into your routine can help keep your metabolism running optimally. And to maximize and reap the most benefits from these lifestyle adjustments, additional supplementation should be considered. Below we have shared the ingredients to look for when choosing a metabolism-boosting supplement. 

Zinc: In addition to its immune-boosting properties, zinc has been also linked to weight loss. Many zinc-rich foods are high in dietary protein, which helps boost satiety and energy expenditure.

Green Tea: Green tea contains bioactive substances like caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can have powerful effects on metabolism. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that has been found to aid fat burning and improve exercise performance.

Resveratrol: This compound, found in the skin of red grapes, mulberries, peanuts, and more, may also help burn fat. It is connected to cellular pathways that are involved in insulin sensitivity, sensing of nutrients, metabolism, and energy production. More studies are still needed to support its weight-loss claims.

Berberine: Berberine is a bioactive compound that can be extracted from several different plants, including a group of shrubs called Berberis. One of the main actions of berberine is to activate an enzyme inside cells called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme is sometimes referred to as a “metabolic master switch” that is found in the cells of various organs, including the brain, muscles, kidneys, heart, and liver. This enzyme plays a major role in regulating metabolism.

Mix supplement antioxidant

Remember, a combination of cutting calories and regular exercise is still the best way to maintain a healthy weight. If you are making the necessary lifestyle changes but are still struggling to lose weight, talk to your doctor about any potential health conditions that might be affecting your waistline. It is also best to discuss how supplements might impact you as an individual. 

One supplement to consider for its weight loss benefits is Metabothrive. This safe and natural formula contains Zinc, Green Tea, Resveratrol, and Berberine for ultimate weight management.

Metabothdrive