Think you’ve got a slow metabolism? Well, here are some easy ways to boost it.
First of all, what exactly is your metabolism? This is a term that describes chemical reactions in your body which keep you alive and functioning. It is often interchangeable with metabolic rate or total daily energy expenditure (number of calories you burn). Ultimately, the faster your metabolism the more calories you burn making it easier to lose weight and keep it off. However, it’s not quite that simple. There are three things which contribute to your metabolism: Basal Metabolic rate, exercise and non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis.
So, what does this mean? Your basal metabolic rate accounts to 70% of your metabolism. This is how many calories your body needs at rest based on your age, gender, height and weight. Non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis accounts for 20%, this involves extra things which aren’t exercising e.g. fidgeting, shivering, standing, this varies each day. Finally, exercise, this only accounts to 10% of most people’s metabolism, whilst it still is very important for a healthy lifestyle it only accounts to a small amount of your daily metabolism.
What can I do to boost my metabolism?
Drink more cold water
Drinking lots of water, helps to assist with weight loss by making you feel fuller, with research suggesting that drinking water half an hour before a meal can help you to consume less food. One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a litre of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't (Dennis et al., 2010). Furthermore, having a glass of cold water can speed up the calorie-burning effect on the body as your body uses more energy to heat up the water. This effect of drinking cold water has been found to increase resting metabolism by up to 10-30% for about an hour after consumption (Boschmann et al., 2007; Dubnov-Raz et al., 2011). Other methods such as, replacing sugary drinks with water will also decrease overall calorie intake and help you to lose weight.
Eat protein with every meal
Consumption of food increases metabolism for a few hours afterwards, this is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Protein has been shown to have the greatest TEF effect increasing your metabolic rate by 15-30%, therefore burning more calories than carbs and fat (Pesta & Samuel, 2014). About 20-30% of the calories in protein go towards digestion and absorption, whereas that number is only 10% for carbs and even less for fats. Diets high in protein may also make you feel fuller for longer, helping you to eat less and prevent overeating.
Do a high intensity workout
We know exercising regularly has numerous health benefits, with high intensity interval training (HIIT) being the best method for increasing your metabolic rate. High-intensity interval training involves a quick intense burst of activity which helps you burn fat by increasing your metabolic rate. It burns more calories and fat than in half the time as steady-state cardio and may remain elevated for up to 24 hours after exercise (Paoli et al., 2012). This is why some people prefer exercising in the morning, as your metabolism is kickstarted ready for the rest of the day. This effect is believed to be greater for HIIT than other types of exercise (Boutcher, 2010).
Lift heavier weights
Lean muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat, therefore having a large amount of muscle mass can help increase your metabolism (Muller et al., 2009). However, this is only a small amount with previous data suggesting 6cals per lb of muscle and 2cals per lb of fat mass. This would mean a difference of 4cals which isn’t seen as a considerable amount, however over time this may make a big impact. Hunter et al., (2008) study placed 48 overweight women into 3 exercise groups; resistance training, aerobic exercise and no exercise, alongside a 800cals/day diet. Results found the women in the resistance training group had maintained muscle mass metabolism and strength whereas the individuals in the other groups lost weight, muscle mass and metabolism decreased.
Get a good night’s sleep
Not getting enough sleep has been correlated to obesity risk, partially due to the negative effects sleep deprivation has on metabolism (Sharma & Kavuru, 2010). Not getting enough sleep disrupts appetite-regulating hormones, meaning the hunger hormone ghrelin increases and leptin hormone for fullness decreases. This has also been linked to increased blood sugar levels and insulin causing further health complications such as diabetes. This has negative effects for those who are trying to lose weight. The national sleep foundation recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night to help hormones to return to a normal state and prevent metabolic disorders (Hirshkowitz et al., 2015).
Drink green or Oolong tea
Green tea and Oolong tea have been found to increase metabolism by up to 5% (Diepvens et al., 2007). It has been praised for its active ingredients, antioxidant polyphenols and catechin, with new evidence suggesting that catechin improves fat oxidation and thermogenesis. These teas help to convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning and overall weight loss (Venables et al., 2008). However, this method can be controversial and only apply to certain individuals.
- Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Franke, G., Birkenfeld, A. L., Luft, F. C., & Jordan, J. (2007). Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92(8), 3334-3337.
- Boutcher, S. H. (2010). High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. Journal of obesity, 2011.
- Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle‐aged and older adults. Obesity, 18(2), 300-307.
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- Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., DonCarlos, L., ... & Neubauer, D. N. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40-43
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- Müller, M. J., Bosy-Westphal, A., Later, W., Haas, V., & Heller, M. (2009). Functional body composition: insights into the regulation of energy metabolism and some clinical applications. European journal of clinical nutrition, 63(9), 1045.
- Paoli, A., Moro, T., Marcolin, G., Neri, M., Bianco, A., Palma, A., & Grimaldi, K. (2012). High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIRT) influences resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio in non-dieting individuals. Journal of translational medicine, 10(1), 237.
- Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & metabolism, 11(1), 53.
- Sharma, S., & Kavuru, M. (2010). Sleep and metabolism: an overview. International journal of endocrinology, 2010.
- Venables, M. C., Hulston, C. J., Cox, H. R., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2008). Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(3), 778-784.