How do I speed up my metabolism?
Metabolic reset: How to restart your metabolism
When your computer starts slowing down or acting up, chances are you’ll turn it off and turn it back on again. Sometimes a reset is exactly what’s needed to fix your problems and start fresh.
And while there’s no on/off switch for your metabolism, there are ways to trigger a metabolic reset when your body’s system becomes sluggish. If you’ve been thinking to yourself, “I need to find out how to reset my metabolism,” you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at metabolic rate and the factors that affect it, as well as what you can do to take control of your metabolism.
How does metabolism affect your weight?
The truth is that while your metabolism plays an important role in regulating body weight, it’s not the only factor to consider. You will also have to consider the correlation between stress and weight gain, as well as sleep and weight loss. Some even experience hormonal weight gain.
With that in mind, the road to your optimal weight starts with a well-rounded knowledge of all causes of weight gain and weight loss—including your metabolism.
Metabolism and metabolic rate
Your metabolism is like the power plant of your body. The complicated internal process that converts calories from meals into energy is known as metabolizing. Whenever you eat or drink, your body converts this fuel into the energy you expend throughout the day.
When you do anything that requires energy, your metabolism kicks in. But even when you’re at rest, your body burns calories for survival. Unconscious actions like breathing and digesting food demand a certain amount of energy. This ever-present base level of energy expenditure is called your resting metabolic rate (or basal metabolic rate).
There are some aspects of your metabolism that you can control (which we’ll discuss later), but there are also factors that are inherently tied to your biology. These include:
- Body type – It’s important to know that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat cells. Therefore, those with a more muscular body composition will have a higher resting metabolic rate than those with more fat or higher leptin levels.
- Age – Because we often lose muscle mass as we age, our metabolism slows accordingly.
- Sex – As males tend to have more muscle mass than females of the same weight and age, their metabolisms will typically run faster.
- Hormones – Hormones and weight gain are inextricably connected, especially when it comes to your metabolism. While it’s possible to alter the balance of hormones in your body through hormone therapy and other programs, their levels are largely out of your direct control. Hormones like leptin and ghrelin play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
What are the disadvantages of having slow metabolism?
Because excess calories are stored in the body as fat, the speed at which your body metabolizes food and drink—both at rest and during your HIIT workout or any other exercise—is critical to sustained weight loss and breaking your weight loss plateau.
Without oversimplifying too much, a faster healthy metabolism makes it easier to burn more calories than you consume. This means a quick metabolism can help you lose weight—though it’s certainly not the only answer to shedding pounds.
In the same vein, a slow metabolism isn’t doing you any favors if you want to lose weight. Your body is still taking the energy it needs from your diet, but if it can’t process all of your calories fast enough, you may find yourself putting on fat.
Can metabolic rate change over time?
People with slow metabolisms are at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to weight loss.
Luckily, metabolism is far from an unchangeable force.
As mentioned, your metabolic rate changes naturally as you age. When you get older, your skeletal musculature’s volume decreases, and your percentage of body fat increases due to this metabolic function slowdown. The gradual decline of your metabolic rate is due to several factors, hormonal and otherwise.
The good news is that your metabolism can also change for the better.
While a quicker metabolism doesn’t happen overnight, effort and conscious decision-making can influence—or even reset—your metabolic rate.
What can you do to achieve a metabolic reset?
Since your metabolic rate influences your weight, restarting your metabolism can be an essential step in your weight care journey. And while there aren’t any magic words or quick-fix solutions, metabolic improvement is entirely possible.
Below, we’ll cover how to restart your metabolism in four steps.
Step 1: Partake in regular and varied exercise
You may have noticed a trend earlier: the more muscles you have, the higher your metabolic rate. This truth means that building muscle is one way to restart your metabolism.
Next, we’ll cover the exercises to incorporate into your lifestyle and the metabolic benefits that come with them.
Incorporating some strength training into your workout routine is a terrific way to fire up your metabolism.
- Building muscle will increase your resting metabolic rate in the long run.
- You’ll also benefit from a short boost in metabolic rate post-workout.
- One study found a 4.2% increase in resting metabolic rate even 16 hours after exercise.
This means that strength training has both short- and long-term value in a metabolic reest.
Choose a cardio activity
Just like with strength training, a short cardio workout has immediate benefits. Running, biking, swimming, and other cardio exercises or physical activity can burn additional calories when compared to a resting rate. Plus, regular cardio is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lung capacity.
And, just like strength training, cardio has a lasting effect on metabolic rate. Ten male subjects were asked to cycle vigorously for 45 minutes for a study. The researchers found that their energy expenditure (or resting metabolic rate) remained higher than normal for 14 hours after their workout.
Try a HIIT workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT for short) is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of maximum energy. While HIIT enthusiasts will list many positive outcomes from this type of workout, the most important of all may be related to your metabolism.
Hours after a HIIT-style running exercise, researchers found a 450% increase in HGH (human growth hormone). As HGH stimulates metabolic processes, HIIT may have additional benefits that a regular workout doesn’t.
What does all this mean? Regular exercise—even in short bursts—can have significant, lasting positive effects on helping you restart your metabolism.
Step 2: Change your eating habits
Your metabolism converts food into energy. Naturally, then, your diet will have an impact on the way your metabolism functions.
One potential trick is to eat a diet high in lean protein. A protein-rich diet has been linked to changes in hormone secretion, alterations in gluconeogenesis, and an increase in the thermic effect of food. Translation: protein can jumpstart your metabolism.
Try incorporating more high-protein foods in the metabolic reset diet, such as:
Say yes to spicy foods
There’s also good news for those who like it hot. Some studies suggest that capsaicin (a substance found in spicy peppers and other foods) can trigger a boost in metabolic rate. While the effects are relatively minor, it all adds up, so don’t forget the hot sauce as a part of your meal plan to help with your metabolic reset!
Step 3: Change your drinking habits, too
How many of your calories come from drinks? If you’re not keeping track, it’s possible that your favorite smoothie or soft drink is adding unnecessary fuel to your body.
Beyond that, some of your favorite beverages may have an impact on your metabolic rate.
To reset your metabolism, you may want to alter your drinking habits along with your eating plan.
To start, try to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages in your diet plan.
- Alcohol can affect your digestive function and your hormone levels.
- Excessive alcohol will rapidly increase your calorie intake
- Overconsumption can also damage the liver, whose job is to metabolize fats and carbs.
Use caffeine in moderation
There’s some evidence to suggest that caffeine consumption can provide a slight boost in metabolic rate.
A daily cup or two of coffee or tea can suppress your appetite, as well as increase your resting energy usage.
This is because caffeine plays into thermogenesis—the generation of heat and energy from the processing of food.
Just be careful not to rely on caffeine, since adequate sleep is also key to a healthy metabolism (as we’ll cover more under Step 4) and fat loss.
Drink plenty of water
Though the odd cup of coffee or alcoholic drink is fine, you should aim to drink mostly water throughout the day. Not only is water a zero-calorie option, but it’s also a tool you can use to boost your metabolism.
In one study, subjects who consumed 500mL of H20 were found to have a 30% higher metabolic rate between 10 and 40 minutes afterward. This means that continuous water consumption all day long can have significant effects on your metabolic reset program.
Step 4: Sleep the recommended amount
There is a well-known link between sleep and metabolism. On of the associated side effects of short or poor-quality sleep is a metabolic slowdown. When people don’t sleep enough, the result is often a hormone imbalance or a dip in calories burned.
As such, adults should aim for around eight hours of quality sleep each night. You’ll feel well-rested, alert, and—above all—metabolically fired up.
Found: a comprehensive approach to metabolism, weight loss, and health
The above tips are a solid start to a metabolic reset, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg—and unlikely to bring you rapid weight loss right away.
The best approach to a metabolic restart—and weight care in general—is a comprehensive one. Accounting for hormones, fitness, healthy diet, neurobiology, stress, and more is the key to a successful weight care plan.
At Found, we take this kind of personalized weight care to the next level. By leveraging modern science and combining prescription medication with support, we’re able to craft an individualized online weight loss program just for you.
We’d love to get to know you and see if Found is the answer you’ve been looking for. Take the quiz today and determine which path is right for you.
- NCBI. Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8361073/
- NCBI. Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10939877/
- NCBI. The time course of the human growth hormone response to a 6 s and a 30 s cycle ergometer sprint.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12137178/
- NCBI. A 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21311363/
- BioMed Central. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53
- NCBI. Effect of spiced food on metabolic rate.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3957721/
- Mayo Clinic. Does caffeine help with weight loss?https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/caffeine/faq-20058459
- NCBI. Water-induced thermogenesis.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/
How Can a Teen Get a Fast Metabolism? 7 Tips
For many teens, fast metabolism is a given, especially during growth spurts that cause the body to use more energy. However, some teens may suffer from a slower metabolism and can gain an unhealthy amount of weight. Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet can help teens speed up their metabolism.
7 ways teens can speed up their metabolism
1. Do more physical activities
Physical inactivity can cause metabolism to slow down as fewer calories are burned. So teens should resist the temptation to sit on the couch watching TV or playing video games. Exercise can help them increase their basal metabolic rate (BMR), which in turn can help them burn more calories and speed up their metabolism.
Regular physical activity also has the following benefits:
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Regulates blood pressure
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases self-esteem
- Helps with weight management
2. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is integral to a healthy metabolism. This is because lack of sleep can interfere with the way the body processes sugar, which can disrupt hunger-regulating hormones such as ghrelin and leptin. Teens should aim to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night.
3. Eat a nutrient-rich diet
Nutrient-rich foods that can help boost metabolism by improving BMR in a teen include almonds (fatty acids), soy milk (protein and calcium), broccoli (calcium and vitamin C), tomatoes, beans, garlic, etc. Eating plenty of nutritious foods can help keep cravings at bay and improve overall health.
4. Eat more protein and fats
Protein increases metabolic rate more than carbs or fats. Eating more protein can also increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating. Healthy fats found in nuts, avocados, fatty fish, etc. can also help promote a fast metabolism
5. Eat more frequently
Along with a well-balanced diet, eating smaller but more frequent meals throughout the day can help a teen speed up their metabolism. One method is to eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. This can also help combat cravings.
6. Drink more water
Staying hydrated is crucial for optimal metabolism. When toxins build up in the body, it can slow down various bodily functions. Drinking more water can help flush out these toxins and help speed up metabolism.
7. Do resistance training
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. Building muscle by lifting weights can help teens retain muscle mass and increase BMR, which will help them burn more calories even when at rest.
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Medically Reviewed on 3/16/2022
Image Source: iStock Images
Das JK, Salam RA, Thornburg KL, Prentice AM, Campisi S, Lassi ZS, Koletzko B, Bhutta ZA. Nutrition in adolescents: physiology, metabolism, and nutritional needs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Apr;1393(1):21-33. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28436102/
Galgani J, Ravussin E. Energy metabolism, fuel selection and body weight regulation. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008;32 Suppl 7(Suppl 7):S109-S119. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897177/
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13 Tips to Speed Up Your Metabolism
Here’s a secret: slaving away inside your body—right this minute—is your very own personal trainer working tirelessly to help you burn calories and shed fat. It’s called your metabolism, and it’s the sum of everything your body does.
Each time you eat, enzymes in your body’s cells break down the food and turn it into energy that keeps your heart beating, your mind thinking and your legs churning during a grueling workout. The faster your metabolism runs, the more calories you burn. The more you burn, the easier it is to drop pounds. And get this—you can make your metabolism work harder, a lot harder, 24 hours a day.
To some degree, our bodies hum along at a preset speed determined by gender and genetics, but there’s still plenty of wiggle room.
«You have a huge amount of control over your metabolic rate,» says John Berardi, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., author of The Metabolism Advantage. «You can’t affect how many calories it takes to keep your heart beating, but you can burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day by exercising properly and eating right.» And by making a few changes to your routine.
To make those changes simpler, we enlisted the help of leading experts and came up with a round-the-clock, turn-up-the-burn plan complete with new moves that will throw your metabolism into overdrive.
1. Eat a Good Breakfast
If you don’t, your body goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that), so your metabolism slows to a crawl to conserve energy, Berardi says. And the heartier your first meal is, the better.
In one study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over four years. Those who ate zero to 11 percent of their calories in the morning gained nearly three pounds. In another study published in the same journal, volunteers who reported regularly skipping breakfast had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those who took the time to eat.
What should you be having? Morning munchies that are slow to digest and leave you feeling fuller longer. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, like this power breakfast, recommended by Berardi: an omelet made from one egg and two egg whites and a half cup of mixed peppers and onions, plus a half cup of cooked steel-cut oats mixed with a quarter cup of frozen berries and a teaspoon of omega-3-loaded fish oil.
2. Sip Java
Sisterhood of the traveling spill-proof mugs, rejoice! A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee increased 16 percent over that of those who drank decaf.
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing, says Robert Kenefick, Ph.D., a research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Honestly, could there be a more perfect beverage?
3. Guzzle Your Water Cold
Chase your morning joe with an ice-cold glass of H2O. Researchers at the University of Utah found that volunteers who drank 8 to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who quaffed only four glasses.
Your body may burn a few calories heating the cold water to your core temperature, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center. Though the extra calories you burn drinking a single glass doesn’t amount to much, making it a habit can add up to pounds lost with essentially zero additional effort.
4. Pick Protein for Lunch
Cramming protein into every meal helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest, says Donald Layman, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois. Aim for about 30 grams of protein—the equivalent of about one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a four-ounce boneless chicken breast—at each meal. No time to prepare? Opt for protein powder instead.
5. Brew Up Some Green Tea
«It’s the closest thing to a metabolism potion,» says Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D., author of Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever. The brew contains a plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning.
In one study, people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups a day for 12 weeks decreased their body weight by 4.6 percent. According to other studies, consuming two to four cups of green tea per day may torch an extra 50 calories. That translates into about five pounds per year. Not bad for a few bags of leaves, eh? For maximum effect, let your tea steep for three minutes and drink it while it’s still hot.
6. Undo Damage with Dairy
Hey, it happens. There are days when no salad on earth can possibly overcome the seductive power of French fries. But you can make up for it with a calcium-rich afternoon snack, like eight ounces of milk or six ounces of low-fat yogurt.
Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste (yes, that kind), reports a study from the University of Copenhagen. Sorry, supplements don’t have the same effect.
7. Choose the Right Foods
Choose organic produce: You wouldn’t fill your car engine with pesticides, right? Hell, no. Researchers in Canada found that dieters with the most organochlorides (chemicals found in pesticides) stored in their fat cells were the most susceptible to disruptions in mitochondrial activity and thyroid function. Translation: Their metabolism stalled.
Can’t afford a full organic swap? Go to foodnews.org/fulllist for the most (and the least) contaminated foods, then adjust your shopping list accordingly.
Seek heat: It turns out capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Eating about one tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response), according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent.
Stock up on chilies to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red pepper flakes on hand for topping pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.
Grab some metal: Women lose iron during their period every month. That can throw a wrench into your metabolic machine, because iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don’t get enough O2, your energy tanks, and your metabolism sputters, Shames says.
Stock up on iron—fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, and broccoli.
8. Try Interval Training
You’re always looking for a way to shorten your workout, right? Well, step up your intensity and you’ll burn the same number of calories or more in less time.
In one Australian study, female volunteers either rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes at a steady pace or for 20 minutes of intervals, alternating eight seconds of sprints and 12 seconds of easy pedaling. After 15 weeks, those who incorporated the sprints into their cardio workouts had lost three times as much body fat—including thigh and core flab— compared with those who exercised at a steady pace.
Bursts of speed may stimulate a fat-burning response within the muscles, says lead researcher Ethlyn Gail Trapp, Ph.D. Whether you ride, run, or row, try ramping things up to rev your burn: Start by doing three eight-second all-out, can’t-talk sprints with 12 seconds at an easy pace between each effort. Work your way up until you can do 10 sprints over 20 minutes.
9. Slow It Down in the Gym with Tempo Reps
This isn’t easy, but when you strength train, count to three as you lower the weight back to the start position. Slowing things down increases the breakdown of muscle tissue—yeah, it sounds bad, but all that damage you’re incurring is actually a good thing. The repair process pumps up your metabolism for as long as 72 hours after your session, according to researchers at Wayne State University.
But pass on those featherweight dumbbells—you need to use weights that are heavy enough that you struggle to complete the final few reps.
10. Incorporate Fish-Oil Supplements
Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes, reports a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Volunteers took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times a week. After 12 weeks, they’d lost an average of 3.4 pounds, while those who exercised exclusively saw minimal shrinkage. Look for brands containing at least 300 milligrams of the fatty acid EPA and 200 milligrams of the fatty acid DHA per capsule. Pop two of these two hours before your workout.
11. Eat Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines are loaded with hunger-quashing omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help trigger the rapid transfer of «I’m full» signals to your brain, according to the National Institutes of Health. Bonus: A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon nets you 90 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin D, which will help preserve your precious calorie-craving, metabolism-stoking muscle tissue.
12. Cut Back on Alcohol
Another reason not to over indulge—knocking back the equivalent of just two mixed drinks (or two glasses of wine or two bottles of beer) puts the brakes on fat burning by a whopping 73 percent. That’s because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate and starts using that as fuel instead of your fat stores, report researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.
13. Get More Sleep
When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin — hormones that help regulate energy use and appetite — that your body produces. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who snoozed fewer than 7.5 hours per night experienced an increase in their body mass index. So make sure you get at least eight hours of rest.
Race Against Time
Beat the downshift in metabolism that comes with aging: With each passing decade, a woman’s metabolism slows by about 5 percent. Hormones play a role, but mostly it’s because as you get older, you typically become less active. As a result, you lose muscle mass, a major consumer of all those calories you scarf down.
So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25; by age 65 you’ll burn 500 fewer, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh. You can outsmart Mother Nature with the tips provided. Here’s what happens if you don’t:
20s: Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak.
30s: Your mitochondria—cellular powerhouses that fuel muscles to use more oxygen and burn more energy—become less effective.
40s: A drop in estrogen production further slows metabolism.
50s: Sharp decreases in activity reduce the levels of hormones responsible for maintaining lean muscle mass and bone density.
What foods increase your metabolism?
High-protein foods and mineral-rich foods are great for boosting metabolism. Tea, coffee, ginger, cacao, beans, and chili peppers are also great choices. Keeping track of food intake each day might help determine which foods to add and cut from your current diet.
What are the signs of a slow metabolism?
You may feel exhausted or constantly fatigued, even after lots of sleep. You may also experience weight gain, constipation, depression, hair thinning, and dry skin.
Why is my metabolism so slow?
Some people actually slow their metabolism by trying to restrict calories too much. When your body can’t access calories for energy, it starts to break down muscle for energy. Losing muscle mass in turn slows the metabolism. Consuming fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help improve your metabolism, as well as incorporating strength training.
At what age does metabolism slow down?
Metabolism starts to slow down once you hit your 20s, but often isn’t noticeable until between the ages of 40 and 60.
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