4 Proven Ways To Boost Your Metabolism
You’ve heard these phrases before: “fast metabolism” and “slow metabolism”, but how do you actually increase your metabolic rate? Firstly before we begin on the 4 proven ways to boost your metabolism it’s important to recognise that it doesn’t matter how much you “boost your metabolism” if you’re still eating too much unhealthy food, you’re still going to struggle to lose weight, period.
Your personal basal metabolic rate describes how many calories you burn by simply going about your normal day.
The only truly significant way you can increase this and do nothing while you burn more calories is to add muscle onto your frame.
Now you don’t have to become the world’s next bodybuilding champion, but it’s important to gain at least some muscle on your body, no matter who you are. Muscle is metabolically active tissue.
This means that the more muscle in proportion to fat you have on your body, the more calories you’re going to be burning essentially by doing nothing (1).
I like the analogy of comparing muscle to passive income. Once you build a foundation of muscle, or in this case a business, the revenue starts to flow in and some of the work for you.
How do you increase muscle mass?
Lifting weights are what first times to mind. There are some fantastic programs out there that have worked for thousands. Personally, I think that to add on muscle it’s important to first establish a solid baseline of strength. Programs such as Stronglifts 5×5 can be a great way to do this.
When I was a teenager I was into bodybuilding, then I moved into powerlifting, which was both awesome, but over time I found that what truly worked for me and also clients I’ve trained is mastering one’s bodyweight. This means lots of pull-ups, dips, push-ups and other calisthenic exercise variations.
There are a lot of improvements which can be made by simply using your own bodyweight and furthermore I’ve found the rate of injury compared to heavy lifting is low if done right.
High-intensity interval training (such as sprinting) can also be a great way to increase muscle in your lower body as well as increase your metabolic rate after you’re finished with the exercise itself.
Increase Your Insulin Sensitivity
You’ve heard of insulin before. Insulin resistance is bad. Insulin sensitivity is good. We want insulin to be working correctly. But low insulin doesn’t always mean high insulin sensitivity.
People who are lean athletic and healthy are generally much more insulin sensitive due to the habits they often have. People who live longer generally have low insulin levels, while the obese often are very insulin resistant.
Insulin resistance basically means that insulin isn’t doing its job properly. Insulin shuttles glucose through tissue and cells in the body and when one is insulin resistant, blood sugar increases far too much on a regular basis as insulin isn’t “unlocking” the lock to the body.
It’s made in your pancreas and helps move sugar from your blood into your cells for storage. When cells are insulin resistant, they can’t use insulin effectively, leaving your blood sugar high.
Here’s how to increase your insulin sensitivity:
• Sleep for at least 7 hours and no more than 9
• Anaerobic and aerobic exercise
• Reduce and preferably eliminate refined carbohydrates, like sugar, refined grains, flour
• Sleep between 7-9 hours
• Reduce your stress levels
• Increase soluble fibre
• Use cinnamon
• Use organic apple cider vinegar
• Avoid trans fats at all costs
• Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is restriction your caloric consumption (but not necessarily the amount) to certain eating windows during the day. A common example is LeanGains, characterised by eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours.
Intermittent fasting has a number of health benefits. One of the most significant is the ability to fast to increase your insulin sensitivity as well as kick-start autophagy.
Most people think frequency meals increases your metabolism, but this is a very outdated idea. Fasting is actually what increases your metabolism, albeit not by much, but studies have shown it to increase one’s metabolic rate by between 3.6-14% (1, 2).
One study in 11 healthy men found that a 3-day fast actually increased their metabolism by an impressive 14% (3).
This increase is thought to be due to the rise in the hormone norepinephrine, which promotes fat burning.
The activities and habits which come with the goal of increasing insulin sensitivity will all contribute to the greater health and with this a stronger and faster metabolism.
Consume Thermogenic Foods
Some foods have a larger thermic effect on the body. This means they utilise more energy.
Protein is a very commonly cited one. Meat or fish increase the metabolism by between 15%-30% (4).
However, too much protein is going to cause problems such as constipation and increased risks for certain cancers.
If you’re an average person then you really don’t ever need more than 0.9 pounds per bodyweight unless you’re in a heavy caloric deficit.
My personal recommendation for protein consumption is between 0.77-0.95 grams per pound of bodyweight, depending on your gender, exercise frequency, the significance of your caloric deficit and also how long you’ve been in a caloric deficit.
Lentils and beans are great too, but they just don’t have the same effect on your metabolism that meat does.
Caffeine is actually well known as one of these thermogenesis kick-starters and I recommend consuming a cup of coffee if it sits well with your body while fasting. It has been shown to boost the metabolism by up to 11% in some cases (5, 6).
Green tea is my recommendation over coffee. I mean I still enjoy coffee daily myself as it has benefits of its own, but it can become addictive and green tea is the best alternative. L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea will relax you and counter the adrenal effects caffeine has, green tea also has a lot of antioxidants and flavonoids which are extremely healthy.
Cold water can also positively affect your metabolism, both drinking it immersing yourself in it.
Now one of the most cited foods to boost your metabolism is spicy foods (7). Peppers like chills really do work and there are countless benefits to eating spicy foods in general. However, this isn’t enough in itself to cancel your gym membership and add a spicy sauce to your favourite potato chips.
Now you’ve also likely heard of zero calorie foods like celery because the prices of digestion take more energy than the energy consumed by the food.
Examples of “zero calories” foods tend to be anything green and super high in fibre. You should be eating a lot of these for a number of phytonutrients they contain and especially if you’re doing fasting or the ketogenic diet where magnesium becomes particularly important to consume in the right amounts.
Take Care Of Your Gut Microbiome
The diversity of your gut is extremely important for maintaining your health. Too much sugar promotes yeast and bad bacteria in the gut and too many antibiotic rounds causes a decrease in good bacteria which we want.
Taking a probiotic supplement, eating fermented foods like tempeh, yoghurt (if you tolerate it) kimchi, are all great for introducing beneficial bacteria.
The problem here is that many people have ruined their healthy gut bacteria and digestive enzymes by eating too many processed foods, consuming too much sugar, and even doing necessary antibiotic rounds that introduce bad kinds of bacteria into the body.
There have been studies from the technical university of Denmark showing that mice who received gut bacteria from obese people gain more weight than from normal subjects (8). Our gut health is absolutely fundamental to our overall health.
Include prebiotics in your diet, this is a special kind of fibre, eat a wide variety of vegetables as well as the skin on fruits and vegetables and you should be getting enough.
• Build more muscle by either doing weight training, callisthenics (bodyweight) and/or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Focus on increasing your insulin sensitivity, by doing so indirectly through practices such as fasting your metabolism will increase.
• Focus on increasing your insulin sensitivity, by doing so indirectly through practices such as fasting your metabolism will increase.
• Eat thermogenic foods, such as caffeine (green tea and coffee) cold water, spicy food, more protein (but not too much).
• Take care of your gut health. Consume both prebiotics and probiotics and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.