by Will Grumke August 04, 2020 6 min read
Are you unhappy with how you look? Are the few extra pounds around your middle stubbornly holding on? Do you want to lose weight and keep it off?
If you do, keep reading.
Because you are certainly not alone. In a lot of cases, people attribute weight gain, and difficulty of losing weight to an issue with their metabolism. But is it really?
And if it is a metabolism "issue" ... can you reset your metabolism?
Well, let’s start by talking about why your metabolism is important in the first place.
Metabolism describes the processes and chemical reactions that your body goes through to stay alive.
It’s when the body converts food, oxygen, and water into energy. This process burns calories and creates energy.
What most people are concerned with is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR.) This is the rate in which your body completes these processes while at rest.
Understanding how your metabolism works is important in order to reach your fitness goals. There are many factors that contribute to metabolic rate.
Some factors that contribute to the metabolic rate cannot be controlled. Genetics is one of them and hormones (to some extent) can be another one. Both play a huge role in how your metabolism works.
You can look at your parents and other family members for clues on how your metabolism works.
Other factors such as age, gender, nutrition, workouts, activity levels, water consumption, body composition, and much more all affect the metabolic rate as well.
Women and older people tend to have slower metabolic rates. Men and people who have higher muscle mass percentages tend to have faster metabolic rates.
Knowing this, you can better understand your personal metabolic rate and make adjustments to your lifestyle accordingly.
Now, I don't like the term "reset" because I think it gives the wrong impression.
Your metabolism is not something like a wifi router that when it's running slow or not working as you want, you can just hit reset or unplug it ... wait three minutes ... plug it back in to reset it and have lightning fast internet again.
Instead, let's use the terminology ... improve your metabolism.
So can you "reset" your metabolism ... not really. Can you improve your metabolism? Yes!
There are 3 main ways to improve your metabolism: change your food, switch up your exercise, and create positive lifestyle habits.
For the rest of this article, we’ll dive into the different methods for improving your metabolism. Use what works for you.
That could be one of the following, all of the following, or just a few of them.
You might even already be doing some of these things and that's great!
If so, I would recommend that you look for what you’re lacking and make those into new habits.
Doing so would have the best chance of improving your metabolism.
Water is an essential part of metabolic processes. Water distributes nutrients and removes toxins and waste from the body after the metabolic processes have finished.
Without it, your metabolic rate slows. Therefore, consuming a minimum of 100 to 120 oz of water a day is a great starting point for helping to improve your metabolism!
As mentioned above, nutrition plays a big role in your metabolism.
Inside of your nutrition plan, consuming enough protein every day is very beneficial for healthy metabolic functions as well as other things.
For example, protein (and all foods) requires your body to use energy to break down and digest it.
The number of calories needed by your body to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meals is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
Protein has the highest TEF out of the three main macronutrients you consume: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats.
It also takes your body a longer time to break protein down, so you will feel full longer.
This will help you stick to your diet and nutrition plan and help keep cravings at bay.
Protein also provides the body nutrients needed to have energy and rebuild itself.
Superfoods are foods that are typically full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and enzymes that your body can utilize to help it operate more efficiently.
Examples include spirulina, beets, alfalfa sprouts, berries, broccoli, wheat grass, and spinach.
These foods not only fight free radicals, but give you the nutrients needed to keep your metabolism moving fast.
Iodine is essential in metabolic processes. Your thyroid needs adequate amounts of iodine (which is a very small amount, but still hard to get into your diet) for proper metabolic function.
By eating foods such as shrimp or seaweed you can help ensure that you are getting the necessary amount of iodine in your diet ... but how often do you actually eat those foods?
If you don’t work out, start today.
Exercise can be as simple as taking the stairs at work or walking a few blocks.
Any type of exercise is better than nothing.
Just moving your body will burn calories and help you create the caloric deficit you need to lose weight.
There are other favorable benefits of exercising such as better energy levels, improved circulation, better sleep, and many more!
HIIT is a high-intensity interval training workout.
There are some great advantages to doing H.I.I.T. cardio for both fat loss and muscle growth.
One benefit of H.I.I.T. is that it elevates metabolic rate for 24-72 hours after exercise whereas steady-state cardio typically doesn’t.
This is due to E.P.O.C. (excess post oxygen consumption) and revolves around the body working to restore itself back to a resting state after exercise by repairing muscle tissue, breaking down lactic acid, and restoration of hormones.
H.I.I.T. signals muscular adaptations similar to weight training, meaning it promotes muscle growth as well as helping to preserve the muscle you already have.
The final popular advantage of H.I.I.T. cardio – TIME.
Many people find it hard to make time to walk on a treadmill for 45-60 minutes when they can do 5 to 10 H.I.I.T. intervals and be done in 5-10 minutes. That advantage is big with gym-goers who are on a tight schedule.
Resistance training is your pathway to getting stronger, promoting lean muscle growth and to some extent getting leaner.
Sure, you can get super lean doing lots of cardio and endurance style exercise routines, but this does very little to keep what muscle you have.
Muscle tissue burns more calories every day than fatty tissue does. So promoting lean muscle growth and maintaining the muscle you have can help improve your metabolism and help you gain definition at the same time.
As a result, if you’re not doing resistance training, you should! It can be weightlifting, CrossFit, Bodyweight, Fitness Bootcamps, or other workout types!
Your body needs rest to perform properly.
Listen to your body and make sure you get enough shut-eye.
Late-night distractions such as phones and TV are often the culprits of sleep loss. Once you climb in bed, put any and all distractions away. I call this sleeping with a purpose.
Not just going to bed, scrolling through InstaGram ... waiting to drift off to sleep, but instead having an evening routine that sets you up for quality sleep every night.
Stress places extra pressure on your body.
During extended periods of time, this extra pressure can lead to unfavorable changes in hormones, recovery, and other crucial aspects that influence metabolism.
Therefore, working to handle stress more effectively and de-stressing could help improve your metabolism!
Ask a friend or a family member to help alleviate some of the stressors in your life.
You could also find and participate in stress-relieving activities such as yoga, going for a walk, taking a mini-break during your workday, meditation, and more!
This is what it all really comes down to for improving your metabolism.
As you can see, there are many different ways to improve your metabolism.
You do not need to do anything drastic.
Small changes to the types of food you eat, ways in which you exercise and your daily habits can help you improve your metabolism, burn extra calories, and lose that extra weight.
If you need help making these changes, or have questions about your specific situation and goals, please don't hesitate to reach out!
You can pick up the phone and call us at 1-800-409-9732, Monday through Friday, 6am - 10pm CST and talk to a real person here at 1st Phorm HQ to help you, all for free!
You can also email in at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com and one of our team members here will get back to you right away!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer