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How To Speed Up Your Metabolism

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Are you trying to lose the weight and keep it off? One big key to keeping the weight off for good is to speed up your body’s metabolism! The main problem with quick weight loss programs is that your metabolism never really changes and you end up gaining back more weight than you lost!

Metabolism is basically the rate at which your body burns calories. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you'd burn if you did nothing all day (or the amount of calories your body needs to maintain itself).

The starting point for determining your daily caloric needs starts with your BMR. You need to know your BMR if you are attempting to burn fat and lose weight. If you maintain a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), you will gain weight and fat no matter how fast your metabolism hums.

Here’s an example:

Your BMR is 1800 and you use another 800 calories through exercise and daily activity (a total of 2600 calories). If you consume 2000 calories during the day, you would have a caloric deficit of 600. This will cause you to lose weight for the day. If you continue this pattern, you will lose weight every day. It is important not to starve your body or you will get the opposite effect of what you want. Starvation will cause your body to conserve energy and store fat. For instance, if you consumed 1500 calories, you would not even meet your BMR needs. This amount (1100 caloric deficit) is unhealthy and will cause fat storage and a host of other health problems if continued. This type of deprivation can also lead to loss of muscle mass.

Speaking of muscle mass, you need to build it on your body to burn fat (lose inches), lose weight, tone your body and permanently speed up your metabolism. This happens because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle. One pound of muscle can burn up to 50 extra calories in a day.

Don’t become obsessed by the weight scale (a scale junkie)! When you start an exercise program, your weight might even go up a little because you are building muscle mass (muscle weighs more than fat)! Focus instead on inches lost and the way your clothes fit. A body that is toning up is an indication that you are burning fat. The weight loss will follow suit—and it will stay off as long as you continue your regular exercise and follow your meal plan.

As for your meal plan, the type of food you consume and the timing of your nutrition is very important for your metabolism. Your body needs adequate amounts of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) to function properly. Although there are times when tactics like carbohydrate cycling can be an effective short-term weight loss tool, don’t start with this strategy.

There are many myths about your body’s metabolism that are floating out there. Here is what you need to know:

1. Some factors that influence the speed of your metabolism are:

a) Your age. Your metabolism may slow down about 5% per decade after age 40 if you are sedentary.
b) Gender. Men generally burn more calories at rest than women.
c) Your proportion of muscle mass to fat mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be.
d) Heredity plays a part in your body's rate of metabolism.
e) Thyroid problems may also cause your metabolism to slow down.

2. The more overweight you are, the faster your metabolism will be. This happens because your body must work harder to maintain itself. That is also why it is easier to lose weight in the beginning of a fat loss/weight loss program. Your metabolism is running so high that any cut in calories will result in quick weight losses.

3. A slow or sluggish metabolism is not the major cause of weight gain. A caloric imbalance is the cause of weight gain (consuming more calories than you burn in a day).

4. Regular weight training (building muscle mass) and cardio exercise will give you a higher metabolic rate. Also, you don’t have to “get bulky,” just toned!

5. Sweating is not a gauge of how many calories you are burning! This may be bad news for sauna and steam room lovers! Weight loss or gain is a product of calories consumed or burned. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight and vice-versa.

6. The best time to exercise is whenever you have the most energy! Working out at any time of the day will increase metabolism for several hours, depending on intensity.

7. Your metabolism doesn't necessarily have to slow down as you get older. Regular weight training will keep your metabolism "revved up" throughout your life.

8. Eating smaller, frequent meals (every 3-4 hours) will keep your metabolism "revved up" during the day. Your metabolism will slow down if there are too many hours between meals (to conserve energy).

Also, there is no significant evidence showing that eating certain foods/drinks such as peppers and green tea will speed your metabolism for a long period of time. Your best bet is to eat smaller, frequent meals.

For as long as you live, stay active and exercise---your metabolism will follow suit!

Mark Dilworth, Certified Personal Trainer
Her Fitness Hut http://herfitnesshut.com

Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I noticed you mentioned saunas and steam rooms (kudos to you for not suggesting people use them as part of their weight loss regimen), and I feel it's important to make it crystal clear...saunas and steam rooms will not help you to lose weight, and using them for such a purpose is very, very dangerous!

Any weight lost while using a sauna or steam room is merely water weight (from sweating), and will be regained as soon as enough liquids are consumed. Failure to replace those lost liquids results in dehydration, and that is incredibly dangerous.

The only way to really lose weight is through proper diet and exercise. Good luck!!

Almost Heaven Group

November 13, 2009 - 8:34pm

Love your article, your attitude and the thorough, detailed info. How does one go about figuring out or finding out what their BMR is?

September 15, 2009 - 8:35am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Thank you Diane for the comment! You can determine your BMR with an online calculator. Just do a search on "BMR calculator" and you'll find plenty.

September 15, 2009 - 11:44pm
EmpowHER Guest

Gaining muscle mass is the only way to increase your basic metabolic rate

How to Exercise Throughout Your Day

September 10, 2009 - 10:17am

Well, I'm a scale junkie; battling menopausal weight gain; but also working with my personal trainer, while in training for another marathon. I joked with one of my colleagues at work that, with all the strength/weight training I'm doing, my arms should look like Arnold's (the "Governator"), LOL!

Love your common sense approach :))

September 9, 2009 - 5:23pm
(reply to alysiak)

Thanks for the comment Alysiak! Keep lifting the weights and have a great marathon run! Try to weigh yourself "only" once a week :)

September 12, 2009 - 9:29pm

I agree with the weight training. I used to be scared that lifting weights would bulk me up, especially my thighs which I am paranoid about, being a 'pear' shape. I have been lifting small weights for over 2 years now and am amazed at how much I can eat and stay the same size. The definition in my arms has been an added bonus!

September 9, 2009 - 5:15pm
(reply to Kellie - My Health Software)

You're so right Kellie! Keep working hard and sculpting your body! And, take a friend with you to workout and do the same things you are doing!

September 12, 2009 - 9:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

Love your articles, good scientific common sense based on fact not hype.

September 9, 2009 - 5:01pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for the visit and comment!

September 12, 2009 - 9:22pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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