Metabolism is the rate at which the body converts calories from food and drink into energy.
While everyone’s metabolic rate varies to some degree, there are ways to influence metabolic function and give your metabolism a boost to burn more fat throughout the day.
Understanding which habits influence your metabolism enables you to make smarter decisions to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to burning calories.
Let’s take a look at three ways to increase your metabolic rate and shed those unwanted pounds naturally.
How does intermittent fasting affect metabolism?
You may be familiar with the trend of intermittent fasting (IF).
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves restricting food intake for extended periods.
A common practice of intermittent fasting involves the 16/8 rule.
This eating pattern allows for eating during a window of 8 hours and eliminates any food intake during the remaining 16 hours of the day.
The time spent eating is often referred to as the feeding window and the restricted hours are known as the fasting window.
An example of intermittent fasting might look like this:
- Feeding window: 12 pm-8 pm
- Fasting window: 8 pm-12 pm (the following day)
Intermittent fasting has become a popular method of dieting because it is highly effective at burning fat quickly.
One thing that makes IF very different from traditional diets is it doesn’t require you to count calories.
Many people see great results with this method of fasting without tracking calories.
During the fasting period, the body begins to burn stored fat to produce energy.
Studies show that intermittent fasting has a positive impact on metabolic rate, increasing the body’s ability to burn stored fat.
One reason IF is so beneficial for weight loss is because there is a correlation between intermittent fasting and improved balance of specific fat-burning hormones. These hormones include insulin, norepinephrine, and human growth hormone (HGH).
For more information on intermittent fasting and it’s health benefits you can follow this beginners guide.
Muscle mass and metabolism
The benefits of increased muscle mass go far beyond the ability to look great flexing your biceps.
The more muscle we have, the more efficient our bodies are at burning calories.
More muscle tissue equates to a higher resting metabolic rate, which means burning more calories even while the body is at rest.
While a pound of fat tissue burns roughly two calories, a pound of muscle tissue is 3X as effective by burning six calories a day to sustain itself.
The more muscle our bodies have, the better equipped they are at maintaining a faster metabolism as we age.
Weight-lifting is an excellent way to burn calories, and the muscle it produces burns more calories while the body is at rest. It’s a win/win!
Studies show that increased muscle mass is critical as we age because it protects the body against pathologic conditions and chronic diseases through positively impacting the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
Women may be more inclined to stick with cardio and neglect strength training, but increased muscle mass is important for both men and women.
Ultimately, building and sustaining muscle mass for both men and women contributes to a healthier and stronger physique.
The benefits of HIIT for metabolic rate
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become all the rage over the last decade and for good reasons.
It’s incredibly useful at blasting fat in a short amount of time.
What makes HIIT different from traditional cardio is the intensity at which it is performed.
HIIT involves short bursts of energy followed by states of moderate to low intensity.
One of my favorite methods of HIIT is sprints on the treadmill.
To perform this exercise follow these guidelines:
- Begin with a low-intensity warm-up: 3-5 minutes
- Moderate intensity jog: 1.5-2 minutes
- High intensity full out sprint: 20-30 seconds
- Repeat this pattern of jog/sprint: 3-6X
- Finish with a cool-down: 5 minutes
This short, but incredibly effective HIIT routine will blast fat, significantly raise your heart rate, and bring about a full-on sweat session.
HIIT is a fitness favorite because it only requires 15-20 minutes of exercise, and the benefits are incredible.
I have seen amazing changes in my body ever since implementing HIIT into my fitness routine.
I prefer to perform this sequence twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Keep in mind HIIT is taxing on the body, so I recommend spacing it out and only performing this form of exercise one to two times per week to avoid injury.
While it’s no secret that some people hit the genetic jackpot when it comes to a fast metabolism, there are ways to influence your body’s ability to burn fat more effectively.
Through implementing one or all of these tips, you can set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle that has you looking and feeling your best.