The technical definition of metabolism is the sum of all the chemical and physical changes that take place within the body and enable its continued growth and functioning. Metabolism involves the breakdown of complex organic constituents of the body with the liberation of energy, which is required for other processes and the building up of complex substances, which form the material of the tissues and organs.
One advantage to having a higher metabolism is that you can consume more food or exercise less to achieve the same results. A higher metabolism implies your body is expending more energy. Therefore, you can take on more energy in the form of food while maintaining your shape or even losing fat. While any one of the following techniques may only impact your metabolism a small bit, the cumulative effect can have a major impact.
1. Train With Weights
Training with weights boosts your metabolism in a number of ways. Weight training itself has been shown to increase exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC) – in other words, your metabolism may be raised for hours or even days after the session. Weight training is also the main way to stimulate the growth of muscle tissue.
Muscle tissue is metabolically active, so it requires calories even when at rest. Muscle tissue also helps increase the number of fat-burning enzymes and organelles in your body.
2. Supplement With Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are involved in the manufacture of hormones and repair of cell membranes in your body. With the right types of fats, your body can use these anabolically.
These processes require energy, so the fats may actually increase your metabolism despite the added calories you are consuming! You can add fats to your diet without increasing calories simply by increasing the percentage of calories from fats and then lowering the percentage of calories from carbohydrates or proteins.
3. Don’t Fear Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Using the right types of carbohydrates can be a valuable tool for your metabolism.
For example, you may expend more calories consuming 20 grams of carbohydrate from lentils than 20 grams of carbohydrate from sugar. The lentils contain fiber and other nutrients that the body must work to extract, and therefore expends more energy. Look for fibrous, low-glycemic carbs and focus on unprocessed carbohydrates.
4. Increase Protein
Protein requires a complex chemical conversion by your body in order to be used as fuel. It takes up to 30% of the calories you consume to oxidize or use protein for energy.
For example, 100 calories of protein may take up to 30 calories to process. Therefore, increasing the percentage of calories in your diet that come from protein may help raise your metabolism.
5. Perform High Intensity Cardio
High intensity cardio, like weight training, takes you into the anaerobic zone of training. This, in turn, creates what is known as “oxygen debt.” Even when you have concluded your exercise, the body is processing waste and recovering from the activity – and therefore keeping your metabolism elevated.
6. Increase Frequency Of Eating
Most bodybuilders are aware of this technique. Consuming food triggers digestion, and digestion requires calories. By eating more frequent, smaller meals, you continuously supply your body with nutrients while forcing it to digest and break down the foods. This, in turn, can have the net effect of raising your metabolism.
7. Eat Whole Foods
The calories that you burn during digestion are due to the need for your body to break down the foods. Your body must extract the fiber and nutrients, take chains of molecules and chop them into smaller versions to absorb them into your bloodstream, and perform a variety of tasks in order to assimilate foods.
When foods are processed, much of this work is done for you. For example, processed flour is ground into small pieces that the body can digest more quickly. This means your blood sugar rises faster and your body expends fewer calories processing the flour.
8. Drink Cold Water
This tip is probably overrated. Your body will expend more calories trying to raise cold water to the temperature of your body, but the exact amount is debatable. It stands to reason, however, that integrating this habit with the other habits listed above can contribute to the greater goal of raising your metabolism.