Hacking your Metabolism – Spoiler Alert, there is no“Easy Way.”
If we had a dollar for every time we saw an advertisement for a product that claimed to “boost” your metabolism, we’d be rich! While your metabolism is incredibly important to weight loss and managing your body’s composition, keeping it in tip-top shape is a little bit more complicated than just taking a supplement.
What is your Metabolism?
Let’s start with the basics. In super simple terms, metabolism refers to the countless chemical processes going on continuously inside of your body that allow life and your body to function normally. It runs 24/7/365, even when you’re sleeping and resting. Your metabolism affects gut health, hormone production, skin, hair, fertility, and other chemical processes in your body. Essentially, all the good stuff.
Your metabolism is incredibly adaptable. As you gain or lose weight, your metabolism adapts to those changes. If you’re working out more and putting on more lean muscle, your metabolism will start to rev up. Your metabolism will adjust to the changes that your body makes, so keeping yourself active and eating healthy will only help.
What Impacts Your Metabolism?
We hate to break it to you, but your metabolism has a lot to do with your genes. Thanks, mom and dad! However, as you age your metabolism begins to slow down. Even if you always had a fast one, the older you get the less quickly it's going to work.
Gender also plays a role in metabolism. Men generally have less body fat and faster metabolism than women do. People who are physically larger tend to burn more calories, even at rest.
We can see the difference between metabolism speeds in how easy it is for someone to lose weight and alternatively how quickly some people can gain. A slow metabolism burns fewer calories, which means fat is being stored in the body.
This is a huge reason why some people have trouble losing weight by just cutting calories. A fast metabolism burns calories quicker, which is why some people can eat more and not gain weight as easily as others. It’s generally genetic, but once you understand what type of metabolism you have, it’s easier to manipulate it.
When it comes to things that impact your metabolism negatively, crash-dieting, and eating too little can also slow your metabolism down. To boost your metabolism, you need to be consuming enough kilojoules - which is energy. This is why we encourage not restricting carbs or food in general. Low calorie and low carb do not necessarily equal weight loss.
Studies have shown that when you are persistently deficient or in excess of the energy needed to maintain your metabolism, it can actually cause cellular stress that can lead to metabolic syndromes and tissue damage.
How do you Manipulate it?
Weight gain isn’t solely based on metabolism, let’s start there. As we know, diet and exercise play a crucial role in your weight, sometimes even more than your metabolism. Strength training is a great route for boosting your metabolism and weight loss because it builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat does. As your body works to repair the muscle that you stressed during your training sessions, you’re burning even more calories–even when you’re resting.
This is different from cardio, when the calories burned stop when the treadmill stops. Consistent strength training and building lean muscle can keep your metabolism boosted even when you aren’t actively in a sweat session, so you can say goodbye to endless hours on the treadmill.
If you really want to “boost” your metabolism, putting on lean muscle mass is the way to go.
Lean muscle tissue burns kilojoules more rapidly which is one of the ways weight loss happens. One of the best ways to build lean muscle is to lift heavy and push yourself! Your body needs a challenge in order to get to that lean muscle machine point. So, you’ll notice when you do an FBK program that we keep things changing so that your body is challenged and most importantly making positive progress.
Gaining lean muscle through this route with the proper nutrition and cardio added to it will create a sustainable metabolism that will keep you healthy, give you energy, and help maintain your muscle mass.
It’s important to really emphasize in what way your nutrition can impact your metabolism. As we said previously, eating just enough to fuel your metabolism is your goal. However, just like anything else in the health and fitness world, a lot of your results will come from how you’re fueling your body.
For your metabolism to really be kicked into shape, you’re going to want to follow a nutritional diet that emphasizes quality over quantity. Something that is high in nutrient diversity but low in energy density is what you’ll be looking for. Excessive sugar intake may impact your metabolism negatively, whereas foods that decrease inflammation like leafy greens, avocados, berries, ginger, etc. can help you maintain a healthy metabolism.
Lastly, another way to help rev it up a bit is to focus on HIIT training. Adding some high-intensity interval training (especially during your cardio days!) to your routine will challenge your heart rate and keep you burning calories long after your workout.
FBK recommends three 20-minute sessions of cardio a week. So if you’re shooting to get that metabolism going and also work your body, this is a great way to do it. All of what we mentioned above plus the natural metabolism boost and following a sustainable, healthy nutrition plan is bound to be your key to success.
Metabolism shouldn’t be your main focus when you’re starting a fitness routine. It’s all about slow and controlled changes that lead to a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain. Adding lean muscle by lifting and throwing in some HIIT workouts is sure to keep your metabolism at a steady pace.