When your computer starts slowing down or acting up, chances are you’ll turn it off and turn it back on again. Restarting it seems to do the trick most often. And, sometimes, a reset is just what's needed to fix your problems and start fresh.
And while there’s no on/off switch for your metabolism, there are ways to trigger a metabolic reset for your overall wellness when your body’s system becomes sluggish. If you’ve been thinking, “I need to find out how to reset my metabolism,” you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at metabolic rate, the factors that affect it, and what you can do to take control of your metabolism.
The truth is that while your metabolism plays an important role in regulating body weight, it’s not the only factor to consider. You’ll also have to examine the correlation between stress and weight gain as well as sleep and its role in weight loss. Some may even experience hormonal weight gain.
With that in mind, the road to your optimal weight starts with understanding the possible causes of weight gain and weight loss—including your metabolism.
Your metabolism is like the power plant of your body. The complicated internal process that converts calories from meals into energy is known as metabolizing. Whenever you eat or drink, your body converts this fuel into the energy you expend throughout the day.
When you do anything that requires energy, your metabolism kicks in. But even at rest, your body burns calories for survival. Unconscious actions like breathing and digesting food demand a certain amount of energy. This ever-present base level of energy expenditure is called your resting metabolic rate.
There are some aspects of your metabolism that you can control (which we’ll discuss later), but there are also factors inherently tied to your biology. These include:
Body type: It’s important to understand that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat cells. Therefore, those with a more muscular body composition typically have a higher resting metabolic rate than those with less muscle and more fat. Likewise, a larger body typically has a higher resting metabolic rate than a petite one.
Age: A study published in a 2021 issue of Science debunked the notion that our metabolism slows in adulthood as we age. Aging does slow metabolism, but not until the age of sixty or so.
Sex: As males tend to have more muscle mass than females of the same weight and age, their metabolisms will typically run faster.
Hormones: Hormones and weight gain are inextricably connected, especially when it comes to your metabolism. While it’s possible to alter the balance of hormones in your body through hormone therapy and other programs, their levels are largely out of your control. Hormones like leptin and ghrelin are crucial in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Because the body stores excess calories as fat, the rate at which your body metabolizes food and drink—both at rest and during your HIIT workout or any other exercise—is critical to sustained weight loss and breaking any weight loss plateaus.
Without oversimplifying, a fast, healthy metabolism makes it easier to burn more calories than you consume. This deficit means a quick metabolism can help with weight loss—though it’s certainly not the only answer to shedding pounds.
Similarly, a slow metabolism isn’t doing you any favors if you want to lose weight. Your body still takes the energy it needs from your diet, but if it can’t process all the calories fast enough, the excess may become fat, and you may find yourself putting on weight.
People with slow metabolisms are at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to weight loss.
Luckily, metabolism is far from an unchangeable force.
As mentioned, your metabolic rate changes around the age of sixty. As you age, your skeletal musculature’s volume can decrease, and your percentage of body fat can increase due to this metabolic function slowdown. The decline of your metabolic rate may be due to various factors, hormonal or otherwise.
The good news is that your metabolism can also change for the better.
While a change in metabolism doesn’t happen overnight, lifestyle changes, effort, and conscious decision-making can influence—or even reset—your metabolic rate.
Since your metabolic rate influences your weight, restarting your metabolism can be an essential to your weight care journey. And while there aren’t any magic potions or quick-fix solutions, metabolic improvement is possible.
Below, we’ll cover how to restart your metabolism in four steps.
You may have noticed a trend earlier: the more muscles you have, the higher your metabolic rate. This truth means that building muscle is one way to restart your metabolism.
Next, we’ll cover the exercises to incorporate into your lifestyle and the metabolic benefits that come with them.
Incorporating some strength training into your workout routine is a terrific way to fire up your metabolism.
Building muscle can increase your resting metabolic rate in the long run.
You may also benefit from a short boost in metabolic rate post-workout.
One small study of young women found a 4.2% increase in resting metabolic rate even 16 hours after exercise.
Strength training can have both short- and long-term value in a metabolic reset.
Just like with strength training, a short cardio workout has immediate benefits. Running, biking, swimming, and other cardio exercises or physical activity can burn additional calories compared to a resting rate. Plus, regular cardio is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lung capacity.
And, just like strength training, cardio has a lasting effect on metabolic rate. In one study, ten male subjects cycled vigorously for 45 minutes. The researchers found that the men’s energy expenditure (or resting metabolic rate) remained higher than usual for 14 hours after their workout.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT for short) is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of maximum energy. While HIIT enthusiasts will list many positive outcomes from this type of workout, one of the most important benefits may be related to your metabolism.
In a small study of nine men, researchers found a 450% increase in human growth hormone (HGH) hours after having them do a HIIT-style running exercise. As HGH stimulates metabolic processes, HIIT could have benefits beyond torching calories and building cardiovascular health..
What does all this mean? Regular exercise—even in short bursts—can have significant, lasting positive effects on helping you restart your metabolism.
Your metabolism converts food into energy. Naturally, then, your diet will have an impact on the way your metabolism functions.
One potential trick is to eat a diet high in lean protein. Research links a protein-rich diet to changes in hormone secretion, alterations in gluconeogenesis, and a higher thermic effect in the body. Translation: Protein can jumpstart your metabolism.
Try incorporating more high-protein whole foods in the metabolic reset diet, such as:
Meat and fish
There’s also good news for those who like it hot. Some studies suggest that capsaicin (a substance found in spicy peppers and other foods) may trigger a slight boost in metabolic rate. While the effects are relatively minor, it all adds up, so don’t forget the hot sauce as a part of your meal plan to help with your metabolic reset!
How many of your calories come from drinks? If you’re not keeping track, it’s possible that your favorite smoothie or soft drink is adding unnecessary fuel to your body.
Beyond that, some of your favorite beverages may have an impact on your metabolic rate.
To reset your metabolism, you may want to alter your drinking habits along with your eating plan.
To start, try to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages in your diet plan.
Alcohol can affect your digestive function and your hormone levels.
Excessive alcohol will rapidly increase your calorie intake
Overconsumption can also damage the liver, which metabolizes fats and carbs.
There’s some evidence to suggest that caffeine consumption can provide a slight boost in metabolic rate.
A daily cup or two of coffee or tea can suppress your appetite, as well as increase your resting energy usage.
This is because caffeine plays into thermogenesis—the generation of heat and energy from the processing of food.
Just be careful not to rely on caffeine, since adequate sleep is also key to a healthy metabolism (as we’ll cover more under Step 4) and fat loss.
Though the odd cup of coffee or alcoholic drink is fine, you should aim to drink mostly water throughout the day. Not only is water a zero-calorie option, but it’s also a tool you can use to boost your metabolism.
In one study, subjects who consumed 500mL of H20 were found to have a 30% higher metabolic rate between 10 and 40 minutes afterward. This means that continuous water consumption all day long can have significant effects on your metabolic reset program.
There is a well-known link between sleep and metabolism. One of the associated side effects of short or poor-quality sleep is a metabolic slowdown. When people don’t sleep enough, the result is often a hormone imbalance or a dip in calories burned.
As such, adults should aim for around eight hours of quality sleep each night. You’ll feel well-rested, alert, and—above all—metabolically fired up.
It’s also important to talk to your health care provider if you notice your metabolic health not improving over a period of time. They’ll be the best person to talk through the issues you may be experiencing and help develop a solution that works for you. Other factors, like your thyroid, may be in play when it comes to your energy levels, so chat with your doctor.
The above tips are a solid start to a metabolic reset, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg—and unlikely to bring you rapid weight loss right away.
The best approach to a metabolic restart—and weight care in general—is a comprehensive one. Accounting for hormones, fitness, healthy diet, neurobiology, stress, and more is the key to a successful weight-care plan.
At Found, we take personalized weight care to the next level. By leveraging modern science and combining prescription medication with support, we’re able to craft an individualized online weight-loss program just for you.
We’d love to get to know you and see if Found is the answer you’ve been looking for. Take the quiz today and determine which path is right for you.