I’m sure you’ve heard of the word “metabolism.” Perhaps you’ve also wondered what it means to have a “fast” metabolism. Interestingly enough, when it comes to your metabolism, it varies greatly based on your lifestyle, genetics, activity, and many other components. You are not, in fact, born with a set metabolism. You can alter, manipulate and increase your metabolism, no matter how slow it is to begin with. If you have a faster metabolism, your body will naturally burn more fat just to maintain your current lifestyle and continue to function.
Here are some tips you can use to speed up your metabolism:
Cutting calories and deficits
The number of calories you eat sends a signal to your body and tells your metabolism to either slow down or speed up. If you underfeed yourself for an extended amount of time, your metabolic rate will adapt to that calorie amount, and therefore slow down your metabolism. Your body will learn what you feed it and continue to adjust accordingly.
A high-protein diet is important because it will help your body retain and promote the growth of muscle. Increased protein can boost calorie-burning by 20–30%! Remember, the more muscle you have, the more calories you naturally burn. So incredible!
Build muscle & strength
Lifting weights builds more muscles and sends the signal to your body that you need more strength. Strength training alerts your body that it doesn't need tons of endurance, but requires more strength. Consequently, more strength = more muscle, and more muscle burns more calories.
Don't overdo cardio
Exercise can work against building a faster metabolism if you’re doing too much cardio and under-eating calories and protein. In other words, when you under-eat and do too much cardio, it signals to your body that it needs more nutrients. Your body will hold on to those calories because it learns that it may not be getting more or enough. Many people believe that it works the other way around, but in reality, overworking your body with cardio and under-eating is detrimental to your metabolism.
Get quality sleep
Ever have a day where you feel foggy and terrible after not sleeping for a full 7-8 hours? Lack of sleep causes stress on your body, and this can make your body burn fewer and cling on to more calories. Poor sleep can negatively impact your hormones as well - cortisol, the stress hormone, can be good for your body when it’s in fight or flight mode (like if it’s making the snap decision to run from a bear that starts chasing you!)
Drink plenty of water
Our bodies are made up of around 60% water. Water keeps us alive, combats dehydration, and keeps our organs running smoothly. Besides being one of the most important components of your health, some studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour. Grab that glass of water and make sure to hydrate!
SIDE SCIENCE ☼Water has endless benefits, like helping your body process calories better. Drinking water may also temporarily speed up your metabolism
Don’t worry! If you have a slow metabolism; it’s not broken. I know terms like “metabolic damage” and “starvation mode,” are constantly thrown around, but in reality, it’s really actually, “metabolic adaptation.” It’s a positive thing - this demonstrates that your metabolism has adapted, and that means you have a healthy, well-functioning body. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to - adjusting based on what you tell it to do. Now, you just have to re-train it to become faster!
Speeding up your metabolism requires persistence (you got this!) and following a few steps. Learn to be mindful about things like your healthy food choices, that extra water you drink, and choosing just the right amount of cardio. It’s never too late to reset - your body is always adapting! Let’s work together to get there!