Your metabolism includes everything your body does to turn food into energy. There are some things that you can’t control that influence your metabolism, like age, gender, and genetics. There are also the things you can control, like the types of food you eat and the exercise you do (or don’t do), that also have an effect on metabolism.
If your goal is to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, having a higher metabolism can help you achieve that. An additional benefit of a faster metabolism is that it will give you more physical and mental energy.
Eating protein and performing weight training are two of the primary ways you can control the speed at which your body turns food into energy. Your metabolism increases whenever you eat, digest, and store food, which is a process called the thermic effect of food. Protein has a higher thermic effect than fats and carbohydrates because it takes longer for your body to burn and absorb protein.
Dedicated athletes have lean, muscular physiques partly because they follow the primary principles of following a high protein, lower carb diet along with routine weight resistance training. While it takes work and dedication, it is the commitment to this system of diet and exercise that allows your body to work efficiently to use food for energy rather than store it as fat.
Strength training helps to increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR) by increasing the amount of lean muscle in your body. Your RMR is the number of calories your body requires to perform basic functions like breathing, blood circulation, and digestion. Weightlifting not only helps increase your metabolism during and after your workout but because it also affects your resting metabolism giving it a continued boost while your body is at rest.
Sleep alters hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. A lack of sleep changes the way your body metabolizes fat. Poor sleep is associated with increased stress and blood sugar intolerance. Sleep is an essential component of regulating metabolism. Sleep deprivation may also affect your body’s ability to convert food and fat into energy. Research has shown that sleeping less diminishes your ability to break down fat into energy, so your body stores fat instead of using it. Sleeping too little or too much can both have adverse effects on metabolism.
Knowing that exercising, especially weight training, boosts metabolism, what are some of the best exercises that can rev up your metabolism and burn fat?
A cardio workout burns more calories than a weight training workout. However, your metabolism may stay elevated for longer after lifting weights than it would with cardio. Also, weightlifting is better for building muscle, and more muscle changes the way that your body reacts to food. That’s because your muscles need the energy to repair, maintain, or grow—the more muscle you have, the less likely that what you eat will be stored as fat.
Mountain climbers target the full body, especially the arms, shoulders, quads, and core. This exercise also yields ample cardio.
How to do mountain climbers:
High knees are a cardio-intensive exercise performed at a fast pace. It engages your core, strengthens all the muscles in your legs, and gets your heart rate up.
How to do high knees:
Additional cardiovascular metabolism-boosting exercises that you can do without weights or other equipment include:
The benefits of performing deadlifts include strengthening and gaining more definition in your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. These are large muscle groups, and the more muscle you train and build, the better boost to your metabolism. For a proper deadlift, you can use a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbells.
How to do a barbell deadlift:
Bench presses work several different muscles in your upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and arms. Engaging all these muscle groups while doing the bench press will break down or tear the muscle as you exercise, and as your body works to repair the muscle, your metabolism will boost.
How to do a barbell bench press:
A barbell squat is a compound exercise that activates muscle groups throughout your lower body, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The activation of these large muscle groups makes the barbell squat one of the best metabolism-boosting exercises.
How to do a barbell squat:
Some movement is always better than no movement so make it a point to include any type of exercise movement throughout your day, every day. Your body is designed to move and, in most cases, is built to withstand vigorous exercise, including weight training. Weight training is your best defense against the aging process and is the ultimate best thing you can do to boost your metabolism.