Do you respect your metabolism? Most people don't. Heck, most people don't even give the time of day to think about it. Yet it works in the shadows, day after day, helping you use up the calories in that double-tiered burger you just downed, and just, you know, keeping you alive!
Athletes might oftentimes look for ways to optimize this, but it's an uphill battle if you don't know what you're doing.
The fact is, your metabolic rate starts to drop after the age of 30 or so, even sooner if you're le couch potato. But don't worry; there are ways to keep it firing so that you can achieve the body you want, and prevent fat accumulation early on.
How To Increase Your Metabolism as You Age? Can You Even Make Your Metabolism Better?
The short answer to this question is that you can definitely make your metabolism better. Does age matter? Absolutely. The later in life you decide to address this, the more difficult it is. Difficult, but not impossible. This is why it is important you start implementing the tips as soon as possible since you will never be as young as you are at this very moment ever again.
How To Increase Your Metabolism The Proven Way Without Breaking The Bank
Not all tips are created equally, which is why we have made this curated list so that you can limit your focus to the ones that offer the greatest return for your investment in blood, sweat, tears, and of course, time.
Here we go.
Just Drink More Water Already
Most people do not appreciate how exactly drinking more water can help to increase their metabolism. Just think of this for a moment; water acts as the medium in which all biological processes occur. This is why when you are dehydrated, fat burning is reduced, energy production is impaired and in general, the body enters a state of preservation.
Water has so many benefits to the general population and also athletes. It is lost in sweat profusely during exercise. We will not preach on the merits of why you need more water, so if you are serious about really improving your metabolism(1), at a minimum you need to shoot for 1 gallon daily.
Do you want the number one tip to increase your metabolism for the long haul? If so, there is nothing better than building more lean muscle. The fact of the matter is that muscle tissue is energy-intensive. This means that the more muscle you possess, the more calories are required for sustenance. The reasons are multifaceted, but the main one has to be the fact that mitochondria increase in size and quantity.
Mitochondria are the part of the cell that directly produce ATP, the energy currency used throughout the body. This is also why people with more muscle mass, as is often the case with athletes, are capable of burning many more calories over the course of a day thanks to higher resting metabolic rates. Your resting metabolic rate is a measure of the caloric requirements the body needs just to perform basic processes with no amount of physical activity included.
Sounds like a plan? Then get to more resistance training!
Spice Up Your Life
How do you like your meals? If the answer is spicy, then you're in for a treat. Studies have shown that people whose diets are higher in hot peppers benefit from an improved metabolic rate. This is the direct result of the active constituent found in hot peppers, capsaicin. This compound elevates your metabolic rate by increasing body temperature, which in turn causes you to sweat more and also experience enhanced vasodilation.
Many supplements formulated for weight loss today include pepper extract, simply because it does the job to enhance the rate of caloric utilization. Capsaicin is also extremely beneficial for reducing pain, such as that associated with the soreness after your workout.
Protein can be considered the insider trick when attempting to elevate your metabolic rate. The reason behind this is something known as the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect refers to the number of calories required for the processing of that specific food. The macronutrient group of fats possesses the lowest thermic value, while protein requires the highest.
The exact number of calories varies depending on the specific source of the protein, but can go as high as 30%(2) of the total caloric yield of the meal.
So, say for example you consume a piece of chicken with a value of 600 Cal, after digestion is complete, 200 of those calories might have been expended in the actual process.
This also explains why ensuring that more protein is being included in the majority of your meals is a surefire way to get that metabolic boost on.
Black Coffee Please!
Caffeine is the world's most popular stimulant for a reason. This might also explain why coffee is so liked. Coffee, besides the generous amounts of caffeine it contains, is also a treasure trove of other bioactive compounds, many of which possess antioxidant properties. We recommend black coffee since adding copious amounts of sugar or milk tends to damper its effects by binding and inactivating certain components.
Feed The Flames
By far, one of the most unfortunate mistakes people – athletes included, make when attempting to increase the metabolic rate for weight loss is cutting their calories too abruptly. While initially rapid weight loss might ensue, this is very short lived as the body makes adaptations to reduce the utilization of calories in anticipation of starvation or famine.
This is a primordial mechanism embedded in our genes to increase our survival rate, since ancient man did not have a large variety of food at their disposal for consumption.
To get the best of both worlds, it is first necessary to accurately calculate your basal metabolic rate, and subsequently caloric requirements. Only when this is done should you attempt to reduce calories by approximately 500 daily. This keeps your metabolic furnace running on all cylinders with just enough deficit to lose weight.
Pro tip – an excellent approach to guarantee metabolic stability over the long term is to schedule re-feed days once or twice weekly. Even though you are not significantly restricting calories, the goal of the re-feed period is to demonstrate that food is not scarce and appease your body.
Increase Meal Frequency
In addition to ensuring that you eat enough calories, meal frequency is also of importance. Every time you consume food, your metabolic machinery is activated to start the process of digestion and subsequently, absorption. You can see why eating more frequently (up to a point), is an excellent strategy to cause many spikes in your metabolic rate throughout the day.
Have you ever observed the fact that your body temperature goes up after consuming a meal? This is evidence in motion. However, unless you are actively training to become a pro athlete, we do not recommend you eat six or seven times a day. Three solid meals, and no more than two healthy snacks should be plenty for keeping your metabolic rate clocking along optimally.
Do High-Intensity Workouts
High intensity exercise is a great way to use a lot of calories in a short period of time, but then there's also the afterburn effect which arguably makes it even better. Although the figures might not look impressive on paper, being able to utilize a few more calories on a consistent basis can quickly add up. High intensity exercises can consist of cardiovascular training or be more resistance-based in nature.
Regardless of which one you choose; you must only utilize such workouts infrequently. This is because doing so day after day is likely to overwhelm your body's recuperative abilities as well as overtax the central nervous system – scenarios you do not want to deal with.
Hoist Thy Weights
The number one rule of metabolism club is to not talk about metabolism club. Why? Because you will be too busy lifting heavy weight! In the world of metabolic rate elevation, lifting heavier is always superior to lifting lighter weight.
This is one of the best ways how to increase metabolism in your 30s or even before this when you possess the testosterone levels to do this.
Not to mention the fact that heavier resistance corresponds to greater levels of muscle hypertrophy, so why wouldn't you want to go all out?
Have you ever noticed that sleep is included on the list of everything beneficial in the world? Looking to gain muscle? Sleep more. Looking to lose weight? Get more sleep. Looking to optimize your metabolic rate? Sleep again. There are still many things that happened while we're asleep that the brain doesn't quite reveal, but what is clearly known as the fact that the brain possesses the master reset to make all(almost) new again.
In the case of your metabolic rate, several hormones and neurotransmitters play parts. For instance, thyroid hormone is one of the major regulators of your metabolism. So too are epinephrine and norepinephrine. Growth hormone which is secreted heavily during sleep should not be discounted either as it is highly anabolic and lipotropic.
Sleep is much as you can. Don't be limited by just six hours when you can afford to get nine. This might be even more urgent for the aging body that is not as fast to recuperate.
More Aerobic Exercise
Good old cardio. Most of us hate it with a vengeance. However, run as we may, we still inevitably end up back at its door. Aerobic activity, considered low to moderate intensity at best, does not elicit an increase in metabolic rate that lasts for several days; rather, the effect usually wears off in under 24 hours.
But don't make that discourage you, as aerobic exercise is necessary to keep the metabolic rate elevated in space of high-intensity exercise, which should not be performed on a daily basis. An excellent approach to this is to perform aerobic type of exercise four or five days weekly, and high-intensity exercise no more than three times weekly.
Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Does iron itself have an impact on your metabolic rate? No, it doesn't. But by extension, if your diet is deficient in this mineral, you can expect your metabolic rate to be subpar. Iron is an essential part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells.
Low hemoglobin content translates to less oxygen reaching cells that needed, and in turn a reduced rate of fat and glucose oxidation. And guess what? This simply means that your metabolic rate is not optimized to you getting lean.
Eat More Eggs
Honestly, when you hear someone say food X will improve your metabolism, take it with a grain of salt. Except when we say it, because, you know – it's true.
One such food would be the always incredible egg. And to be specific, were talking about having the entire egg for breakfast. The egg yolk is the actual source of many of the nutrients that makes it so great in the first place. Ranging from cholesterol and saturated fat which lend itself to testosterone synthesis, to the high concentration of metabolism boosting B vitamins, and of course it's excellent protein content.
Just be sure you work out as hard as you focus on your diet and there is no reason to fear having a few eggs for breakfast.
You can keep your metabolic furnace firing for many years to come. Age is merely a number, especially considering the fact that right now in history there are more people fit over age 50 than at any other point in time.
Implement some of the tips we mentioned above – most of them if you can, and you will see the changes your body is capable of making.
(1)Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, et al. Water-induced thermogenesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88(12):6015-6019. doi:10.1210/jc.2003-030780
(2) Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014;11(1):53. Published 2014 Nov 19. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53