I’m Sarah and I blog over at Bucket List Tummy I’m thrilled to be taking over Sarah’s little space today.
First, can we acknowledge how awesome that girl is?! Have you tried any of her workouts? I love the mix and match cardio workout because you’re not doing one thing long enough to think about it!
I first “met” Sarah through Instagram and we then realized we were in some of the same Facebook groups and connected shortly after. Isn’t it so funny how the blog world brings us together?
Aside from blogging about healthy recipes and my bucket list, I also blog quite frequently about nutrition. In my “day job,” I’m a Registered Dietitian. I work in nutrition counseling and see a wide gamut of clients, ranging from those wanting to lose weight, train for a sporting event, to figuring out some food intolerances. One of the cool things I do at my job is metabolic testing. So, I thought it would be neat to talk about our metabolisms, what affects them and how to increase our metabolic rate (we all want to do that right?!).
Your metabolic rate is highly dependent on several individual aspects like physical activity, gender, genetics, lean body mass, hormones and other factors. No two people in this world are the same, therefore everyone’s metabolic rate is always going to be a little different. There are plenty of free tools you can use to get an estimation but there are so many other factors at play, so more often than not, these numbers are not accurate. The best way to do it is through indirect calorimetry, which measures your oxygen consumed and CO2 expired.
So, how can we work on increasing our metabolic rate?
The first tip to increasing your metabolic rate is eating breakfast! Breakfast is good for so many reasons and it really does kick start the metabolism after your overnight rest. I tell my clients that it “sets the tone” for your day. If you start your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast, you’re more likely to stay consistent and choose healthy, balanced options throughout the day.
The second tip to increasing your metabolic rate is to start doing some strength training (i.e. – do Sarah’s workouts)! The reason for this is because muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest than fat. Therefore, the body has to work harder to support 1 pound of muscle compared to 1 pound of fat. Some research has found that regular weight training boosts basal metabolic rate by 10-15%. I try to do some form of strength training a couple times of week.
Just like strength training, including intervals or a form of circuit training into your exercise regimen can be helpful for increasing your metabolic rate, because you’re constantly raising and lowering your heart rate. There is a lot of research about EPOC , or the afterburn effect. This explains why your metabolism is running super hard for hours, sometimes days, after the workout. Another great reason to incorporate some speed work or HIIT workouts.
Of course, exercise of all forms can increase our metabolic rates, even walking. The harder you are working, though, the more your body will be working and monitoring the metabolic rate.
Let’s talk about my favorite one – our diets. The foods we eat have a significant impact on our metabolism. Eating in balance, including correct proportions of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables will speed it up. Snacking on portion controlled nutrient-dense things, like nuts, have even been shown to increase our metabolic rate due to the healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. Not eating enough slows our metabolisms because when we don’t have the energy to fuel our bodies, we’ll start breaking our muscles down. Remember earlier how we said muscle is metabolically active? So, breaking it down is not ideal.
Eating smaller meals more often can help keep metabolism revved, since a portion of the food we eat goes towards digesting and absorbing nutrients. Eating higher protein can slightly increase metabolism due to the thermogenic effect, meaning the body burns more energy digesting protein.
Other easy things to do WITHOUT exercising to increase your metabolism include drinking lots of water (preferably cold water), having moderate amounts of caffeine, including spicy foods in your diet (like cayenne peppers!), and getting plenty of sleep. Keeping the temperature colder (or the act of being cold) burns more calories because your body is working to get to a moderate body temperature – it could even increase metabolism by 20%. Pretty neat, huh?
The last tip? Decrease stress. When our brain is turned “on” to stress, it’s turned “off” to digestion. Easier said than done, but if we try to live in the moment, we can enable our bodies to better absorb those nutrients from foods and energize our cells.
Thanks, Sarah, for letting me talk on your space today. If you all have any nutrition questions, I would love to hear from you.