As most of us are staying in doors due to lockdown, we are doing less and therefore, burning less calories. Plus, as we get older our metabolism slows down, which means we gain fat and lose muscle if we do not lead a healthy lifestyle.
What Is Your Metabolic Rate?
You often hear people blaming a slow metabolism for weight gain. Your Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR is a calculated by body mass, age, weight and height. You can calculate yours here.
There are 2 formulae used to calculate BMR, in [kcal / 24hrs] for men and women respectively:
- BMR for Men = 66.47 + (13.75 * weight [kg]) + (5.003 * size [cm]) − (6.755 * age [years])
- BMR for Women = 655.1 + (9.563 * weight [kg]) + (1.85 * size [cm]) − (4.676 * age [years])
Your basal metabolic rate determines how many calories you need a day to live each day and maintain your current weight. You dont need to consume anymore calories than this unless you exercise.
How to Increase Your Metabolic Rate
There are a number of factors that can help increase your metabolism and therefore burn more calories each day, although genetics, age and gender do influence your rate too.
- Build More Muscle Mass
Muscle burns more calories than fat and is good for your bone density. Increasing muscle increases the number of calories you use because muscle uses more calories that fat even when resting. Studies show that after a few weeks of strength/resistance training you can increase metabolic rate by 7-8%.
Focus on muscle strengthening our big muscle groups like your legs, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. The best way is to do 2-3 20 mins sessions a week. Get yourself some home weights and get inspiration from YouTube
- Be More Active
The total number of calories you burn each day is heavily dependent on your basal metabolic rate. But you can also burn more calories each day by making changes to your diet and activity level. Try to do 30 minutes walking or aerobic activity a day.
- Eat Lots of Protein
A high protein and high fibre diet, has been shown to suport a higher metabolic rate. This includes eating more eggs, leafy greens, salmon, lean meats, tuna, beans and legumes.
- Keep a Food Diary/Log
It’s easy to consume calories without realising. Often our portion sizes gradually get bigger or we eat the same as others in the family with a completely different metabolic rate. Keeping a diary of what you eat or use an app like MyFitnessPal. It will enable you to see how many calories you have consumed and also monitor the intake of protein.
- Stop Drinking up Calories
Often we reach for a glass of wine or G&T every night and do not amount for the extra calories –so again keep a log so you can be more aware.
- Eat Thermic Foods
Certain foods help to boost your metabolism, like when you have had a spicy meal. Try to include some of these in your diet – lots of protein, chilli peppers, coffee, tea, legumes, pulses, water melon
- Drink More Water
We all know we should drink water and another benefit is that it increases your metabolism. Drinking cold water makes your body use up energy to heat it up and having a glass before a meal helps you eat less.
- Stand not Sit
You burn more calories standing and it is good for your posture, so try to mix up sitting and standing especially if you are working from home.
- Sleep Well
A lack of sleep is linked to weight gain as it affects your appetite regulating hormones and can cause you to feel hungry and crave sugar. So make sure you rest!
The bottom line is you can boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn. A higher metabolism will help you feel more energised and make it easier to lose weight. All this is possible just by adopting a few healthy habits.