Think you have a slow metabolism? Here's how to speed it up
Most people think they are cursed with a slow metabolism and there's nothing they can do about it but the simple reality is that there's things you can be doing right now that will instantly make a change.
I used to believe long bouts of cardio 3-4 times a week was the key to keeping your metabolism up. I used to believe aging detrimentally drops daily caloric expenditure. I used to believe that there was nothing I could do to “rev up” my metabolism. Boy, was I WRONG.
Not only was I wrong, there are plenty of actions you can take starting today that will jumpstart your metabolism towards the right direction. The answer? Build muscle and move more. Sounds too simple, right? It is and it isn’t. Let me explain.
The first step is to build muscle. Why? Building muscle makes you burn more calories at rest, meaning you burn calories when you are sitting there doing absolutely nothing. You read that right. Doing absolutely nothing. Muscle is a metabolically demanding tissue for the body to keep on. Don’t eat enough and don’t workout for a couple weeks straight and see how fast your body composition changes. Having more muscle on your body means more calories needed to maintain it. What about cardio? The old fallacy was you had to do cardio to maintain a fast metabolism. That’s partially true.
Moving more can include cardio. That’s the partial truth. We have been told for decades to perform lighter steady state bouts of cardio to lose fat and increase our metabolism. When it comes to steady state cardio (jogging, swimming, rowing, etc), you are actively burning calories at that moment. When you stop or take a few days off, you’re not burning any more calories than where you started from 3 months ago, whereas the people who are focused on building muscle burn approximately 7 more calories per pound of muscle more than the cardio group (1). Doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you have years of putting on muscle and getting stronger, you could be burning up to 200-300 calories more at rest!
The second step is to move more, but what should you do? Walk. The new trend is to walk 10,000 steps a day recommended by health professionals. They’re not wrong for recommending people to walk more. It provides a plethora of health benefits. In terms of your metabolism, consistently moving 10,000 steps a day to 2000 steps a day significantly drops your maintenance calories ~200-400cals per day or 1400-2800cals a week! That’s a significant amount considering most people are more sedentary than any other generation. A practical tip is to start walking more. After every meal, start by taking a 10 minute walk outside (weather permitting). If you have 3 meals a day, that’ll be 30 more minutes of walking a day. It won’t necessarily get you to 10,000 steps right away but you will start building the habits that’ll solidify your goal of revving your metabolism.
After you start implementing these habits, you will be able to have the birthday cake at your son’s birthday without putting on weight. You’ll be able to have a few beers every weekend without feeling like you’re derailing your progress. You’ll have more energy throughout the day because your body is now utilizing the food you intake as fuel for your new muscles and lifestyle.
A prime example are clients of mine, and myself, that live in a major city. We have to walk to get to public transportation. Then, we have to walk more to get to work. Just on commutes alone, our average step count is 12,000-20,000 a day. That alone means we are burning anywhere between 400-800 cals more than the regular person. That’s 2 big NYC slices of pizza on top of your normal food intake to just maintain your weight. As my clients are revving up their metabolisms, they get to a point where they are really happy they can eat a lot more and maintain their weight. We do this during the Potentiation phase of the APEX method. They start at an average of 1800 calories a day to maintain. After 3-6 months of potentiating, their maintenance will be 300-800 calories more a day from having more muscle on their frame and taking more steps a day.
No more slow metabolism. No more giving up beers on football Sundays. No more wishing you can have that cheesecake on date night with your significant other. You can have those things because your metabolism is faster now. Start weight training properly twice per week. Start walking 10 minutes after every meal. See how much your metabolism improves. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll want to keep going and build the metabolism to where my clients are: 2800-3000 calories every day. They can have cookies, brownies, wings, etc, and not gain a single pound because we potentiated their metabolism to be super high.
If you like what you’ve read here and want to explore other ways we at Generation Fit can help you on your fitness journey, feel free to contact us.
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Chris lee is the co-founder of Generation fit. When he's not busy transforming his client's bodies, you can catch him lifting, playing spikeball with friends, hanging out at the beach, or playing video games like "Call of Duty".