The human body is an amazing machine, although it can have its intricacies. When it comes to losing weight and figuring out how our metabolism works, that can look like a very complicated process. Although there are ways to affect our metabolic rates to our advantage, there are other underlying factors that come into play when looking at weight loss. However, exercise is one of the best ways that we can make such changes.
In order to effectively alter our metabolism and metabolic rate in the way(s) we want, exercise is one of the most crucial components. Through the use of getting a higher heart rate, regular resistance training, and having higher bouts of intensity in exercise, it is possible to “increase your metabolism” to help your body burn more calories than you are taking in, thus resulting in weight loss.
In this article, we’ll talk about what your metabolism is and how it works, to establish a good understanding of its process and how we can aid in that process. We will also go through a list of top exercises and ways through exercise that you can effectively improve your metabolic rate in order to help lose weight and get the results you are looking for. Continue reading to learn how to increase your metabolism!
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What is Metabolism?
In short, metabolism is the process by which your body converts food and drink into energy. The body will use oxygen and its own internal functions to use your calories as fuel and energy. Even when your body is at rest, it must have a certain number of calories to keep functioning properly. This is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
Now when we talk about weight gain or loss and metabolism, it can be easy to say you have a “slow” or “fast” metabolism. Sure, genetics and general bodily makeup can come into play, but that isn’t the entire picture. There are a few other factors that determine what one’s basal metabolic rate may be, outside of lifestyle and activity levels:
- Your age: As a lot of people get older, lean muscle mass tends to go down. Unless you still stay very active into your older years, your body may hold on to more fat than muscle and protein, thus causing a reduction in the rate of burning calories.
- Your gender: As men and women are built very differently, other regular bodily functions will be different as well. Women naturally carry more body fat than men, forcing their bodies to burn calories at a slower rate. Men have more muscle and will burn calories easier.
- Body size and composition: Larger individuals will have a different BMR than smaller ones. With a bigger body comes an increase in work that needs to be done in order to even maintain that body’s functions at rest. People who carry more muscle mass will also burn calories at a higher rate because more muscle requires more calories.
If you want to change the way your body burns calories and uses energy, then one of the easiest ways to do that is by incorporating regular exercise into your routine. When you exercise regularly and build more muscle, your body will burn more calories. Genetics will always play a part in bodily functions, but there are a lot more things in our control than we might think.
What is a Metabolism Workout?
When discussing a “metabolism workout,” it should be noted that the goal is to build strength and increase heart rate. That may sound similar to fundamentals across many variations of exercise, and you’re right. With well-programmed exercise, you want to get stronger and be able to last longer. Therefore, you need to push the ranges in which your heart can work as well as the strength and stamina of your muscles.
As mentioned before, increasing your activity level as well as muscle mass can change your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Therefore, going through exercises that will challenge the stress your body can handle will undoubtedly do just that.
How Long Does it Take to Increase Metabolism with Exercise?
When it comes to changes like this, it’s hard to determine the exact amount of time it could take to alter a metabolism. It can also vary depending on the individual. A decent time frame that you can notice changes in your metabolism is around 3 months. Whether it’s metabolism or physical appearance, 3 months is a great time frame for you to see and feel very noticeable changes.
What is the Best Exercise to Increase Metabolism?
It’s tough to pinpoint one sole exercise as the best to increase your metabolism. However, if we’re looking for the simplest exercise with no equipment needed that can increase heart rate, then the burpee might be the go-to in this case. It’s one that is easy to do anywhere, there’s no equipment needed, and can build up endurance with some strength all while pushing your heart rate.
5 Exercises to Increase Metabolism
For the stimulus that we’re trying to create to increase metabolism, there are a handful of exercises that can do it, but these 5 might be some of the most effective. Many people don’t want to take an hour at the gym, so having a short list of exercises they can do either without equipment or with minimal equipment at home is a perfect alternative.
One of the most controversial exercises. Not due to their lack of effectiveness, but as a result of the very love-hate relationship people have with them. The burpee is designed to increase heart rate quickly. A burpees session can be as intense as you make it. For the goal we’re trying to accomplish, I would recommend seeing how many you can do in 2 minutes. This will keep you on a faster pace and see if you can beat your highest score from the week before.
When performing the burpee:
- Start by standing up fully
- Drop down to the floor so that your chest and thighs touch the floor
- Push yourself back up to full standing position
- Jump with a clap over your head
It’s not a glamorous exercise, no frills, but burpees are extremely effective. If you need to add a movement to your workout regimen that will spike heart rate quickly, throw burpees in the mix and you will get what you want out of them. I personally hate them, but sometimes they must be done.
Another exercise that doesn’t take much to get you where you want to be, the thruster is a weighted movement as well as a fast-moving one. Traditionally this is done with a barbell, but can be done with a dumbbell(s) or kettlebell(s) as well.
To properly perform the thruster:
- Start with your loaded barbell on the ground.
- Setup with feet about hip width apart, with toes slightly pointed out.
- Take a double overhand grip on the barbell with hands being slightly wider than thighs.
- To get the barbell up to your shoulders in starting position, you can power clean it up by starting like a deadlift, then launching the barbell off your thighs.
- When the barbell is at your shoulders, perform a front squat, getting hips just below knees.
- Then stand back up and once fully standing, push the barbell overhead until arms are fully extended and locked out.
- Bring the barbell down back to your shoulders and go back into the front squat before going overhead again.
This exercise will build strength while increasing heart rate. They can be mixed into your normal workout routine and will add a different level of spice to your regimen.
Steady state cardio can get mundane pretty fast, and also won’t get your heart rate as high as you might need it to be in order to really affect your metabolism. Sprints on the other hand will increase heart rate quickly and you don’t need much.
Find a good distance ideally between 20 and 40 yards and do between 6 and 10 sets. You can have a minute or two of rest in between, but will still get leg strength and an increase in heart rate from this short workout. Maybe even have a friend do it with you to add a little competition.
Bear Crawl Shoulder Taps
The bear crawl is a tough position to operate in as it is, but when adding the shoulder taps, we’re adding an extra component in shoulder strength and stability as well as testing your core.
To perform the bear crawl shoulder taps:
- Start in table top, or high plank, position.
- Bring feet under your hips, and get on the balls of your feet.
- Shins should be close to parallel to the ground, back and neck all in line, and hips only slightly above shoulders if at all.
- While in this position, raise one hand and tap your opposite shoulder with it, then do the same with the other.
- Try to minimize how much your body leans either way. Try to stay in a neutral position.
- Repeat between 10 to 20 times total in one set.
Outside of heart rate, the bear crawl shoulder taps can help increase your shoulder stability rather than just pure strength. The stronger and more stable your core is, the less you will lean to one side when tapping your shoulders.
One of the most fundamental exercises, the push up will build strength and stamina throughout your entire body.
When performing the push up:
- Start in a high plank position, with hands under your shoulders and up on your toes.
- Go down to where your chest is almost hitting the floor, then push yourself back up to starting position.
- You try to get a certain amount in a given time to help increase heart rate as well.
Another simple, yet effective exercise. So much so that they are still widely used around the world from military boot camps to athletic competitions.
Changing the rate of your metabolism or metabolic rate is not impossible, but will take time and effort. Incorporating regular exercise is a great starting point to help almost any physiological change in your body.
With these exercises, you’re going to get your heart rate up while building strength at the same time. As mentioned, there are tons of exercises that can do this, but to keep things simple and minimal, these will give you the most bang for your buck.