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How To Increase Your Metabolism: 11 Proven Methods

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Increasing your metabolism can help you burn more calories and lose weight. But is it possible to boost your metabolic rate, or are you stuck with the metabolism you have?

What about as you get older? What about how to increase metabolism after 40?

If you are interested in boosting your metabolic rate, keep reading for some helpful tips on how to increase your metabolism.

We will cover: 

  • Is It Possible to Increase Your Metabolic Rate?
  • How To Increase Your Metabolism: 11 Methods

Let’s jump in!

Boost your metabolism, written in blue, green, and red markers.

Is It Possible to Increase Your Metabolic Rate?

Before we get into the top tips for how to boost your metabolism, it’s helpful to address the fact that your own metabolic rate is individualized.

Your metabolic rate varies according to many factors such as your age, biological sex, body size and composition, life stage, genetics, fitness level or current level of physical conditioning, overall health, presence of any diseases or health conditions, and your diet and other lifestyle factors.

In general, our resting metabolic rate decreases with age, so even though tips for how to increase metabolism after 40 won’t necessarily be all that different for how to boost your metabolism in your 20s or 30s, or 70s or 80s for that matter, your actual metabolic rate will likely decrease with advancing age. 

However, no matter how old you are or what life stage you are in, there are things you can do to boost your metabolism. It’s certainly possible to boost your metabolism after 40 or 50, which is often a time that both men and women start to see the ramifications of a slower metabolism, such as weight gain, fat gain, and decreased energy.

With that said, if you are elderly, female, and have a smaller body size, it’s probably unreasonable to assume that even implementing all of these strategies for how to boost your metabolic rate will not suddenly turn you into a calorie-burning machine.

However, even small increases in your metabolism can leave you feeling fitter, stronger, and more energized to do whatever physically demanding tasks and activities you might have in mind. 

A class of people doing a HIIT workout trying to increase their metabolism.

How To Increase Your Metabolism: 11 Proven Methods

Here are a few evidence-backed ways to increase your metabolism:

#1: Incorporate HIIT Workouts Into Your Routine

Among the many health benefits of getting consistent exercise, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers, getting consistent exercise is a great way to burn more calories and boost your metabolism. 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), in particular, is an effective form of exercise for increasing metabolic rate, with evidence demonstrating that HIIT workouts may boost resting metabolic rate for up to 22 hours after the workout is over.

Furthermore, studies suggest that HIIT workouts are more effective at burning body fat and aiding in fat loss than moderate-intensity continuous training. In fact, one large review found that HIIT training results in about a 28.5% greater reduction in total absolute fat loss than moderate-intensity steady-state training.

A person lifting a dumbbell.

#2: Lift Weights

If you are looking for how to increase your resting metabolic rate, resistance training is a great approach.

Resistance training not only burns calories and provides a temporary boost in metabolic rate following the workout, but if you’re doing hypertrophy (muscle building) focused workouts, the increase in your lean body mass will increase the number of calories you burn all day long because muscle tissue is metabolically active.

Studies suggest that consistent strength training may increase metabolic rate by about 5%. This may not sound like a lot, but it can certainly aid in weight loss over time.

Most importantly, resistance training can help counteract the age-related sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) that underpins the majority of the decline in metabolic rate as we age.

Make sure your strength training workouts focus on all of the major muscles of the body. 

Your workout routine should include exercises like squats for the quads and glutes, deadlifts for the posterior chain muscles like the hamstrings and glutes, push-ups or chest press for the pecs and triceps, and pull-ups for the lats, to name a few.

A person holding two vitamins and a glass of water.

#3: Get Enough B Vitamins

The complex of B vitamins plays an essential role in energy metabolism by serving as enzymes and cofactors needed to break down nutrients and convert the caloric energy in the food you eat into ATP, which is usable cellular energy.

Animal studies suggest that increasing the intake of B vitamins can potentially attenuate weight gain when on a high-fat diet.

#4: Get a Standing Desk

Standing burns more calories than sitting, so switching to a standing desk or standing up and pacing when taking a phone call is a great way to burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate.

#5: Drink More Water

Studies have found that even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on your energy levels, mood, and metabolism.

Evidence suggests that drinking more water can cause a temporary boost in metabolic rate.

Additionally, staying well hydrated by consistently drinking water throughout the day is a great way to stave off dehydration, which is often mistaken for hunger. This is another way in which drinking enough water can help facilitate weight loss.

A person sleeping with a sleep mask on.

#6: Get to Bed On Time

Not only will failing to get enough sleep leave you feeling groggy and potentially too fatigued to work out or be physically active, but it may lead to increases in appetite—both of which can cause you to gain weight—but insufficient sleep has independently been associated with a decrease in metabolic rate.

Make sure that you are getting to bed early enough so that you are giving yourself enough hours in bed to actually amass the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Beyond this, it is important to optimize the sleep environment by keeping it cool, dark, and free from potential disruptions.

Avoid caffeine within six hours before you plan to go to sleep, and limit your use of electronic devices an hour or two before bed. It’s also a good idea to use a blue light blocker on your computer screen and mobile devices, as the blue light can interfere with your sleep stages.

A person taking a cold shower.

#7: Take a Cold Shower or Do Cold Water Immersion

Cold water immersion or a cold shower may temporarily boost your metabolic rate and wake you up with a jolt of energy at the same time.

If you can’t get yourself to voluntarily hop into an icy shower, work your way into taking a cold shower by beginning the shower with the water on a warm or lukewarm setting.

Then, drop the temperature as cold as you can tolerate for the last minute or so. 

This may help boost your metabolism and energy levels to help you feel more awake and alert.

If you work at home, you could potentially take two or three quick cold showers throughout the day to naturally boost your energy levels, and unlike caffeine, a cold shower is not addictive and is a drug-free way to increase energy levels and cause a temporary spike in metabolism.

#8: Try Spicy Foods

Spicy foods, such as chili peppers, may give you a slight boost in your metabolic rate due to the capsaicin in the hot peppers.

A plate of raw proteins such as chicken, fish, and meat.

#9: Boost Your Protein Intake

Adding more protein to your diet can promote satiety and support muscle protein synthesis and repair, along with all of the many vital physiological functions of protein in the body.

Protein has been found to not only be a more satiating macronutrient that can help control appetite, but it can also boost your metabolic rate

The thermic effect of food refers to the amount of energy it takes to digest and absorb the nutrients in your food. 

Protein has the highest thermic effect relative to fat and carbohydrates, meaning that it takes more energy and burns more calories to digest proteins than it does other nutrients. Therefore, eating a high-protein diet may help you increase your metabolic rate while also helping you feel fuller on fewer calories.

#10: Drink Your Coffee and Tea

Caffeinated coffee and tea can increase metabolic rate because caffeine is a stimulant. Green tea, in particular, has been shown to increase fat burning.

However, when enjoying coffee or tea for the purposes of boosting your metabolism to burn more calories and lose weight, be mindful not to add lots of sugar, creamer, or other caloric ingredients, or you will be counteracting the number of calories burned by whatever potential metabolic boost you might get from the natural caffeine.  

A person eating a salad.

#11: Eat Enough Calories

Although a caloric deficit is necessary to lose weight, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consuming too few calories, particularly habitually, can cause your metabolism to slow down over time. 

The body employs survival mechanisms that essentially conserve energy so that the same processes can be performed by burning fewer calories, which will reduce your resting metabolic rate.

For this reason, it is often advisable to either follow a diet that cycles the number of calories you eat between higher-calorie and lower-calorie days or throw in a few higher-calorie days per week, which maintains an overall caloric deficit to “trick” your body into feeling like calories and resources are not scarce so that your metabolism does not slow down.

Now that you have your tips and tricks for how to increase your metabolism, you can pick and choose which will work best with your lifestyle.

For more information on a metabolic confusion diet, check out our help guide here.

A person drinking a bottle of water.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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