The first and foremost item that needs to be addressed when discussing increasing your metabolism is to define it. Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories, and therefore your basal metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. But what does your body burn calories on?
We are warm blooded, and to keep our bodies at 98.6 degrees takes a lot of calories, in fact the vast majority of the food you put into your body goes to just that, keeping us warm. The rest of your calories go towards keeping our body functioning (i.e. Able to run, push, lift) or growth. During our growing years much of the growth goes towards the development of our bodies, while later in life, when growth spurts have stopped, the body still grows, but only in muscle tissue, hair follicles, finger-nails and so on.
You have probably heard that everyone is born with some sort of combination of alleles that convert calories at different, and this determines your metabolism rate. While, yes, it is true that your DNA makes up part of your metabolic rate, did you know that you can increase it? So, what is the obvious easiest way to increase your metabolic rate? You guessed it, exercise.
So, what exercises are the best? Well, if you couch-potato-ing it, than do anything, jog, walk, play basketball, play with your kids!! But these exercises help, but what will help the best? The answer is a good combination of activities:
Glycogenic exercises: Nothing will increase your bodies natural metabolism faster than working out in high volume weight training. You have probably heard that muscles weighs more than fat. Well, muscles also burns calories at a much faster rate just to keep them warm (remember, we are warm blooded). Glycogenic workouts make your muscles more dense. If your looking for six-pack abs, than doing situps will only work if your convert those fat stores into muscles. The best glycogenic workouts, that will boost your muscle stores are full body workouts. Leave the curls alone, focus instead on the full body lifts, and do them with high volume, and with high intensity. If you are doing it right, you should feel like your lungs are about to blow out. Focus on squats, power cleans, snatches, burpees, pulls ups, pushups, swimming quickly, deadlifts and more. There are no shortage of full body exercises online, and make sure you have the correct form before attempting them. Make your workouts last 15-20 minutes, and make sure you keep up the intensity for the entire workout. Ultimately, your body will listen to what you are telling it. If you tell it that you need more muscle to be able to complete so much exercise, in such a high volume, it will use your fat stores to warm your body while growing your muscles, in essence, burning more calories while watching tv and sleeping.
Phosphogenic workouts: This type of workout is explosive work, lasting no more than about 10-15 seconds. In these workouts, you are telling your body you need to be able to move a lot of weight a short distance. You body will react by putting micro-tears in your muscles, that given the right amount of protein, will fill in with more muscle. Any good personal trainer will have you warm-up to avoid injury, and then should start with some strength training, focus on different muscles groups everyday. Following some strength get mentally prepared to push yourself in your glycogenic workout.
Aerobic exercise: These tend to be monostructural workouts like jogging or swimming slowly, and they are exercises that you can typically do for a long period of time. They will burn calories right away. If you’ve ever been on a treadmill, you can see roughly how many calories you are burning in the short term, but to be honest, I think more people get discouraged by this than encouraged. Aerobic exercise helps your heart, and makes it easier for your body to get oxygen to your extremities, but it is not likely to boost your metabolism like you want it to. The goal, is to burn calories in your sleep. This is done, with the weight training listed above.
Finally, you can’t out-run your fork, but what is the right thing to do. First, completely dismiss the food pyramid, it is the largest political scam in history. If you want to learn more about the problems with the food pyramid see article on how the food pyramid fails us or for a fantastic documentary about how the food pyramid came to be for political reasons watch the FatHead documentary on Hulu.
Ultimately, thousands of articles exist about eating right, but the general rules of thumb are simple. Eat whole food, not processed. Stick to the outside of the grocery store. The butcher shop, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and other things that come from the ground without molestation. For a good article on this see here.
In conclusion, exercise with high volume weight training, some heavy lifting and some aerobic exercising combined with healthy nutrition, so that your body burns more all-day, and you’ll feel great, look great, sleep better, breathe better and be an all-around healthier human.