Tips to Boost Metabolism
Welcome to the season of sun, sand, and summer clothes! If you’ve been thinking about how to support your metabolism naturally to shed excess winter weight, you’ve come to the right place. Our goal is always to biohack your systems to optimize health in a sustainable way with a whole-body approach. It’s best to get personalized advice for specific goals but here are 5 easy tips for almost anyone to boost their metabolism this summer.
- Think Protein Timing
If you’re already health conscious, you might be thinking about hitting your daily protein goals. However, if you really want to up your metabolism, you should be thinking about protein at every meal, especially breakfast! A good starting point is identifying a protein-rich source at each meal (e.g. meat, fish, beans, nuts, eggs etc.). For hard-core healthies with specific goals, or macro-trackers, approximate your total protein (typically about 1.5-2g/kg) and make sure to split your protein allocation across the day.
- B-vitamins for Best Results
The main function of the B vitamins is to help your body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and to use the stored energy in food. Deficiencies in b-vitamins can cause fatigue and disruptions to metabolism that can cause secondary weight gain. In Asian populations, there is a higher risk of B12 deficiency due to a genetic variation (known as the MTHFR SNP) that changes the efficiency of utilization of B-vitamins.1 In everyday terms, that means that even if you’re supplementing with B12, it might not be working the way you want.
- Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Sleep is intrinsically tied to our metabolism, which ebbs and flows over the day. Suboptimal sleep, classified as less than 6 hours of sleep per night, is an epidemic with around 1 in 3 people that are sleep deprived.2 When we don’t sleep well, every for just one night, our hormones can become out of whack. Two key hormones, cortisol and growth hormone, that are important for glucose utilization are sensitive to poor sleep.2 So when we don’t sleep well, our blood sugar is less appropriately regulated, making it easier to put on weight. On the flip side, after better sleep, you burn fat more efficiently throughout the day!
- Lift Weights to Lose Weight
Weight training is greatly overlooked when it comes to weight loss. Studies have proven the benefits of weights for boosting resting metabolism with a 9% increase in men and a ~4% increase in women.3 In general, cardio burns more calories in a single session of the same duration but the activation of muscle fibers in weight training leads to caloric expenditure, not just during the exercise, but for hours after. Studies have shown that metabolism remains elevated for hours following resistance exercise – even for up to 38 hours!4 It also is great for exercising a wide variety of muscles in a single workout.
Weekly to monthly infrared saunas are a great multi-function session for health. Infrared saunas use infrared wavelengths (not the UV rays that cause tanning or sun damage) to penetrate the skin deeply. This can support muscle repair after working out, increase the metabolic rate, and help burn ~200 to 600 calories per 30 minutes. A review of sauna benefits saw findings “compared to the metabolic effects of exercise in healthy populations which include improvements in both LDL and HDL lipid levels”.5
You’re ready to integrate these five easy tips into your daily routine! Focus on lean protein sources during each meal; set a wake-up time and bedtime and stick to it every day (yes, even on weekends); create a weekly workout routine that incorporates weight training; check your B-vitamin status and select MTHFR-friendly B12; and consider supportive therapies like infrared saunas.
- Wang X, Fu J, Li Q, Zeng D. Geographical and Ethnic Distributions of the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G Gene Polymorphisms in Chinese Populations: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2016;11(4):e0152414. Published 2016 Apr 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152414.
- Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:270832. doi: 10.1155/2010/270832. Epub 2010 Aug 2. PMID: 20811596; PMCID: PMC2929498.
- Lemmer JT, Ivey FM, Ryan AS, et al. Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(4):532-541. doi:10.1097/00005768-200104000-00005.
- Schuenke, M.D., Mikat, R.P. & McBride, J.M. Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management. Eur J Appl Physiol 86, 411–417 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-001-0568-y.
- Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:1857413. Published 2018 Apr 24. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413.