Metabolism 101: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

The human metabolism is one of the most complicated of our internal functions! There’s so much about it we just don’t know, even after spending decades researching it. It’s difficult to know how to increase your metabolism and how to prevent it from slowing down, as there’s no single organ that you can target, feed, or exercise. But there is enough about the metabolism that you can start to understand, and take steps to improve. Below, you’ll find all the important metabolism-related facts you need to know:

Fact #1: Your Muscles Are the Boss

People with a higher muscle mass tend to have a higher metabolism, simply because the human body needs to produce more energy to power those muscles. Building new muscle and working the existing lean muscle mass, therefore, is the key to keeping your metabolism working well. Every time you break down your muscles through your exercise, they burn calories through the process of repair and remodeling. This leads to a higher demand placed on your body for energy, encouraging your body to increase the amount of energy it creates. This is the definition of “speeding up your metabolism”, and it’s all thanks to your muscle mass!

Fact #2: You Can’t Control it All

While there are certain things you can do to raise your metabolism—such as doing resistance training every week to target your muscles—the truth is that there are parts of your metabolism that are simply out of your control. Your body’s resting metabolic rate is controlled by your body size, weight, and lean muscle mass—skinnier doesn’t necessarily mean a faster RMR. Your active metabolism is controlled by your daily exercise: the more exercise you do, the faster your active metabolism. And your dietary thermogenesis is the energy required to burn the food you eat. Some foods will require more energy to burn than others, which can lead to a faster metabolism in that regard. It’s important to control the parts of your metabolism that you can affect, as well as understand that there will always be parts that you can do nothing about.

Fact #3: Protein is Crucial

In case you didn’t already know this, it’s always a good idea to include more protein in your diet. Protein is needed in order to produce new muscle tissue, which will raise your metabolism. It also takes more energy to burn, so it will raise your dietary thermogenesis. And, because it encourages the growth of muscle mass, you’ll have more demands for energy when you exercise. A diet rich in protein is crucial for a healthy body and a fast metabolism, so you should try to increase your daily protein intake.

Fact #4: Sleep and Healthy Eating Matter

When you get enough sleep, you protect your muscle mass and encourage effective utilization of energy. A lack of sleep, however, has been linked to a slower metabolism, greater fatigue, and even muscle mass loss! Healthy eating is also crucial for a fast metabolism. If you get enough calories in your diet, you provide the energy your body needs to power your muscles, organs, and internal functions. But when you cut back on calories, you deprive your body of energy. This causes it to decrease your energy output, which in turn slows down your metabolism. You’ll often feel tired or fatigued because you’re not getting enough energy (in the form of calories) to keep your body working well. You’ll find that eating more calories can sometimes do wonders to speed up your metabolism.

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