How to hack your metabolism

How to hack your metabolism

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions in your body that converts calories into energy and maintain cellular function. It is often used to describe our basal metabolic rate (BMR), the rate we burn calories while at rest. Your BMR is essentially the number of calories your body needs to survive at a rested state, performing involuntary processes like digestion and organ function.

While genetics plays a role, new research shows that metabolism is connected to body fat and has less to do with age and gender. The good news is that your metabolism is highly modifiable through diet and exercise.

Try time-restricted eating. Our food habits are highly linked with our circadian clocks, and research suggests time-restricted eating could be a natural therapeutic strategy to prevent obesity and other metabolic disorders. Note: Avoid eating late at night.

Strength train. It takes more energy to move muscle than fat, so increasing muscle tissue can increase our metabolic rate.

Increase brown fat. The two main types of fat are white and brown. White fat accumulates when you ingest an excess of calories and your body stores them for use in a caloric deficit. Brown fat is full of iron-rich mitochondria and helps maintain body temperature. You can activate brown fat through cold therapy such as water plunges or cryotherapy.

Eat enough calories. Nothing kills your metabolism faster than consuming too few calories long-term. Your ancestral survival instincts kick in, holding on to fat and slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. The answer is eating and moving more, not less.

Eat more protein. Muscle protein synthesis is an important component of how the body builds and maintains muscle. It takes more calories to digest protein than fat or carbs and helps build lean muscle, increasing our metabolic rate.

Prioritize sleep. Research shows that those who get less sleep may have lower metabolic rates. Sleep is intricately involved in multiple hormonal and metabolic processes and is vital in maintaining metabolic stability.

Check hormone health. Low thyroid function can slow metabolism. High cortisol levels from stress can induce metabolic changes and increase appetite.

Take vitamins. Vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are crucial to metabolism because of their roles in energy release and storage.

How to determine YOUR BMR
Your basal metabolic rate is based on your age, height, weight and gender. Calculate yours at

Army veteran Jennifer Campbell is a certified personal trainer with a master’s degree in nutrition education. She is past commander of the California American Legion’s 24th District and Hollywood Post 43.