How to tweak your metabolism to burn calories faster

By Jesse Kepka
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist

When it comes to metabolism, are you the tortoise or the hare?

Metabolism is essentially how efficiently your body uses the food you give it to create energy. Lean bodies generally have a higher metabolism because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Knowing those two main ideas, I wanted to briefly discuss two points of interest with you guys today.

First is the idea of cardio being the go-to for weight loss. By cardio, I mean running, jogging, walking, stair stepping, elliptical machines etc. It’s an avenue that will burn calories, ensuring you come in at the end of the day in an energy deficit – expending more energy (food) than you’re taking in. All great! But what if we add in some weights? At Priority Fit Camp each week, we work to elevate that heart rate with high energy movements as well as create some lean mass with all kinds of resistance modalities to elevate your metabolism. Ladies, don’t be fearful of “bulking” here. Lighter weights with higher reps will help you lean up (it will take much more than that to add bulk), and slowly increase your metabolism as you add a little muscle. Higher metabolism = more calories burnt at rest = more efficient weight loss! Plus, it’s so much more fun than pounding away on those machines day after day as well as being so much better for your joints. So. Much. Better. Try and incorporate a mix of both!

Second involves how completely amazing our bodies are as far as built-in mechanisms for survival. A common thread I’ve been seeing over the past couple of weeks as far as nutrition is that most of us aren’t eating enough. (Mind blown, right?) Women especially are so afraid of eating. The problem here is that one of our built-in mechanisms that kicks on, say, if we’re lost in the woods and don’t eat for several days, is starvation mode. Whatever you put in your body will be held on to because it doesn’t know exactly when it will be fed again. The energy is stored. It will do whatever is necessary to keep you alive for as long as possible. So cool if you crash on a desert island, but not the best for losing weight. If we don’t get enough calories each day, you’re essentially telling your body that your lost in the woods. How does that affect metabolism and fat loss? Hello, sir tortoise. 

We know that genetics and body type do affect metabolism, but you can work to change it with these two tips. Teach your body this efficiency with a balance of energy, (or a small and healthy deficit of energy) and rock those dumbbells! Or kettlebells. Or barbells. Or resistance bands….you get the picture.

Tip shared by Jesse Kepka, NASM-certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and owner of Elevate Fitness. Jesse is a co-organizer for Priority Fit Camp. Each week, we publish a health and wellness tip that is shared at the Priority Fit Camp community workout. The free group class happens every Saturday at 7:50 a.m.  

Click for more info on the free Saturday group workout.