How to Increase Your Metabolism

July 22, 2019

It’s well-known that “metabolism” refers to the body’s ability to burn calories. Any who wish to lose weight often desire to raise their metabolism throughout the day, thus burning more calories. But what is metabolism? Can one raise it? How does one do so? I wrote this to make some clarifications.


While metabolism is a more complex phenomenon than a short blog entry can describe, for the purposes of weight loss we can use the phrase “metabolism” interchangeably with “VO2”, or the rate at which the body consumes oxygen. More specifically, we eat sugar, fat, and protein, which combines with inhaled oxygen, to create energy, carbon dioxide, and water. The implication of this is that we must maximize the rate at which the body consumes oxygen in order to optimally metabolize protein, sugar, and fat.


At total rest, and each minute, most humans metabolize in the neighborhood of 3.5mL of oxygen per kilogram of body weight. This number is fixed and cannot be increased in a resting state. Which is to say, there’s no way to improve your body’s resting metabolism. However, while not at rest, the body does consume more oxygen.


Physical activity, unsurprisingly, increases your metabolism. When you’re sitting upright, this number increases about 50% over your resting metabolic rate. When you’re standing, your metabolism increases by about 100% over resting. When you’re walking, it increases by about 200-300%, and so on.


What you may not know is that eating also can increase your metabolic rate. The body actually must use energy to harvest energy from food. For every 100 calories of fat you consume, the body expends about 1 calorie to harvest it. For every 100 calories of carbohydrates, the body burns about 10 calories. And for every 100 calories of protein, you need to expend 25 calories to utilize it.


So now that you know a little bit more about metabolism let’s put this into practice. The best strategies are best devised for the workplace, as we spend the majority of our time there, and, unless your’e a construction worker or a waiter, the majority of that time is potentially sedentary, and possibly eating. So without further ado, here are a few things you can do to improve your metabolism and increase calorie consumption throughout the day.




1. See if your company will invest in a standing desk or treadmill desk. Insurance companies are becoming increasingly aware of employee health, and may cover the cost of a treadmill desk if it saves them money in insurance costs in the process. Using a treadmill desk at 1 mph for even one hour a day can burn an extra 80 calories a day or a pound of fat about every 9 workweeks.  Even a standing desk one hour a day will add an additional 55 calories a day, or about a pound of fat every 13 workweeks.


2.  Park farther from work or get off of transit one stop early. If you spend an extra 15 minutes walking to and from work, you will have burned about 60 extra calories a day, which adds up to 3500 over about 12 working weeks, which in turn amounts to about one pound of body fat.


3.  Get up from your chair or desk and walk about once per hour and walk for about 2 minutes at a time. This will amount to about another 60 calories, a day, which is another pound of fat over the same span of time.


4. If you’re going to snack, opt for snacks rich in protein. Replacing a 100 calorie sugary snack with a 100 calorie protein snack (like rough greens or nuts) will burn about an extra 15 calories a day, or just over a pound of body fat a year.


5.  Try taking the stairs, if only 3-4 flights a day. If you walk up the stairs for a minute each time you get up from being seated, you may burn an additional 10 calories a day, which adds up to a pound of body fat in the span of just over a year.


Taken together, these tips can add up to as much as an extra 15 pounds of body fat a year. When made into good habits, these incremental changes can promote long-term changes that promote sustainable and maintainable weight loss. And when combined with a diet and nutrition plan from KB Fitness Solutions, you can expect to see even greater results. One of our coaches would be happy to instruct you on long-term changes you can make that will promote continual weight loss even outside of the gym.

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