Metabolism is somewhat a function of genetics, but you can increase basal metabolism by building muscle. Muscle cells are up to eight times more metabolically active than fat cells, and muscle burns more calories than fat. Adding weight-bearing or resistance exercise – such as weightlifting or exercise bands — is one of the only ways to increase basal metabolism.
An efficient metabolism also requires the smooth running of many complex body processes that rely on sufficient antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and the B vitamins. Supplements to correct any deficiencies are therefore important.
Finally, dehydration can contribute to an inefficient metabolism, by affecting body temperature. When you are dehydrated, your body temperature drops slightly, and causes your body to store fat as a way to help raise or maintain the temperature. Making sure you drink enough liquids, preferably at least 64 ounces of water per day, to avoid this metabolic pitfall.
Eat the majority of your food earlier in the day – Dinner should be your lightest meal, and some experts recommend you don’t anything after 8 p.m., or any later than 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. This helps your body process and burn the food when you’re aware and moving around and burning more calories per hour.
Don’t starve – Dropping your calorie intake below 1,000 calories a day will signal to your body that you are in starvation mode, and will slow down your metabolism.
Eat smaller meals more frequently – Smaller, more frequent meals keeps your blood sugar stable and provides a steady source of energy to fuel metabolism.
Get enough aerobic exercise – As much as you can is really a help for your metabolism, and if you do it in the morning, you’ll raise your metabolism all day.
Build muscle with weight training or resistance exercise – At least two to three times a week, you should add weight training or progressive resistance exercise that builds muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest!
Water, water, water!! — You’ve heard it before, but drink those 8 8-ounce glasses of water every day. The energy burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively.
Increase the Thermic Effect of Food – Resting metabolic rate typically increases as much as two to three times more after eating proteins versus carbohydrates and fats. Complex, high-fiber carbohydrates — like high-fiber vegetables and cereals, however — burn more calories than simple carbohydrates. You can increase the thermic effect on metabolism by focusing on quality protein, high-fiber fruits and vegetables, with an occasional high-fiber grain.