How to boost your metabolism with exercise

a person lifting weights
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Your metabolism is how you burn calories, but none of us are alike - as genetics can play a huge role in how food is processed and burnt in our bodies. However, exercise can help to boost your metabolism.

Women's Health Collective trainer Kate Rowe-Ham explains: 'It is important to remember that your metabolism isn't one thing and it is made up of what and how you go about your day, plus your own body's methods of using calories or your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)'.

She adds that you need to factor in your BMR ( Basal Metabolic Rate) the number of calories your body uses to perform day-to-day activities, plus: 'NEAT, is the number of calories you use in day-to-day life, outside of exercise - and this varies from one person to the next, as does your physical activity level, which plays a huge role. Essentially, the more you move your body, the more calories you burn, and your metabolism will work more efficiently.'

HIIT or weights?

'All movement will help but someone who moves more than another person, on a daily basis, will likely have a better metabolism. So if you have a sedentary desk job versus someone who has an active job, it's likely that you will have different metabolic processes.'

However, she says that: 'HIIT is superior as it requires a high level of energy, but it would be wrong to assume strength training doesn't have the same effect - they just work differently. Where you will need to use the calories and energy to build and repair muscle after a heavy lifting session, both will speed up your metabolism during and after the session.'

Your age is also likely to impact how your metabolism works: 'It may slow down, especially in women with declining oestrogen, so it is important to factor this in if you begin to see weight gain.'

However, instead of spending ages in the gym, it's how intense the sessions are, that matter most: 'A workout which requires your body to work harder, then repair and recover will use more metabolic systems.'

Diet and stress

Boosting your metabolism won't just be down to your 6 am gym routine - as you need to think about the bigger picture.

'Eating the right food will help significantly. Think protein, fibre, good fats, carbs and leafy greens. Protein will help you stay fuller for longer - giving your body time to rest and digest. Protein and good fats will also help you balance hormones.'

But, don't forget about how important sleep and creating a stress-free environment. If you're at the gym 7 days a week you'll end up burning out quickly. Most of us need around 7 -9 hours of sleep a night - and that's not just on the weekends. Keeping your bedtime and wake time consistent will mean you fall asleep quicker and get the hours your body needs.

Kate adds: 'We live life at such a fast pace these days - factors that cause stress in our bodies can lead to metabolic dysregulation - while sleep deprivation can increase hunger through our neurotransmitters.'

'Lack of sleep, too much stress, and not enough rest and recovery can impact your workouts too making them less effective as you struggle through.'

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