How To Increase Your Metabolic Rate (Even without exercise)

  May 4, 2016  |  #Eats

Good Morning, friends!

I got a good response after my post about metabolic testing, so I thought it would be neat to share some tips about how you can increase your metabolic rate (especially with food!)! And of course, thanks to Jenn and the crew for hosting WIAW.

Your metabolic rate is highly dependent on several individual aspects like physical activity, gender, genetics, lean body mass, hormones and other factors. No two people in this world are the same, therefore everyone’s metabolic rate is always going to be a little different. There are plenty of free tools you can use to get an estimation, but as I mentioned, there are so many other factors, so more often than not, these numbers are not accurate. The best way to do it is through indirect calorimetry, which measures your oxygen consumed and CO2 expired. However, these can be expensive and are hard to find! Fortunately, we do these for our clients (we use Body Gem).

body gem


The first tip to increasing your metabolic rate is eating breakfast! Breakfast is good for so many reasons, and it really does kick start the metabolism, which has been at rest overnight. I tell my clients that it “sets the tone” for your day. If you start your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast, you’re more likely to stay consistent and choose healthy, balanced options throughout the day.

Breakfast: A hearty, delicious bowl of oats cooked with an egg white, and topped with bluebs, cinnamon, nuts ‘n more protein cookie butter (<— AMAZING!), greek yogurt, chia seeds, banana, and half of a hemp/chia seed energy bite recipe I’m working on.

oatmeal, WIAW

You’ve probably heard that strength training is one way to increase your metabolic rate. This is 100% true. The reason for this is because muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest than fat. Therefore, the body has to work harder to support 1 pound of muscle compared to 1 pound of fat.   Some research has found that regular weight training boosts basal metabolic rate by 10-15%. I try to do some form of strength training a couple times of week. I LOVE kettle bell workouts.

AM Snack: Tropical Beet Smoothie (Recipe here). It wasn’t as pretty since I was on the go, but good thing for a little bit of meal prep and having extra’s in the fridge. 

smoothie mason jar

Just like strength training, including intervals or a form of circuit training into your exercise regimen can be helpful for increasing your metabolic rate, because you’re constantly raising and lowering your heart rate. There is a lot of research about EPOC, or the afterburn effect, where basically, your metabolism is running super hard for hours, sometimes days, after the workout. This obviously speeds up your metabolism!

Of course, exercise of all forms can increase our metabolic rates, even walking. The harder you are working, though, the more your body will be working and monitoring the metabolic rate.

Lunch: Two slices of cinnamon raisin bread toasted with kerrygold butter, 2 eggs, a side of greens with blackberries and local tomatoes, and a side of beets!

lunch, WIAW

I also snacked on some roasted chickpeas! I’m obsessed.

roasted chickpeas

Let’s talk about diet. The food you eat has a significant impact on your metabolism. Things like refined carbohydrates, high fat and sugar will slow down your metabolism, while complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables will help enhance it. Not eating slows your metabolism – Eating smaller meals more often can help keep your metabolism rev’d, since a portion of the food we eat goes towards digesting and absorbing nutrients. There is also research supporting that higher protein intakes can burn more calories due to the thermogenic effect, meaning the body burns more energy digesting protein.

Afternoon snack: Banana and Larabar with a decaf Americano while getting some work done.

coffee snacks, WIAW

Other easy things to do WITHOUT exercising to increase your metabolism include drinking lots of water (preferably cold water), having moderate amounts of caffeine, including spicy foods in your diet (like cayenne peppers!), and getting plenty of sleep. Also, keeping the temperature colder (or the act of being cold) burns more calories because your body is working to get to a moderate body temperature – it could even increase metabolism by 20%. Pretty neat, huh?

[Tweet “Learn how we can alter our metabolism just by our daily lifestyle habits!”]

Dinner –  Spring salad with strawberries, pumpkin seeds, brown buttered radishes, cuc’s and topped with a pork tenderloin (bowl x2), and a generous side of sweet potato fries.


For the radishes, I Just coated them with olive oil and some sea salt and baked them for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I heated some butter on the stove and mixed it with lemon and a little bit of salt and pepper and poured that on the radishes for a marinade.

And because I can’t go to bed without a little somethin’ somethin’ – A slice of coconut flour bread with PB and jelly. 

coconut flour bread

The last tip? Decrease stress. When our brain is turned “on” to stress, it’s turned “off” to digestion. Easier said than done, but if we try to live in the moment, we can enable our bodies to better absorb those nutrients.

Linking up with Jill for a life of Fitness, Health and Happiness!

Are you a 5-6 smaller meals a day eater or 3 large meals?

What are your favorite forms of strength training?

47 responses to “How To Increase Your Metabolic Rate (Even without exercise)

  1. Great post! And great food today too! I think I’ll have something to your dinner similar for lunch.
    I eat multiple times a day but I don’t know if I’d consider my meals to be small. I assume my metabolism is okay since I’ve been the same weight for the past couple of years, but I boosting it will important as I get older. I’d rather boost my metabolism than cut back my eating 😉 haha.
    What is the reason behind refined carb slowing the metabolism? I’ve heard the other things before, but wasn’t sure about that one.

    1. Basically because our bodies digest them so quickly, our metabolisms are then at a standstill, while the whole grains with fiber are going through much slower, so our metabolisms are working much harder. I agree that I’d MUCH rather boost my metabolism than cut back on my eating, especially with this The Biggest Loser research study!

  2. This is great! I have found that since ive been doing strength training the past two years or so my metabolism has really really revved up. I usually eat 3-4 meals and 1-3 snacks per day and actually weigh less than before i did strength training and ate less calories per day!

  3. Loved this post as it is a guide on how to design balance
    In our daily life. I tend to be a 3 meal per day person and I’ll have a low sodium V-8 or a low fat yogurt when hungry…

  4. Love all of these tips! I used to eat 6-7 meals a day and I’ve been SO bad about it lately. Getting back to it this week though. I notice a huge difference when I do that. And amen to the water and spice. Those are staples for me!

  5. This is an awesome post! Pinning this to share. I love drinking water as a way to speed up metabolism. Especially after a boozy or unhealthy weekend, it’s like the only thing that i feel puts me back on track.

  6. I eat 5 or 6 smaller meals during the day, I always have and it works for me. I love your approach to healthy eating Sarah, and as always your eats look fantastic!

  7. I used to be a 3 square meals kind of gal, but after seeing a nutritionist she encouraged me to break up lunch into two smaller meals. It helps keep my energy up all day when I don’t have a huge lunch, but a smaller lunch and a hefty snack later on!

  8. I am a three meal per day person, but I snack at work when I’m doing stuff. I think my favorite weight exercise is dips. I don’t need any weights, but can definitely feel it in my triceps the next day.

  9. YES for kettle bells! I adore those little cannonballs 😉 Strength training is my jam, which is maybe why I am ALWAYS hungry. Fast metabolism I guess 😉 So yes Im the smaller meals throughout the day kind of person. I think I would die if I only had 3 meals!

  10. In general I guess I’m a 3 meal a day kind of gal, but I usually have a pre-workout snack, elevensies & an afternoon snack too. So really, I spend the whole day eating.

    I’m a big strength training fan, but I am always RAVENOUS the rest of the day after I lift. Running makes me hungry sometimes, but nothing like this.

    So you’re telling me that the office being so cold is actually good for my metabolism??? 😉

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