Have you ever wondered how to increase your metabolism? Or which foods increase metabolism? Or even how to calculate how many calories you need a day? Well wonder no more, I have the answers in this blog post!
First, let’s get some terminology out of the way:
- Basal Metabolism: The body’s functions that are essential for life including the maintenance of body temperature, breathing, keeping blood pumping around the body and brain function. The ingestion and digestion of food also requires energy, as does the absorption and utilisation of nutrients.
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The amount of energy (calories) used to maintain your basal metabolism, which varies depending on gender, age, weight and body composition. Your BMR represents 45-70% of total daily energy expenditure.
- Estimated Energy Requirement (EER): The amount of energy (calories) from food needed to maintain body size, body composition, activity and growth. This is based on total energy expenditure (TEE) – the average amount of energy/calories used in a typical day. TEE is dependant on gender, age, muscle mass and activity/exercise levels.
In general, women require fewer calories than men, the older we get the fewer calories we need, the more muscle we have the more calories you need and the more activity that you do the more calories you need.
To calculate your daily calorie needs you need to work out your BMR, and then add on a physical activity level. To lose weight you should subtract 300-600 calories from the final figure, and to gain weight you should add this on (you may need to add or subtract between 500 and 1000 Kcal). Don’t take your calorie intake down below 1200 calories a day though – unless under supervision of a health care professional such as a doctor, nurse or dietitian.
1) Calculate your estimated Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):
2) Multiply your BMR with the following, depending on your lifestyle:
Light or Sedentary Activity: 1.4 – 1.69
Moderately Active: 1.7 – 1.99
Vigorously Active: 2 – 2.4
So, now you know your number! Remember though, all of these equations are just ESTIMATES, a figure to roughly go by and tweak as needed. If your weight is stable then you know that you’re eating to your bodily needs exactly.
You can however increase your metabolic rate which means that a) weight loss will be easier and b) you will be able to eat more to maintain your weight.. whoop whoop!
How to Increase your Metabolism
- Build Muscle – Muscle burns calories so make sure to include resistance exercise weekly (ideally twice a week); i.e. lifting weights or doing body weighted exercises such as squats. The more muscle you have the higher your daily metabolic rate will be.
- Get more Active – Reduce your sitting time. The more you move, the more calories you will burn and the higher your metabolic rate!
- Think HIIT – High intensity interval training (working out intensely for short periods repeatedly with short breaks in-between) not only burns calories whilst you’re working out but your metabolic rate is raised for several hours afterwards as well. It’s win win! My favourite HIIT workouts are from Fitness Blender.
- Include Protein with every Meal – Protein not only helps us to feel full but it takes more calories to digest than carbs and fat; in turn boosting your metabolic rate. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, beans and lentils all contain protein.
- Turn down the Heat – If your house feels chilly let your body do the work by trying to keep you warm rather than turning up the central heating. Regulating the body’s core temperature burns calories and it’s thought that our over reliance of heating and air conditioning is one of the causes of our expanding waist lines!
I really hope you find these tips useful and I hope it inspires YOU to increase your metabolism TODAY!
I’m currently maintaining weight at 110 lbs (5’5 tall) 35yr old Female. 250G CHO, 130G PRO and 60G FAT, which is approx 2100 Calories, have maintained this weight for 3-4 weeks now, do you think I could increase overall calories a little but more? even on these macros, I still get hungry! I could have lunch and be hungry again, stomach rumbling in an hour or so! people (esp females) cant believe I eat soo much.
Hello! It sounds like you need to speak to a dietitian for tailored advice, ask your GP for a referral 🙂
So being a 29 year old active mail weighing 76kg my BMR is 3698.1 so that’s my daily advised calorie intake to maintain or 3098 kcal to lose weight?
Yep.. your BMR works out at 1,809.. and EER (taking into account activity) to main weight is 3,618 using an activity factor of 2.. so to lose weight you would subtract 600 which equals 3,000. Hope this helps! Remember though, they are only estimates!
That’s interesting thanks for your response. Perhaps I’m bring too generous with my calorie consumption estimates on myfitnesspal or else my cheat days are just ruining me.
Hi Nicola, could you please explain how came to1809 for John Paul’s BMR? Thanks, Jonica.
Just use the equation above based on age and gender 🙂 x
One question, how do you decide which lifestyle you fit into? I train/exercise 5-6 times a week (cardio and resistance) and pretty much walk everywhere but would only class myself as moderately active, am I being a bit harsh on myself. Good article though and gives a good idea of what calorie intake to consume
You are VERY active (!)
If your calories based on above come out as 1730 a day, and you technically burn 139 cals off through exercise do you take that into account? I log my food intake and exercise through myfitnesspal, and set my daily calories at 1730 based on above, but any exercise you log shows as more calories available, do you see what I mean? So, q is should I add in exercise or is this taken into account based on your bmr and not meant to be counted in?
If you times BMI by the activity factor it gives an ESTIMATE for the total days calorie intake burned. MFP may be more accurate if you’re typing in specific exercises but I would personally go for somewhere in the middle! It’s all an estimate remember.
Hi, I have just discovered your site today and I am very surprised. You are inspiration. You write very interesting posts I can not stop reading. I’m Angie from Poland. I have also a blog about healthy nutrition. You are my inspirace. Greetings from Polish.
Aw thank you!
Hi, I find you so inspiring and helpful. However, I am struggling to work out my BMR and how many calories to consume a day- I am 18 years old, moderately active, I’m 5’3inches and weigh 47kg. If you could help me I would really appreciate it. Thanks xoxo
You’ll need around 2100 kcal 🙂 May be more if you’re more active than usual!
Hi! I always come back to this article cuz it brings reality. I am 20y old 167cm 55kg. I am exercising 3-4 times per week (around 35-40 min), wherever I go I do it by walking or riding a bike. I am student so for big part of day I can be sedentary. I am not sure what is my activity level but I eat around 2000-2200 cal. I gained cuz of ed in the past but i think i am maintaining now. What do you think?
Keep on doing great job! Have a nice day!
(sorry for mistakes english is not my native language)
Hello! If you’re happy with your weight and it’s stable then you’re eating enough calories 🙂 x
Hi…just reading through your website…very informative. I have now worked out my BMR and know roughly how many calories I should have….my main problem is i have been on betablockers for the past year and with it came weight gain. I find it almost impossible to lose weight and for 1 month now I have started doing the Rosemary Conley whole body workout 4 times a week but not even a lb of weight loss yet…I need to kick start my metobolic rate again so your video was very appreciated..will follow your advice and see how it goes. Thanks Jan
Aw good luck Jan and thank you for your comment! xx