Everyone has those friends—you know the ones. They scarf down cheeseburgers and sweets with seemingly no effect on their trim physiques. For those who aren’t genetically blessed with a super-efficient metabolism, understanding the factors that influence your basal metabolic rate (BMR) can help guide your approach to weight management.
1. MUSCLE MASS
As you increase muscle mass, your body uses up more energy to maintain its basic everyday functions, giving your BMR a well-deserved boost. So, while cardio torches calories today, strength training may also be important for enhancing your metabolism and achieving long-term success.
2. YOUR AGE
Those pizza-noshing, beer-guzzling habits of your youth don’t fly in your thirties and beyond. This is due in part to the natural loss of lean muscle and decrease in energy expenditure that occurs as people age. As you get older, you’ll need to compensate for your slowing metabolism by eating healthier and working out harder.
3. HOW MANY CALORIES YOU CONSUME
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. However, when you don’t fuel your body with enough calories, it slows down your BMR to ensure it is storing whatever it can. To maintain a stable metabolism, aim for a balanced diet and consistent, sensible caloric intake.
4. YOUR STATE OF MIND
People who are stressed or sleep-deprived may be likely to produce more of the hormone cortisol. Individuals under stress may also be less likely to make healthy food choices. Aim to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night and de-stress with a relaxing activity like outdoor yoga to help stabilize your metabolism.
5. YOUR GENETICS
Just as you are born with your mom’s skinny calves or your dad’s dimples, you also come into the world with your own unique BMR that is at least somewhat hereditary. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and healthy sleeping patterns can all help your metabolism be the best it can be.
6. YOUR GENDER
Men have higher BMRs than women, regardless of age. This is because women and men have different body compositions, and men naturally have more muscle mass and less fat.
7. BODY COMPOSITION
Your body’s composition of lean muscle and fat (referred to as Lean Body Mass) is a key indicator of its ability to maintain a high BMR in the long-term. Someone with higher LBM will naturally burn more calories and enjoy a higher BMR than someone at the same weight with a higher percentage of fat.
8. YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL
The more physically active you are, the more calories you burn throughout the day. Increasing the amount of exercise and activity you get in daily can give your metabolism the assistance it needs to help support your weight loss goals.