If you have ever tried to lose weight, you understand how difficult it is. You clean up your diet to reduce your caloric intake and you go to the gym to increase your caloric burn. However, you may not realize that your formal training is only about 10-20% of your total daily energy expenditure. Whereas, your rest time, including sleep, work, dinner, tv time, etc, accounts for 50-70% of your daily calories burned. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is a huge contributor to both your ability to lose weight, and keep weight off. So how do you increase your resting metabolic rate?
Tips to Increase RMR
Increase Your Muscle Mass
Even though formal training only accounts for 10-20% of your daily calories burned, building muscle through weight resistance training is the key to burning more calories throughout the rest of the day. Muscles are high-maintenance tissues and they’re constantly in use so they burn more calories than fat does. People with higher muscle mass end up burning more calories than people with low muscle mass, even when they’re just sitting around. Not only do you have a better body composition by building muscle but it’s also easier to maintain. It’s a win, win situation.
Maintain Your Caloric Intake
This may sound counter-intuitive, but when you restrict your calories too much, your body enters survival mode. When you put your body into survival mode, it will try to hold onto the calories it does get and your metabolic rate will drop as a result. You should eat at least 3 meals a day that have a wide variety of proteins, carbs, and fats to maintain a high resting metabolic rate. Carbs and fats are great energy sources and aren’t bad for you in moderation.
Eat More Protein
Digesting food actually burns calories, just not nearly as many calories as you get from the food itself. When you increase your protein intake, your body will use more energy to burn them than it would for fats and carbs. Not only that, protein is the hardest macronutrient for the body to store as fat. While calories dictate if the scale goes up or down, protein determines how much muscle you build, maintain, or lose. More protein leads to more muscle, and more muscle increases your resting metabolic rate. It goes full circle.
Get a Good Night Sleep
Quality sleep not only supports your metabolic health but also better cognitive function, a stronger immune system, hormone and mood regulation, recovery, and more. Depriving yourself of sleep increases blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and affects ghrelin (the hunger hormone). People who are sleep-deprived often feel hungry and may have difficulty losing weight when weight loss is their goal. Better sleep can increase the calories you burn, change the way you process sugar, and balance your appetite-regulating hormones.
Drink More Water
More than 50% of adults do not drink enough water on a daily basis and it is one of the easiest things you can do to start living a healthier lifestyle. Water aids digestion, transports nutrients and oxygen to your cells, hydrates your skin, and ensures your body is operating efficiently. This includes your metabolism. Try to drink 90-100oz of water a day to support your resting metabolic rate.
Walking is the most underrated form of movement to improve your overall health. Walking regularly can help you become more physically active and healthy in your body and mind. Daily movement, even if it's not intense exercise, will promote a healthy metabolism.
If you focus on these 6 basic rules of fitness to improve your resting metabolic rate, you can pay a lot less attention to your caloric intake and stop viewing exercise as a punishment. Look at exercise as training to improve performance, learning new skills, longevity, moving pain-free, and building muscle. Then you can also look at your food intake as both fuel, and happy memories.
You’ll naturally burn more calories throughout the day without even trying!
More About Paul
Paul is the founder of PR Performance LLC - helping busy professionals and athletes improve their health and performance. PR Performance is headquartered in NYC and has an online training app with 3 daily programs for all fitness levels based on your specific goals.