Metabolism: it is the term that is either the bearer of all of evil for some, or the saving grace for everyone else. We have all seen or heard about the effects of having a really slow metabolism or being blessed with a supercharged metabolism…. but is it true for those of us who are deemed unfortunate, that we cannot do anything to change it and speed up our metabolism?

Don’t worry, it is a fallacy that we are unable to control our metabolism; there is hope for those who have a slow metabolism because you can indeed speed up your metabolism. Before we jump into the deep end trying to explain how to speed up your metabolism, lets look at some important fitness terms for complete understanding:

•    TDEE : Total Daily Energy Expenditure
•    RMR :  Resting Metabolic Rate
•    DIT : Diet Induced Thermogenisis
•    Kcal :  short for kilocalorie, it  is a measurement of the amount of energy in the foods you eat
•    EPOC :  excess post-exercise oxygen consumption
Metabolism is the term that is used to describe the bodily process that involves all chemical reactions of biomolecules within the body to maintain the living state of the cells of an organism. Your metabolic rate, or the amount of energy you expend daily, is determined by three factors. These factors include your resting metabolic rate, thermic effect of activity, and the thermic effect of food consumption.

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the largest component of energy expenditure.  RMR comprises approximately 60-75% of the total daily energy expenditure – talk about a big chunk!  Each of us requires a minimum level of energy to sustain vital functions such as heartbeat and breathing and immune function in a woken state.  Body composition (fat-free mass or muscle mass), age and gender are just a few factors that may impact RMR.

Thermic effect of activity is extremely important when it comes to increasing RMR. Thermic effect of activity refers to all of the activities you perform throughout the day, from going to the gym, to running errands, to simplistic and non-conscious movements such as your fidgeting problem. This type of activity is referred to as NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. If you tap your foot or shake your leg while you’re working at your desk, you’re burning more calories through NEAT.
Normally, the thermic effect of activity accounts for about 20% of your daily energy expenditure, although it can be as high as 30% for people who have active jobs or spend a lot of time at the gym. Unlike your resting metabolic rate, which you have limited control over, you can control your thermic effect of activity by controlling how much you exercise and move around during the day.

Get off the couch and get going! It is important to note that despite what you may hear or want to admit, physical activity has by far the most profound effect on human energy expenditure or metabolism.  World-class athletes nearly double their TDEE with 3 to 4 hours of intense training.  “Big muscle” exercise, such as running, swimming and high intensity interval training,, appears to yield the best results.  High intensity interval training combines resistance training with cardiovascular exercise. One of the best places in the Valley to get this kind of workout is Orangetheory Fitness. Orangetheory fitness not only combines strength training and interval cardiovascular training every class, but they are also backed by the science of EPOC for maximum metabolism stimulation and increased energy.

In addition, RMR appears to decrease by 2 to 3 percent with age.  However, studies reveal that regular endurance and resistance training offset the decrease in resting metabolism that usually accompanies aging.  Each one-pound gain in fat-free mass increases RMR by seven to 10 kcals per day.

The third factor, in thermic effect of food is the fancy way for saying “the process your body goes through to break down and process food.” Food consumption and the process your body uses for the breakdown of each meal increases your metabolic energy.  This is known as Diet-Induced Thermogenesis (DIT) and accounts for 10% of TDEE.  While the quality and type of food consumed effects the magnitude of DIT, thermic effects of food generally reaches maximum caloric burn within an hour after completing a meal.  Advocates of consuming a high-protein diet for weight reduction base their argument on the relatively large calorigenic effect of ingested protein.  In other words, a meal of pure protein elicits a high thermic effect due to the extra energy required by the liver to synthesize protein and convert amino acids to glucose…meaning you are burning more calories when you eat high protein diets because it takes more energy to digest protein.

What does burning calories really come down too? Daily physical activity that involves both strength training and high intensity cardiovascular interval training yields the best results. The combination of cardio and strength can help individuals increase the total calories burned during, and after, their workout has ended.  Studies suggest that high intensity interval training will boost metabolism above and beyond traditional cardiovascular or strength training alone.  In fact, one may burn up to up to five times the number of calories burned in 60 minutes of high intensity interval training 24 to 36 hours after the workout has ended, which is referred to as excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC). Orangetheory Fitness’s workout is based on the science of EPOC and each Orangetheory member wears a heart rate monitor throughout the one-hour fitness class to ensure that they are reaching their target heart rate zone that results in EPOC.

Here is a quick overview of how to boost your metabolism: be sure to include protein with each meal in order to enhance the number of calories burned while eating (but don’t over do it!).  Always couple protein sources with other macronutrients for maximum nutrition and include some herbs and spices, such as chili pepper and cayenne powder that have been shown to potentially boost metabolic rate. Most importantly, go do something to get those muscles working everyday. You are the only one who can change your RMR and you have the power to do so.

About Orangetheory Fitness:
Orangetheory Fitness ( is a one-of-a-kind, group personal training workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Backed by the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Led by skilled personal trainers, participants use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX Suspension Training® and free weights, burning an average of 900 calories per session. The result is the Orange Effect –more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.