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Does Exercising Increase Your Metabolism?

Does Exercising Increase Your Metabolism?
Many people believe that the act of exercising alone can increase your metabolism, but much of your metabolism is genetic or influenced by your diet. Your metabolism dictates how many calories you burn each day without having to exercise, and determines your daily caloric intake.

People with a higher metabolism can often eat more calories per day than those with a slower metabolism and seemingly not gain weight, so it makes sense to try to speed your metabolism up as much as possible. Although bursts of exercises like high intensity interval training can certainly result in a higher amount of calories burned in the short term, it doesn't mean that it will permanently change your metabolism, as research suggests that diet has more of a role to play in it than most other factors.

You can't eat whatever you want even if you exercise a lot

One common misconception that some people have is the idea that you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise, because exercise helps your body burn more calories. Although exercise certainly does burn calories, the amount of calories that it burns is quite limited.

You simply cannot eat whatever you want without significant consequences for your health. Younger people can often get away with eating more calories because their metabolisms are naturally higher, but as you start to age your metabolism inevitably slows down, and the only way to compensate for this slowdown is to improve your diet.

You have to carefully monitor your diet even if you exercise regularly if you are trying to avoid weight gain. Think about it this way, it's very easy to eat 400 calories in one meal, it takes just a few minutes, especially if the meal is unhealthy.

However, it can take over an hour of strenuous exercise to burn 400 calories. Although some types of exercise like high intensity interval training can burn calories for a longer period of time, the initial amount of calories burned with this type of exercise is usually quite limited. You aren't going to be burning 400 calories in most exercise sessions, as burning 200 to 300 is difficult enough as it is.

It's much harder to work off your mistakes with exercise than it is to just avoid them in the first place by following a healthy diet that is free from sugar, grains and starches. You'll feel better in general and you won't have to worry about spending several extra hours in the gym.

There is no evidence to suggest that exercise along will significantly speed up your metabolism to the point that diet mistakes won't matter. The only circumstance where exercise becomes a significant factor is for those who make their living by exercising such as athletes or other people who are physically active for a majority of their day. For most of us without highly active jobs or lifestyles, we are going to gain weight with poor diet choices and exercise isn't going to fix it.

Adding muscle increases your metabolism but only a little

Another misconception is that adding muscle will significantly increase your metabolism, but this also is not the case. Although adding four to five pounds of lean mass can result in 30 to 50 more calories burned per day, this is a very small increase in calories burned and it won't make a significant difference in reducing the impact of an unhealthy diet. Adding muscle just like exercise is not going to offset the negative impact of an unhealthy diet because the amount of calories burned is quite minimal compared to how easy it is to consume more calories.

Although it's good to add more muscle to reduce your chance of injury and for your overall health, it also requires a period of time where you eat more or "€œbulk"€ to increase your protein intake. It's often very difficult to add muscle without gaining fat, and after you add muscle you then have to go on a cutting or dieting cycle to reduce your body fat anyway.

Although it's a good idea to exercise to add muscle, you won't be able to put it on very easily without gaining weight, and if you are trying to lose weight then you'll inevitably have to lose some muscle. Once you achieve a more ideal body fat percentage and weight you can focus on working out again and putting on muscle which is certainly good for your health and your appearance, but no matter what weight you are it won't be easy to gain muscle.

High intensity interval training is a good idea for exercise

If you are looking for a good exercise to boost your metabolism, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best options, but as mentioned previously, the effect of HIIT is fairly limited and won't boost your metabolism by a ton.

However, it's still a good idea to exercise regularly for the many health benefits, and although you won't be losing a ton of weight from exercise alone, it certainly won't hurt you at all and can significantly improve several aspects of your health.

High intensity interval training happens to be one of the more effective forms of exercise because it does in fact raise your metabolism for a period of time afterward. It increases your HGH production by up to 450 percent as well, which is also effective at reducing fat. HIIT involves working out in short bursts, by alternating high intensity workouts with rest.

For example, you might sprint for one minute and walk for 1 minute as one type of HIIT exercise, or you might cycle as fast as you can for 1 minute followed by a minute of rest. This type of exercise is highly effective at burning fat due to the positive hormonal response that your body will have, and you can in fact lose weight with it, but you always need to combine dieting with exercise, and dieting takes priority in terms of weight loss specifically.

You have to create a calorie deficit to lose weight

Although younger people and some people with a higher metabolism can lose weight with minimal effort, the majority of us will have to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.

Some people need minimal dieting and exercise to start shedding pounds while other people have more resilient bodies. At the end of the day it's simple math, and the lower you can restrict your calories, the more weight that you can lose. However, it's not safe to reduce your calorie intake without discussing it with a medical provider, as you may have a condition that makes it unsafe.

The HCG diet works for a lot of people because the hormone boosts the weight loss effect of the diet, and the diet itself is carefully designed to result in rapid and safe weight loss. The daily calorie limit for diet participants is 500 calories of select whole foods, and the diet results in rapid weight loss no matter what your metabolic type is and how difficult it has been in the past for you to lose weight.

Your age, weight and other factors don't really affect your weight loss on the HCG diet, and most importantly you don't need to do any type of exercise at all in order to lose weight on it. For more information about how the HCG diet can help you lose weight without exercise, click here to contact a medical provider at Nu Image Medical today.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read