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How Does Your Metabolism Influence Weight Loss?


You already know that diet and exercise are essential to losing weight and maintaining your fitness level. But there’s one piece of the weight loss puzzle that’s often left out of discussions: Your metabolism.

To sum it all up, your metabolism is the process by which your body converts food and drinks into energy. And since you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight, it’s important that you boost your metabolism as much as possible.

What Determines Your Metabolic Rate?

But first, you should understand the factors that influence your metabolic rate, which include:


The more active you are, the more calories you burn. So even if your metabolism is on the slower side, you’ll still be taking a big step towards weight loss. Regular exercise will also cause you to burn more calories even on days when you just sit around and do nothing, so you won’t have to feel so guilty about taking a day off from the gym.

Muscle Mass

The rule of thumb here is that the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. For real. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so when you increase your lean muscle mass, your metabolism will need to work harder to supply energy to your muscles. A great way to boost muscle mass is by strength training, such as lifting weights or resistance training. Aim for at least two strength training workouts a week, in addition to your cardio exercises.


Before you eliminate foods from your diet, you should first calculate your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body requires to do basic functions such as breathing and creating new cells. This will give you a starting point as to how many calories you need to consume in a day; eating too little can actually cause your body to go into “starvation mode,” which slows down your metabolism to reserve your fat stores as much as possible. Once you know your metabolic rate, you can determine your daily calorie needs.


Avoid processed foods and stick to whole foods that are high in protein and fiber. Additionally, make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. You should also monitor your portion sizes, or consider eating six small meals a day instead of three large ones to keep your metabolism going.


According to a study conducted at the University of Chicago, not getting enough sleep can impact the endocrine system, which ultimately includes metabolism. So if you’re not getting more than four or five hours of sleep a night, it’ll impact how your body stores energy, ultimately making it more difficult to lose weight.


Whether you’re sipping a cup of coffee or green tea, these popular sources of caffeine might actually do you some good when it comes to losing or maintaining weight. Since it’s a stimulant, it not only gives you an extra energy boost, but it boosts your metabolism as well. Important – don’t overdo it!


The thyroid is the gland in your neck that releases hormones that control many of your bodily functions, including your metabolic rate. If it’s not functioning properly and slows down, your metabolism will slow as well. Your doctor can test your thyroid and prescribe hormones if it’s dysfunctional.


As you get older, your metabolism will naturally begin to slow down—hence why it often gets easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. As a result, you’ll need to alter how many calories you eat each day and make sure you’re getting plenty of physical activity.

Nutrition Counseling

The Healthplex Sports Club offers Nutrition Counseling Services to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, improve digestion, reduce food cravings and increase your energy levels. To learn more or to register for our Nutrition Counseling Program, please call 610-328-8874 or email beth.meriwether@crozer.org.