14 Aug, 2019

What is metabolism and how can you increase it?

Mel Oliech

Many people blame their ‘slow’ metabolism for the difficulties they have when it comes to weight loss. While a slow metabolism can impede weight loss, it really can’t be used as an excuse, because you can turn a sluggish metabolism into one that will burn fat.

What is metabolism?

Before we get into that, we need to understand what our metabolism is. In simple terms metabolism refers to the many complex chemical processes that keep our body functioning normally. These processes allow us to break down our food into nutrients, grow, repair and build our muscles, as well as performing tasks that keep us alive, such as breathing, circulating blood, and adjusting hormone levels. All of these processes burn energy.

The amount of energy (calories) your body burns at rest to do all of these things is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Our BMR accounts for about 70 per cent of the total calories our body burns each day.

What influences your metabolism?

In order to kick-start a slow metabolism, we need to understand what influences your metabolism in the first place. While some people will tell you, it’s influenced by body size, sex and age, these factors are really determined by the three main influences below.

Muscle mass

Did you know that around 66% of all the energy that’s metabolised each day is influenced by the amount of muscle you have? As we age, we lose muscle mass (which helps explain why many older people have a slower metabolism). In addition, on average, women have less muscle than men, which explains why men generally have a faster metabolism than women.

But remember, these are generalisations. There are plenty of people in their 50s who have more muscle mass than people in their 30s. Similarly, women can have more muscle mass than men.


The best way to build muscle is through Focused Intense Resistance Exercise, or F.I.R.E. as we like to call it. That’s why this is a cornerstone of our Body Transformation Program. Because when you have more muscle, you increase your metabolism, and your ability to burn fat.


Exercise or physical activity is the next biggest influence on our metabolism, accounting for 17% of our total energy expenditure. Does it surprise you that this percentage is so small? With the huge focus that the weight loss industry puts on exercise and dieting, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was more than this. But only 17% of your metabolism is influenced by exercise.

When you realise this, it seems a bit crazy to continue the long sessions of cardio exercise. After all, who wants to do that, if it doesn’t have a huge impact on metabolism?

At Imani Tribe, we get our clients to do just one or two cardio sessions a week, which are usually around 25-30 minutes long. That’s it. Our I.C.E. sessions — Intense Cardio Exercise — are structured group sessions, designed to burn the most fat in the shortest period of time. Plus, we have a lot of fun doing it.


The final large influence on your metabolism is what you put in your mouth. Food accounts for just 12% of your daily metabolic rate, which is similar percentage to exercise. Most people are shocked when they realise this, because the diet industry would have you believe that cutting back food is the best way to lose weight.

But let us tell you a secret: dieting is one of the worst things you can do to your metabolism. When you create a large energy deficit (which is what dieting does), you actually send your body into starvation mode. This will cause your metabolism to slow down, making it even harder for you to lose or maintain your weight. When you come off the diet (which you will because it’s unsustainable), you go back to your old eating habits. Now, with a slower metabolism than you had before, it’s even easier to gain weight.

The remaining 5% of metabolic influence (if you’ve been doing the math) comes down to regulating your body temperature.

Metabolic blockers

Even if you’re doing all the things mentioned above, there are other factors that will impact your ability to lose weight. These are sometimes called ‘metabolic blockers’. There are four main ones that you need to be aware of:


Smoking has been described as the worst thing you can do for your health. As well as increasing your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, it will short-circuit your weight loss and body shape change results. So if you smoke, take steps to quit.


Your liver plays an important role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Consuming too much alcohol can affect your liver, and negatively impact the way your body metabolises and stores carbohydrates and fats. Alcohol is also high in calories, impairs your ability to grow muscle and often leads to poorer food choices. When it comes to alcohol, less is more, so aim to reduce your intake.

Chronic stress and poor sleep

Chronic stress and poor sleep are grouped together because they both go hand-in-hand. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which promotes fat retention, especially around the middle. High levels of stress cause inflammation in the body which makes it hard to lose weight. When you’re stressed, your sleep suffers. When you’re sleep deprived, your appetite and cravings increase. And poor sleep leads to stress. Getting out of this vicious cycle is essential if you want long-lasting weight loss results.

Drugs (including medication)

We understand that some people may require medication for various medical issues. And if this is the case, it’s always wise to listen to your doctor, and take any medication that’s necessary. However, it’s important to understand that any kind of drug — whether it’s prescribed medication or recreational — can make it harder for you to develop a firing metabolism. Some medications can cause a slow down in your metabolism, while others may affect the way your body stores and absorbs sugars and nutrients.

How to build a fast metabolism

If you’re wondering how to build a fast metabolism, you’ve come to the right place. At Imani Tribe, we show you how to build muscle mass in our F.I.R.E. programs. We also show you how to do the right cardio for only a short time each week, to harness the power of exercise. And we help you with the third piece of the metabolic pie — your nutrition. Because eating food, instead of starving yourself, is an important way to rebuild your metabolism.

Through our Confidence Avalanche Body & Lifestyle Transformation Program, we develop a personalised blueprint for each of our clients so they can build a metabolism that burns fat, rather than stores it. Our unique program enables us to determine what kind of shape your metabolism is in, so we can prescribe the right nutrition and exercise that will build a fast metabolism.

If you’re ready to drop the excuse of having a ‘slow metabolism’ and are ready to get busy building a metabolism that will help you have the body you desire, please contact us. Right now, we have a few spots available in our Transformation program and we’d love to work with people who are willing to make a change.

To find out if you qualify, please click the link below. All you’ve got to lose is a slow metabolism and excess body fat!


Did you enjoy this article? Tell us in the comments below the biggest lesson you learned. And if there are any other topics you’d love us to cover, please let us know.

Don’t forget to share this post with anyone else who might find it helpful.

Get Social with us!

Follow us on instagram
Face book
Follow us on Facebook



Sep 19, 2019 00:12

So<br/> BMR is calories burnt while resting. <br/> It’s 70% of what we burn a day while resting. <br/> This is great article to teach what this statement means


Sep 11, 2019 11:26

Another solid article. Great read, thanks x


Aug 23, 2019 01:27

Great tips, thank you :-)

Leave a comment

All About Food & Nutrition All About Habits & Lifestyle All About Changing Your Body All about Mindset & Psychology vegetarian

Back To Blog