How To Boost Your Metabolic Rate Part 2: Training

20 Minute Podcast Episode #51

On this episode of 20 Minute Fitness we dig into the world of metabolism. More specifically, how can you adjust your training regime to make your body a metabolism burning machine. However, we are not just going to give you quick tips on how to spike your metabolism once in a while. This is about making your metabolism and body more efficient on the whole. So we are here to offer you advice on how you can boost your metabolic rate in the long term.

Monday Myths – Eating Little and Often Will Boost Your Metabolism 

Three Things You Will Learn

1.) Boost Your Metabolic Rate With HIIT

Whenever we hear the term HIIT or “high-intensity interval training” it usually follows with “and you burn tons of calories.” Which probably makes you wonder whether HIIT is the fairytale of calorie burning or reality. Listen to this week’s episode to find out how efficient HIIT actually is in burning calories and whether it’s scientifically proven.

2.) Weight Lifting = The Key To The Ultimate Metabolism

Like we mentioned in our previous episode about boosting your metabolic rate with nutrition, the best way to fire up your metabolism is to build it from the inside out. Which is why building lean, strong muscles via weightlifting is the best way to go. Find out how you can transform your metabolism from the inside by clicking play!

3.) Debunking the “AfterBurn”

You may have come across this ambiguous term, but what exactly is the “afterburn”? Well, it’s the referring to the heightened state of oxygen consumption post exercise. This heightened state is mostly connected to HIIT training and its magical metabolic effects. So let’s dive into what the afterburn is and if this is a myth or another metabolic miracle.


This episode of 20 Minute Fitness is brought to you by Four Sigmatic! Four Sigmatic is a superfood company founded by a group of Finnish friends. It is based on their belief that health can be vastly improved through simple dietary tweaks. The easiest way to do this? Mushrooms, the most scientifically studied and proven superfood. Four Sigmatic wants to popularize medicinal mushrooms by incorporating them in their yummy products, like coffee, hot cocoa, and turmeric latte.

For 15% off your entire Four Sigmatic purchase, visit www.foursigmatic.com/SHAPE15 or enter the discount code SHAPE15 at the check-out. 

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Full Transcript

00:03 Speaker 1: Hey everybody, and welcome back to 20 Minute Fitness. Thank you so much for clicking play on this episode, we are so excited to spend these next 20 minutes with you talking about fitness and specifically talking about your metabolism and its relationship to how you train and how you can train better for your metabolism. This is part two of a two-part series, so if you missed our first episode it’s about how you can use your nutrition to make your metabolic rate just a calorie burning machine, so if you want to hop over and click on that episode, click play, feel free to do so, it won’t hurt our feeling. But yeah, today we are going to be diving into training and exercise and its relationship to your metabolic rate. But before we get into all of that good stuff, our long-time listeners know what’s up, the 20-minute fitness podcast is powered by ShapeScale. ShapeScale is a 3D body scanner scale and fitness tracker, all rolled into one. And it digitizes your body composition, so your fat mass, your muscle mass, in photo-realistic 3D, how the future is here guys. And in fact, it’s on pre-order on shapescale.com so be sure to check it out.

01:09 S1: So, yeah. Like we said at the top, we are going to be talking about metabolism and metabolism and its relationship to training and how you can rev up your metabolism with different forms of exercise, different forms of training. We’re just gonna do a little bit of a recap over what we went over in our first part-one, when we talked about nutrition and metabolism. We’re just gonna line out kinda what metabolism is, and what it does, and what it means. Metabolism again, is a word that kinda gets tossed around. So we’re gonna do a dive into how you can make your metabolism more efficient. Metabolism is a word that is used to describe the rate at which our bodies burn calories. Meaning that this is the speed that your body converts food into energy, and uses that energy for functions of that day. The rate at which we burn calories is also known as a metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is something that may change depending on how active you are on any given day.

02:06 S1: For example, if you’re sick in bed one day, you’re likely to burn less calories compared to a day that you went on a hike. However, there is another category of metabolism that we should also be thinking about too. This is known as your basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic, also known as your BMR is the number of calories needed to fuel your body in its essential functions, so think breathing and circulating your blood. Your basal metabolic rate stays very steady and is one of the most significant components when it comes to your total metabolic rate. First we have how many calories we’re burning on the day-to-day, and then we have our other component which doesn’t change too often, and that’s your BMR. Put those together and you have your metabolism. There are several different ways to determine your BMR, one of the most accurate ways to measure your BMR, is to have it tested in the lab. Some health clubs also do metabolic testing, for a fee. However, you can also calculate your BMR at home using an online calculator.

03:05 S1: In fact, you can calculate your BMR on one of our blog posts, which will be linked in our show notes which you can find in the description of this podcast, and there you can learn more about BMR, and its basis in the Harris-Benedict equation, in case you’re a little bit nerdy when it comes to fitness and science. And above that, there are also plenty of other factors that also affect your metabolism. So as some of you may have noticed, or maybe noticing, your metabolism grows slower with age. Your gender can also affect your metabolism, being pregnant really ups your metabolism, overall body size affects metabolism, and other factors can contribute to how efficiently your metabolism works. However, there are two areas that affect your metabolism that are actually in your control, which is nutrition, and what we are talking about today, which is exercise for training. So, what we touched on in the nutrition part of this two-part series, is that the idea of boosting your metabolism, gets tossed around a lot.

04:02 S1: There’s a lot of blogposts and internet things out there, that kinda say, “Eat spicy foods, drink tons of green tea or caffeine, or drink loads of water.” And those things do help on that kind off micro level, on a day-to-day boosting your metabolism for that day a little bit. But when we’re talking about altering our metabolic rate in the long term we’re essentially talking about creating a more efficient machine of our body, and how you can make your body a more efficient machine is by replacing that fat with muscle and building more muscle. Because muscle requires more calories to operate and maintain than fat, it’s a great way to boost your metabolic rate and boost your BMR. So to give you guys a numbers view of what that means, if you increase your muscle mass by 20%, you’ll increase your resting metabolic rate by 4-5%. One way to make sure you’re adding more lean muscle is to make a few changes to your exercise schedule. A lot of studies suggest that the order of your cardio and weight can make a difference in how much muscle you retain from your training.

05:08 S1: So, while muscle growth adaptations are often best retained when you follow cardio with great training, it’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule. If you plan to lift heavy then it doesn’t make sense to pre-exhaust yourself with cardio first. So you might wanna try mixing cardio in two circuits one day and increasing your weight training pace to bump up your heart rate on your next session. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up a bigger weight off the rack. I find this a lot when you talk to women who might be interested in weight training, they might stick to lighter weights, then higher reps, but in general, lighter weights may help increase muscular endurance, but they don’t do much to stimulate muscle growth. So the best way to do that is to lift loads that exhaust your muscles during the final few reps.

05:53 S1: Again this ties back to, if you want a metabolism that really is efficient in burning carbs, and is efficient in its composition, then you really wanna focus on building that muscle so that those muscles burn calories. Also if you want to train to build muscle mass, focus on integrating at least three strength training workouts into your weekly exercise routine. And also prioritising large compound movements which require multiple muscle groups to work at once, over small isolation exercises. What a compound movement would be, would be a squat, deadlift, shoulder press, lunges, rows, bench presses, those are all great options for simulating the most muscle growth possible with each and every rep.

06:36 S1: Similarly lifting weights that are heavy enough that you can only max out maybe 6 to 12 reps per set, with proper form, will help increase muscular size, as opposed to muscular endurance. So compound exercises make it possible to lift heavier, so the two pair very nicely. So again, lifting weights will boost your metabolism and should be a first priority if you’re really looking to burn more fat more easily. It kinda goes back to what probably many of you have noticed which is that men can lose weight by cutting out one dessert daily while women have to cut calories like crazy before the scale would even move. That’s actually because men tend to have more metabolically active muscles. So, complete a total body strength training program, two to three days a week to build significant lean muscle mass and which will actually boost your metabolism, even if you are cutting calories.


07:34 Speaker 2: This episode of 20 Minute Fitness is brought to you by Four Sigmatic aka the Shroom guys. Most people are actually unaware of this but mushrooms are the most scientifically studied and proven superfoods that have benefits like boosted energy, strong immune system and more glowing skin, which is why the guys behind Four Sigmatic, a bunch of Finnish friends who actually grew up consuming mushrooms, are on a real mission to make mushrooms popular among everyday people like me and you. How? By simply bringing you functional mushrooms and other superfoods blended into delicious drinks. This way making the consumption of mushrooms not just convenient, but also enjoyable. And you guys should really trust me on this one, because I’ve had the chance to try most of their products. Trying everything from their mushroom coffee, the mushroom matcha with lion’s mane and golden lattes, I really started to wonder why I was not on the shrooms before.

08:21 S2: My personal favourite was the Reishi Chai latte. Besides being absolutely amazing, it really did help with my pretty bad insomnia. So if you’re someone with sleeping issues as well, I 100% recommend you to try one of their blends with reishi or go straight for their reishi elixir. And leaving the best news to the end, the Four Sigmatic team was kind enough to give you a special offer of 15% off your Four Sigmatic purchase. All you have to do is visit foursigmatic.com/shape15. That’s F-O-U-R-S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C dot C-O-M slash S-H-A-P-E-1-5 or you can simply use the discount code shape15 at the checkout. So, are you ready to get on the shrooms?


09:04 S1: And then we are going to be moving on to what some of you may have already guessed when they saw the title of this episode, which is, we’re going to be talking about HIIT and also the afterburn effect. So, HIIT, H-I-I-T is a type of cardio workout in which you push your exercise intensity for a short period of time and then recover. This will burn calories during the exercise as well as give you that afterburn effect. I actually just did a HIIT workout with Soul Cycle and the instructor put HIIT into terms that really made it clear to me, which is you know when you’re driving your car and you’re going down the highway, you’re burning less gas than if you were to be on city streets and then going for it and then stopping and then going for it and then stopping, you’re burning more gas that way. So if you kind of think about HIIT in those terms, then it starts to make a lot of sense. And there is plenty of research to back those claims up as well.

09:56 S1: In one study, comparing the effects of 15 weeks of interval training with 20 weeks of steady state endurance training, researchers found that the participants who completed interval workouts lost 9 times more fat than those who completed endurance workouts. So, what happens with HIIT is that even after the workout, your body experiences something called EPOC, which is excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, which is informally referred to as the afterburn. So it’s the measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following a strenuous activity. Again, it’s called EPOC or the afterburn effect. So it refers to all of the oxygen and energy in the form of calories that your body takes in and uses after exercise to help repair your muscles and recover. So research shows that strength training is especially effective in raising EPOC. That’s because, generally speaking, strength training sessions cause more psychological or, not psychological [chuckle] physiological stress, but I guess psychological depending on your trainer [chuckle] to the body compared to cardiovascular exercise, even higher intensity cardio intervals.

11:04 S1: So this ties back again to what we were talking about earlier and how important weightlifting and weight training can be in boosting the afterburn effect and also the metabolic rate. However, it’s worth noting that overall exercise intensity is what makes the biggest impact on EPOC. So squats, deadlifts and bench presses with heavy weights are going to be much more effective in raising EPOC compared to bicep curls and tricep extensions with lighter weights. The other real question is how much of a difference does this whole EPOC afterburn thing make? Well, in one research study of young women, BMR rates spiked 4.2% over 16 hours following a strength training that lasted an hour and 40 minutes, the equivalent of burning an extra 60 calories on average. So that’s a long workout and 60 calories isn’t exactly a huge bump in that. Plus EPOC is not a permanent boost. Research suggests that it may last anywhere from 12 hours to a few days depending on the workout and who is doing it.

12:07 S1: So the calories you burn through EPOC or the afterburn can add up over time, especially if you’re lifting weights 3 to 4 times a week. But all in all, it doesn’t have the biggest effect on your metabolism. And, in the end, the exact EPOC boost you get from your strength training workouts depends on the exercise you perform, the weights you use, reps and sets you perform, along with the rest you take and total time you spend spreading it out. Not to mention, your overall genetics and current fitness level along with muscle mass. So what you can get out of that is that HIIT training is a great option if you really want to lower your overall fat mass but when… If you’re banking on that afterburn, kind of making up for a burrito you have at lunch and things like that, you may not want to put all of your hope into that afterburn. But still HIIT is a great way to torch calories and make your body into a leaner, more efficient machine, therefore making your metabolism into a more efficient machine as well.

13:06 S1: So just to recap on what we got out of this episode is that if you are looking to up your metabolic rate, a great way to do that is actually to start from the basics, and actually start from the inside and build a more efficient machine. And that can start with strength training and strength training that really causes your muscles to build more muscle. And the second component is considering using more HIIT workouts or HIIT strength workouts, if you’re really looking for that boost as that will decrease your overall fat mass compared to steady-state or endurance training. And you also may not want to bank too much on that afterburn or EPOC. You will get a little bit of a boost out of it, but definitely don’t go eating two desserts just because you did a HIIT workout. You might not see the results that you want.

13:54 S1: And again, if you’re interested in learning more about how you can change your metabolism for the better, I would definitely recommend going and checking out our first episode which is about nutrition. We kind of hit on how, again, you can set your body up to build that muscle and boost that along with balancing out your system through probiotics, prebiotics and water. Also you bust a couple of myths when it comes to drinking caffeine and how much caffeine actually boosts your metabolism. So make sure to check that out. And again, that kind of brings to the end of this next episode here on 20 Minute Fitness. But we are so excited to meet you back here next week with some more fitness content. But in the meantime, we would love to hear from you guys, what you enjoy listening to, what would you like to hear more of. You can reach out to us on Twitter, our handle is @shape_scale and you can also reach out to us on Instagram, our handle is @shapescale.

14:53 S1: You can also check out a little bit more info when it comes to ShapeScale, the miraculous machine. It’s an amazing product and you should definitely check it out. It’s going to revolutionize your fitness game, guys. We’re calling it right now. And again, reach out to us on Twitter, follow us on Instagram. We would love to see your smiling faces, and if you have any recommendations on who we should interview next we would love to hear them, we always love having a nice guest on the podcast and while you’re here, and while you are in that nifty little podcast app, it would mean the absolute world to us if you left us a rating and review. Preferably a nice review. That would be good. But yeah, it definitely definitely helps us out, and it definitely helps us in creating more content for you guys every week. So I hope you have an amazing rest of your week, and yeah, see you guys back here next week. Bye.

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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