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Centr Team

Can you really hack your metabolism?

Centr Team

It’s one of the biggest myths dietitian Angie Asche hears when clients walk into her office: “I can’t lose weight because I have a slow metabolism.”

But how much do you really know about your metabolism, anyway?

Even though metabolism is one of the least understood bodily functions, many of us are quick to blame it for our struggles.

With Angie’s help, we’re serving up answers to your burning metabolism questions.

1. What is metabolism anyway?

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. We all burn energy by simply existing (yes, even while staring at the TV), and as Angie explains, this is our ‘resting metabolic rate’.

“Your metabolic rate is the energy needed, while your body is resting, for activities like breathing, circulating blood, digesting food and muscle protein synthesis. This can add up to 70-75 percent of your total daily energy expenditure.”

Shhh… energy burning in progress.

2. Is it true my metabolism goes down the drain when I turn 30?

For a long time, it was thought that metabolism slowed in adulthood, causing the inescapable ‘middle-aged spread’. But the most recent research found that metabolism actually holds steady from ages 20–60.

Another long-held belief was that the average woman has a slower metabolism than a man. But the research found no significant difference between men and women.

In your face, previously held beliefs!

Even when you’re simply staring at the TV, the basic functions of your body – circulating blood, digesting food, repairing cells – are burning up calories.

3. Is a ‘slow metabolism’ actually a thing?

It’s true that metabolism varies from person to person. In her practice, Angie measures metabolic rate by using an indirect calorimeter. (We won’t go into that complex process here!)

“Every now and then I will come across someone with either a faster or slower metabolism. This can be due to body composition,” she explains.

“Someone with a greater amount of lean muscle mass will usually have a faster metabolism, while those with less lean muscle and a higher percentage of body fat will have a slower metabolism. Hormones and health conditions can also make a difference.”

But, she adds, “metabolic differences are usually less significant than you might think”.

If you are concerned that you might have an unusually slow metabolism or a metabolic disorder, speak to your doctor.


Time your favorite Centr protein snacks for optimal muscle development (and chocolatey goodness).

4. Does losing weight slow down my metabolism?

Some people believe that long-term weight loss is impossible because losing weight slows your metabolism to the point you need to practically starve yourself to keep shifting pounds.

But Angie tells us that’s not the full story.

“It is true that as your body mass decreases, so does your resting metabolic rate. Smaller bodies require less energy to function at rest,” she says.

“However, there are other ways to increase your daily energy expenditure, allowing you to maintain food intake while still losing weight.”

These ‘other ways’ include consuming certain types of foods and being more physically active outside of your planned exercise. Read on to learn more.

5. Can I speed up my metabolism?

Good news: one of your favorite styles of training may already be giving your metabolism a helping hand.

“By increasing muscle mass, you’re increasing your resting metabolic rate,” says Angie.

“This is because muscle is metabolically active – your body requires more energy to build and maintain muscle at rest than fat.”


Grab your weights to grow more metabolically active muscle.

As well as eating plenty of protein and fiber throughout the day, you can expend more energy by increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis – NEAT.

“NEAT is the energy you use throughout the day outside of structured exercise,” Angie explains.

“Standing, typing, fidgeting, walking, cleaning… This all contributes. While this won’t speed up your metabolism, it will help increase your total daily energy expenditure.”

6. Can I eat certain foods to speed up my metabolism?

Afraid not, pal. “Certain foods won’t necessarily speed up or slow down your metabolism,” Angie says.

But there is a caveat. “The thermic effect of food – known as TEF, it’s the energy we use to digest, absorb, metabolize and store it – does play a role in your total daily energy expenditure. This TEF differs for individual macros, with fat the lowest and fiber and protein the highest.”

What does that mean for your daily diet? “To increase your TEF, aim to include protein and fiber consistently at each meal and snack throughout the day.”

7. How can I maximize muscle for metabolism gains?

1. Make strength training a regular part of your routine – You’ve got all the workouts (bodyweight and weighted) you need at your fingertips.

2. Pack in the protein – A high intake will help your muscles grow after training. Start with your Centr meal plan and follow our tips on timing your protein snacks for maximum benefit.

3. Rest up – Rest is essential for the recovery and repair of muscle tissue. Without it, your muscles will never get a chance to get bigger.

4. Reduce stress Stress is bad news for muscle gains. Not only does the stress hormone, cortisol, break down muscle mass, but it also interferes with your body’s ability to synthesize protein.

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