How to Speed Up Metabolism after 30
Where has all that time gone? We may still feel like we are 21 in our minds, but our bodies are now changing bit by bit in our 30s. There’s no need to stress and urgently change our diets and lifestyles in a big rush because of a slower metabolism. Let's leave that yoyo dieting culture back in the 90s and noughties. Instead, we can take charge and learn what our metabolism is, how to support our bodies and how to relax into a manageable lifestyle. Our 12 steps on how to speed up the metabolism after 30 can be slowly introduced so you can gain more energy to tackle our growing responsibilities as we age.
What is the metabolic rate?
Unlearn everything we have been taught about toxic dieting; we actually need food to survive and thrive! Our metabolism is the chemical process of changing food into energy, and it works at different rates depending on what we are doing in the day:
- Thermic effect of food: Our body will take 10% of our food energy and store it to use in the digestion process. So, our metabolism is always thinking about the next meal (and so are we!).
- Basal metabolic rate: Sometimes called a resting metabolic rate, this is the lowest amount of energy a body needs for sleeping, breathing, pumping blood, repairing cells or even just lying on the sofa staring into space (we've all been there).
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): The metabolic rate for very important activities like fidgeting, standing, cleaning, watching reels on our phones and just reading this article.
- Exercise: It takes a lot of energy for anybody to exercise and our body burns calories to keep up.
It is important to remember that every person's body is individual and calculates their metabolic rate differently. Just because you and your friend are lying down together watching a movie, does not mean your metabolisms will be working at the same rate. The important thing to do is to get in tune with your own body, learn what it needs and how to fuel for YOUR rate.
Factors that affect your metabolic rate:
- Body Weight: This is nothing to be ashamed of, if you have a bigger body size then you will require more energy to move. Therefore, it is important to fuel with a correct diet because, if the metabolism does not get enough food for even basic tasks, it will panic and start storing fat cells for future emergencies.
- Body muscle mass: Muscle has to contract and release every time it moves, even just to walk to the kitchen and pour a drink. Therefore, someone with more muscle burns more calories. To build muscle, we actually tear and repair the cell into a bigger muscle, so when resting our metabolic rate will also be higher as the body works to restore itself.
- Age: We've all felt it, our bodies slow, they are under more stress and actually produce fewer hormones needed for our chemical processes as we age. This can all affect our metabolic rate, especially if we are not fuelling right.
Gender: Men tend to naturally have more muscle so their metabolic rate is generally higher. However, we refuse to see this as a negative for women, if it is natural then we can just use this information to learn what our individual body needs.
What happens to our bodies and our metabolism in our 30s?
You may feel like your body can't handle the same amount of food, alcohol or partying as it once did in its 20s. The reality is that once our bodies have stopped growing, it then starts to slow down gradually each year through:
Producing fewer hormones: Hormones are used in our body processes every day but usually, at around 35, we naturally produce less:
- testosterone which helps grow and build muscle
- thyroid hormones which kickstart the metabolism process
- estrogen which women use to help glucose metabolism
- Bone loss: At the age of 30, our body stops growing and regenerating bones at the same speed. This leads to a decline in bone density and our resting metabolic rate is lower as the body does not work as hard on repair and growth.
- Muscle Loss: From 30 years old, our muscle mass decreases between 3-8% each decade. As muscle burns more calories and requires a higher resting metabolic rate, our metabolism slows naturally with the decline.
As you can see, the ageing process is very natural and nothing to stress ourselves out trying to instantly fix or reverse. The most important and healthiest things we can do in our 30s is to understand our metabolism, fuel correctly, and look after our fitness and mental health. Let's dive into the 12 steps you can introduce to support your body through these changes.
How to speed up your metabolism after 30 summary:
- Embrace Real Food
- Eat enough to fuel your lifestyle
- Invest in supplements
- Hydrate every day
- Swap soda for green tea
- Get a passion for HIIT
- Find your strength
- Stand your ground at work
- Make time to chill out
- Snooze for energy
- Be conscious about your alcohol intake
- Ask for help
How to Speed up your metabolism in your 30s: 12-step breakdown
1. Embrace Real Food
Gone are the days of dieting on slim shakes, skinny microwavable meals or cutting out carbs completely. Real, natural foods are full of vitamins and nutrients that play an incredibly important role in our body's processes and some, like magnesium, quercetin and biotin, cannot be produced by the body. Incorporate them in a healthy diet of proteins, carbs and fats. Include these metabolism-boosting foods:
- Protein: Healthy lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey and fish requires more energy to digest than carbs and fats and we use protein to help cell repair. Therefore, more protein in your diet can increase your body's ability to build muscle and increase your metabolism.
- Spicy foods: Research shows spices containing capsaicin, such as chilli peppers, burn up to 50 calories more per day which may not sound like a lot but can add up over time. So, eat spicy foods for an easy 'gain' on your weight loss journey.
- Complex Carbohydrates: Such as brown rice, beans and oats, have a longer chain of sugar molecules that our body breaks down into energy. It takes longer to digest, meaning we burn more energy for are digestion to break it down, plus it provides longer-lasting energy.
- Full-Fat Foods: They are not the enemy and can be eaten in moderation as they contain many natural vitamins and nutrients. A lot of low-fat dairy products are processed and contain more sugar and chemicals. Try increasing your diet with healthy fats found in greek yoghurt, egg yolks and cheese.
- Broccoli: One of the healthiest green vegetables and a great source of fiber which helps digestion and speeds up metabolism. It is also rich in calcium which will help bone strength in your 30s, Vitamin C which is required for protein metabolism, and Quercetin which can help lower cholesterol.
- Seaweed: A rich source of iodine, which we need to produce the thyroid hormones that kickstart the metabolism process.
- Ginger: Research suggests that adding fresh or ground ginger into water will burn up to 43 more calories than water alone.
2. Eat enough to fuel your lifestyle
Our bodies need food in order to get energy for every part of our life and will need more or less depending on our activities. It is important to calculate the number of calories you need because your metabolism will store energy as fat cells. If it gets too fewer calories, it will slow down and preserve it in fat cells for emergency use. Similarly, if it gets too much food for energy expenditure, it will not have a place for the extra fuel and will store it as fat cells.
If you need to boost your metabolism for fat loss, you are able to fuel your body with a small calorie deficit. By eating little and often to give our bodies energy consistently throughout the day, it will not panic and start to store emergency reserves. Instead, it will be encouraged to burn fat for deficit energy loss.
The recommended healthy calorie deficit is 500 from your recommended daily food allowance and you should pair this with a balance of proteins, carbs and fats.
3. Invest in supplements
Dietary supplements are an awesome way to bridge the gap between your diet and the nutrients you need. It is always recommended to get everything from natural food first but let’s be honest, sometimes we are unable to keep up with everything we need to do for a healthy lifestyle.
So, take that stress away and build a supplement routine to support your metabolism. Look to take individual vitamins or formulas containing:
4. Hydrate every day
This seems to be everyone's new priority and people are now carrying gigantic 2-litre water bottles with them. Rest assured, it's not a fad or trend, water is actually essential for our metabolism process.
In order to turn foods into energy, it first needs to be decomposed in our digestive system. This happens by a chemical reaction between water and fats, carbs or proteins called "Hydrolysis". Without water, the food will not be broken down quickly.
So, it pays to drink 2 litres of water a day. Keeping your body hydrated will help your metabolism work faster.
5. Swap soda for green tea
Soda and sugary drinks are delicious in moderation, as with everything.
However, if you are looking to speed up your metabolism as you enter your 30s, then you should make a switch to green tea daily. With huge antioxidant properties, green tea encourages body fat cells to be turned into energy. The water will also count towards your daily intake so it's a win-win really!
6. Get a passion for HIIT
High-Intensity Interval Training is a new buzz word but for a reason!
The aim is to work out for 20 to 30 minutes in intervals, for example, 30-second intense exercise (anything from weights to cycling), followed by 30-second rest. The high intensity is a shock to the body and encourages your metabolism to burn fat for energy. Not only that, HIIT has been shown to burn calories even after the workout has finished as the body tries to catch up with the expenditure it just endured.
Adding 2-3 20/30 minute HIIT sessions into your weekly exercise routine can have a significant impact on your fitness levels, speed up your metabolism and encourage weight loss.
7. Find your strength
We don't mean your inner strength, although that also helps! We mean a good old strength training session to build muscle.
We're not saying everyone needs to be lean-machine bodybuilders, far from it. But, encouraging some muscle growth will increase your resting metabolic rate, boost metabolism whilst exercising and encourage fat loss.
As we age in our 30s, our muscle mass decreases by 3-8%. So, we can support our body going through this process by keeping strong and building more muscle.
8. Stand your ground at work
Unfortunately, the majority of people work office jobs in which we sit at a desk for up to 7 hours a day (yawn!). Sitting down will encourage our metabolism to slow to a resting metabolic rate (the slowest rate). However, standing will require more energy and research suggests it can burn up to 50 calories more per hour.
So, ask for a standing desk and take a stand!
9. Make time to chill out
With age comes more responsibilities and stresses and not only can it take its toll on our mind, but it can also have a strain on the metabolism. When we stress, it causes us to use unnecessary and unexpected energy on our brain and nervous system which can panic the metabolism to start storing in fat cells for future use. Not only that, we also produce the cortisol hormone in stressful events which causes a slow metabolism.
Just like we said at the beginning of this article, we don't need to add more stress onto ourselves in order to speed our metabolism in our 30s. Instead, try and incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine like meditation, yoga and journaling. After all, looking after our minds is just as important as our physical fitness.
10. Snooze for energy
You read that right, we're encouraging you to sleep more in your 30s. Yes, please!
We must rest in order for our RMR to use the energy it needs to repair cells and recover. If we don't get enough sleep and instead use that energy on tired and overworked brain activity, our metabolism slows to conserve energy for when it can repair and recover. As covered, the energy is stored as fat cells which causes weight gain.
Getting 7+ hours of sleep a day gives your metabolism a chance to recover and gives you more energy so you don't need to conserve your food intake. It may also encourage weight loss.
11. Be conscious about your alcohol intake
Ever heard the phrase "alcohol is just empty calories"? It doesn't mean it has zero calories, it means it has zero nutritional value for our body or metabolism. So not only do we consume the calories, but we also don’t turn them into energy.
When we consume alcohol, it actually takes priority in our liver metabolism, so it will stop processing any fats from the food we have eaten and start metabolizing the alcohol. Of course, this is fine in moderation and once the alcohol is gone it will start to metabolize the fats again. However, if we binge drink often, the liver will start to store the fat for later energy expenditure and cause weight gain.
12. Ask for help
We cannot do absolutely everything alone, it's impossible. If you are trying to balance all your responsibilities in your 30s and speed up your metabolism all on your own, you may burn out and give up. The healthiest way to speed up your metabolism is gradually and consistently.
So, don't be afraid to ask for help. It could be that you need time off from your family for exercise, or you need your household meals to change. Yes, our bodies are our responsibility. But that doesn't mean we can't communicate with loved ones about how our lifestyle can change and stress can be relieved.