2 major ways to increase your basal metabolic rate: Diet and exercise

Many moms gain a lot of weight during pregnancy and have a hard time loosing this weight post pregnancy. Life becomes so busy for parents that they begin to feel that exercise is a luxury. Some parents begin to feel that shedding the weight gained through the years is impossible. This is not true; there are many things you can do to stay in shape that do not require a lot of time.woman-36446_640

Diet and exercise when used properly are effective tools for a lean and healthy body. Weight is not a measure of health; by this I mean because someone weighs less than you do, do not mean they are healthier.

Body fat is a better measure of health because too much fat vs lean muscle means less metabolism and thus poor health. While the proper balance of fat and lean muscle leads to good metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat does (mayo clinic health letter, 2010).

Don’t get me wrong, fat is very important in the body; it is used for the production of hormones that are very important for normal bodily functions, it is the by-product of many metabolic processes in the body and it is a very good insulator/cushion. However, too much fat is unhealthy because it can deposit on your blood vessels and narrow them. This can lead to a multitude of health problems ranging from arteriosclerosis to stroke!

What is Basal Metabolic rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories when you are resting. These calories are burned to carry out the chemical reactions in our bodies that are required for our survival. These reactions are those involved in respiration, digestion, osmosis and many more. BMR is responsible for 60% to 70% of the total daily calorie consumption.

When you exercise regularly, it helps you loss fat and build lean muscle which might make you gain some weight instead of loosing it since muscle weighs more than fat. However, the muscle you build, will increase your basal metabolic rate. If your basal metabolic rate increases, you will burn more fat which is usually located around the waist and belly. The effect is a lean waist and flat abs.

How do you increase your BMR?

workout-1208142_640People make the mistake of targeting just specific groups of muscles when they exercise. This type of exercise has it’s uses but is not very effective at burning calories; a total body work out is much more effective. With total body work out, every muscle is worked and this increases the amount of calorie burned in a workout.

The intensity of the work out is also very important. Low intensity workouts burn less calories and the after burn is also less. After burn is the amount of energy you continue to burn after the end of the actual exercise. Moderate to high intensity exercise is required to burn larger amount of calories during and after exercise.

When you workout vigorously, your body consume oxygen at a fast rate. At some point, your muscles begin to function without oxygen (anaerobic respiration) because the muscle has exhausted its oxygen content. During intense exercise, lactic acid accumulates in the muscle, ATP (the body’s energy currency) is expended very fast, there is some wear and tear and many other changes occurring in the body. It’s as if the body is placed out of balance.

After exercise, the body works hard to restore balance and it in turns burns a lot of energy to achieve this. Muscle and tissue repair occurs, lactic acid is converted to pyruvic acid and hormones are balanced. All these processes require a lot of oxygen and energy. You only have to exercise intensely for a short time (about 20 minute) to achieve this.It is also very important to vary your kind of exercise. The body is very resilient and adapts to exercise routines fast.

Healthy diets


We have talked about exercise, now lets talk diet. Many people blame their weight gain on a slow metabolism but that is hardly the case. Foods that we eat, load our bodies with calories that needs to be use or it becomes stored in the body as fat.

If you only eat what you need for energy in a day then you will hardly gain any weight because no extra energy will be stored in the form of fat. Eating healthy is very important for everyone and even more so for new moms. Weight gain is a complicated process but for many people, eating healthy and exercising regularly keeps them in shape.

A good rule to follow in order to avoid consuming high calorie foods will be to:

  •  Avoid foods with artificial sweeteners and ingredients with names you can’t say (they are usually artificial).
  • Eat foods high in fiber to improve on digestion.
  • Eat colorful foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat natural and fresh as much as you can.
  • Avoid foods loaded with fats and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Don’t depend on dietary supplements, it is better to get your nutrients from food.
  • Eat foods balanced in protein, cabohydrate and fat; with a little more protein because the body uses more energy to digest protein than it uses to digest carbohydrates and fats.


Mayo Clinic Health Letter (English Ed.) [Mayo Clin Health Lett] 2010 Feb; Vol. 28 (2), pp. 8..

Brain Structure & Function [Brain Struct Funct] 2014 Sep; Vol. 219 (5), pp. 1841-68. Date of Electronic Publication: 2013 Jul 06..


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18 thoughts on “2 major ways to increase your basal metabolic rate: Diet and exercise

  1. A healthy diet and regular exercise does so many wonders for our bodies, especially as we grow older. Best if we can find what motivates us or think about our fitness goals so this won’t seem hard. I completely agree that its best to eat fresh and avoid sugar. Often times though, people eat for convenience so it’s good to find ways to eat fresh food, yet know how to prepare quick and easy meals.

    1. Hi Raquel,

      You are right; many people eat for convinience. In the fast pace kind of society we live in today, it can be very hard to cook regularly. It is good that many fast food restaurants are beginning to offer healthy food choices. Thank you for leaving a comment.

  2. This article was very interesting to read. I learned more than I know now, especially about the metabolic rate.
    I know when I workout I get really hungry and it’s pretty hard staying out of the kitchen. I try and most times I do succeed. I know losing weight, for me, is not easy so I do my best to workout and keep my mouth shut till it’s morning time. Great post!

    1. Hi Meherbani,

      Do not beat yourself up when you get hungry after exercise. I don’t think it will hurt if you had say a bowl of chicken salad or fruit salad after your exercise. You just have to make sure what you eat is as fresh as possible or do not have high fructose corn syrup. If you feel thirsty, drink water instead of a coke. Please do not starve yourself because weight lost in this way is easily regained. Good luck and thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. It was very apparent that you knew a lot about what you were talking about, and I will certainly keep all these tips in mind for future reference. All these tips, diets, and advice are extremely useful. Many woman have problems with this, so thank you for your help. Also, I really love the set up of your page. It’s so simplistic and adorable.

    1. Hi Tempest,

      Thank for leaving a comment and review. You are right, many women have problems and need all the help they can get to stay healthy. Thanks for the advice on my page design. I will remember to keep my pages simple and adorable!

  4. My youngest is already pushing 9. I lost all my pregnancy weight six weeks after his birth. However, I’ve experienced weight gain over the past five years or so. I want to say it’s due to age, but really it’s due to an unhealthy lifestyle of overeating and little exercise. Lately, I’ve tried to adjust my lifestyle. Like you said, a healthy diet is key (along with exercise, of course). I’ve never been a big soda drinker, but I’m known to drink a diet soda here and there. Not that it’s any better. What I’ve been trying to do is replace all my drinks with water and adding a lemon slice for flavor. I’ve also cut back on my meats significantly and load up on veggies. Just those two diet changes have helped me feel better tremendously. As far as exercise, that’s the really tough one, but I’ve started to incorporate swimming. It definitely requires some life changes if you want to stay fit. Great article, Denise!

    1. Hi Renee,

      I am happy. You’ve made lifestyle changes that are positive. Sometimes it is had to stop old habits but putting in the effort you’ve made will definitely make a positive change in your life. Thanks for leaving a great comment.

  5. I appreciate the tips you have here. One question to follow up with it is do you have a recommended 20 minute exercise that does a good job of hitting all of the muscles? I am not really worried about my weight, more so just getting rid of some fat in the belly and gaining muscle to be fit.

    1. Hi James,

      There are great 20-30 minutes kickboxing routines that can target most or all of the major muscle groups in your body. There are variety of choreography that includes crunches, squats, jabs, cross and many other moves. With a good DVD you can get a fulfilling workout at home. I use Amazon prime video and there are a variety of routines.

      I hope this information is helpful.

  6. I appreciate the tips you have here. One question to follow up with it is do you have a recommended 20 minute exercise that does a good job of hitting all of the muscles? I am not really worried about my weight, more so just getting rid of some fat in the belly and gaining muscle to be fit.

    1. Hi James,

      There are great 20-30 minutes kickboxing routines that can target most or all of the major muscle groups in your body. There are variety of choreography that includes crunches, squats, jabs, cross and many other moves. With a good DVD you can get a fulfilling workout at home. I use Amazon prime video and there are a variety of routines.

      I hope this information is helpful.

  7. Great site & hot topic in today’s health conscious society. In the past I considered eating healthy meant no junk food and make an effort to consume some fruit and vegetables. That would be simplifying the healthy diet notion somewhat. As we age medical terms that weren’t mentioned in our conversations in our younger years become more and more frequent topics of discussion. I’m talking about blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol etc. Several years ago, while receiving the long overdue physical, my Doctor suggested I avoid processed foods. No problem I can do that. Until I asked myself, what falls under the category of processed foods? What a rude awakening and giant leap from what I thought was a healthy diet. Processed food is virtually everything packaged, canned, and bottled, not to mention what their serving up at the local diner or restaurant chain.
    The no processed foods suggestion became a huge challenge for me. In addition, I had just changed occupations into the transportation industry or long haul truck driver. Now there’s a healthy bunch. Your options at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning in the middle of no where are limited. Truck stop food, maybe an apple or a banana, mostly vending machines containing no fruit. It was almost impossible to eat healthy. I was often times asking myself, am I better off eating nothing rather than shoveling down the greasy, sugary slop. Needless to say, being on the road for two- four weeks at a time, attempting to eat healthy, left me in a constant state of hunger, exhaustion and miserable. If you were lucky, you had a fridge in your truck, but more often you had to keep a cooler of ice for your food. I was always looking for healthy recipes that didn’t require cooking or refrigeration and not processed.

    Fortunately I’m not driving anymore, but still very much interested in any diet suggestions you may have for the trucking lifestyle.

    1. Hi Scott,
      Eatting healthy is very hard and as you stated, it is even harder for someone who is always on the road. When your body has adapted to certain kinds of foods, change is difficult. I will advice someone who drives a truck to buy fresh foods like apples, oranges, bananas and carrots before hitting the road. These foods last about two weeks at my house before they start getting bad (the fresher the better). Nuts are also very good on the road, plus they last long. Most packaged foods are highly processed but not all are. When buying package foods check sodium levels (the upper range recomended for adults in a day is 2300mg), also check to make sure your food has no trans-fats and no ingredients you can’t pronounce (usually those are artificial). Many fast food restaurants now offer healthy options that you can pick from. You can also buy some fruits like pawpaw that don’t last long and eat them first before going to the ones that last longer. Pawpaw and avocado together cleanse the system and leaves you gut feeling a lot better. I hope this is helpful.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply and advise Denise. Re guarding my doctor’s no processed foods suggestion, he threw in no dairy or meat as well. He just as well could of added, “and no more happiness.” Basically was suggesting joining the vegan crowd. That’s taking it to far for me, I like fish. Another item I didn’t comment on was the variation of exercise thing. I exercise as much as I can, no that’s not right, I exercise out of guilt and no regular schedule. I usually walk or jog a mile or two figuring something is better than nothing. I am assuming that unless your on a fairly rigorous workout program varying your different muscle groups isn’t as big of priority as just getting some sort of cardio vascular work right?
        One other thing, kind of embarrassed to ask, but I ‘m somewhat confused on the comment, feedback thing. You mentioned using comment tool in one of your blogs, so I figured you might know. So if I understand it correctly, when your using the comment tool to help fellow WA members, your tasked with commenting on their actual website content and when your giving and receiving feedback that would be critiquing website structure, appearance, layout etc. right? So I started in the comment tool area and was directed to your website and posted a comment within your website above, I’m posting it in the right place aren’t I ? Thanks and sorry for taking more of your time than I should.

        1. Hi Scott,
          No need to be embarrassed to ask. When you use the comment tool, you gather points towards requesting a comment for your site. You can post your comment directly to the web site but that won’t give you points. In order to get points for your comment, you need to post it on the comment tool page. There is going to be a dialogue box that ask for your email and then provide room for leaving your comment. Once you are done it will ask you to submit your comment for verification. I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions. I will reply as soon as possible.

  8. Hi Denise,

    Thank you for this article – I learned a lot that I wasn’t aware of!

    I’m going through the process of changing my extremely unhealthy habits of diet and exercise. It is difficult and I really appreciate the guidelines you’ve given! I know that if I follow them, I will not only look better, but feel better too!

    Getting the exercise I need is challenging but, as you say, it is one of the key components of good health!

    Thanks again! Take care and best wishes,


    1. Hi Anna,

      I’m happy you’re taking a turn towards better health. A healthy person is usually a happy person. Good luck with your goal and if you ever need some encouragement, I’ll be more than happy to give you moral support.

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