RMR and Improving Your Metabolism

RMR (NIDO).jpg

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) measures how much energy your body spends while resting. This energy is used to keep your vital organs like the heart or lungs working like they are supposed to.

RMR is important because it can help you develop a deeper understanding of your body, what it needs to function, and how to lose weight more efficiently. A higher RMR means you burn more calories while in a sedentary state while lower RMR means you will burn fewer calories. However, after we turn 20, our resting metabolic rate decreases between 2-3% every decade (St-Onge & Gallagher, 2010).


RMR is often confused with the similar term, BMR, or basal metabolic rate. The main difference is that BMR measurements are based on the human body’s perfect steady state, which can often only be recreated in laboratory environments. Therefore, RMR is a more realistic and accessible for estimating energy expenditure.

How to Improve Your Metabolism

Little research has been done regarding improving RMR specifically because it is somewhat variable and difficult to replicate within laboratory environments. Therefore, it is easier to focus on improving your metabolism as a whole.  

  • Exercise

Exercise is an important component to improving your RMR (Molé, 1990). To reap all of the benefits of RMR and regular exercise, you should be doing a mixture of weight training and cardio multiple times a week. However, these improvements are based on long-term regimens.

  • Drink (Lots of) Water

Drinking water is an important part of a healthy diet. But did you know that drinking water can actually boost your metabolism? According to Boschmann and his colleagues, drinking 500mL of water can actually boost your metabolism by 30% (Boschmann et.al., 2003)! Drinking cold water (3°C) can boost your metabolism by an additional 4.5% for an hour (Brown, Dulloo, & Montani, 2006; Dulloo et.al.,1989).

  • Get a Full Night’s Sleep

Getting a full night’s rest is another important part of maintaining a high metabolism. Sleeping helps your body regulate glucose - little or no sleep will disrupt this process and can lead to weight gain (Sharma & Kavuru, 2010).

  • Tea and Coffee

Coffee and tea, especially green tea, are rumored to have large effects on a person’s metabolism and can help reach weight-loss goals. Although no conclusive research has been found, coffee and teas can contribute weight loss effects (Dulloo et.al., 1989; Jurgens et.al., 2010).

  • Spices

Similarly to tee and coffee, researchers are not in agreement if spices have a significant effect on weight loss and a person’s metabolism. However, they have noted that in combination with other metabolic boosting activities, they can be a helpful supplement during the weight loss process (Westerterp-Plantenga et.al., 2006).  

  • Food Intake

Maintaining a regular eating schedule can do wonders for your metabolism. A common misconception is that skipping meals can help you fast-track your weight-loss goals. Often times, it does exactly the opposite. When your body is running low on calories, it will actually store fat for energy instead of spending it. Therefore, it is best to make an eating schedule that you can stick to every day of the week. When creating the schedule keep in mind that you should be eating every 3 to 5 hours.

Certain foods are better for your metabolism than others. Protein-rich foods like fish, beans or quinoa, keep you feeling full longer and happen to have higher TEF levels. Due to the higher TEF level, proteins can cause your metabolic rate to increase between 15% and 30% (Pesta & Samuel, 2014). Read our previous blog about the thermic effect of food (TEF) to learn more about the relationship between food, metabolism and weight loss.

By The Nido Lifestyle Team

Works Cited

Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Hille, U., Tank, J., Adams, F., Sharma, A., . . . Jordan, J. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 88(12), 605-609. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205.

Brown, C. M., Dulloo, A. G., & Montani, J. (2006). Water-Induced Thermogenesis Reconsidered: The Effects of Osmolality and Water Temperature on Energy Expenditure after Drinking. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 91(9), 3598-3602. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16822824.

Dulloo, A. G., Geissler, C. A., Horton, T., Collins, A., & Miller, D. S. (1989). Normal caffeine consumption: Influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,49(1), 44-50. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2912010.

Jurgens, T. M., Whelan, A. M., Kirk, S., & Foy, E. (2010). Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23235664.

Molé, P. A. (1990). Impact of Energy Intake and Exercise on Resting Metabolic Rate. Sports Medicine,10(2), 72-87. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2204100.

Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: Mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & Metabolism,11(1), 53. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4258944/.

Sharma, S., & Kavuru, M. (2010). Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2010, 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/.

St-Onge, M., & Gallagher, D. (2010). Body composition changes with aging: The cause or the result of alterations in metabolic rate and macronutrient oxidation? Nutrition, 26(2), 152-155. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880224/.

Westerterp-Plantenga, M., Diepvens, K., Joosen, A. M., Bérubé-Parent, S., & Tremblay, A. (2006). Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiology & Behavior, 89(1), 85-91. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16580033.


Jennie Luna