When it comes to weight loss, we hear about metabolism a lot.

We hear all these gimmicks that promise quick ways to boost your metabolism.

Supplements that will negate diet and exercise by giving you a metabolism so fast you’ll be able to eat whatever you want.

A plethora of misleading information aimed at taking your money.

So what IS the truth on metabolism and what key components does your metabolic rate consist of?

Well, first off, the truth is that though we can in fact influence our metabolism, we cannot so easily nor so quickly impact it to such an extent that is promised by “fitness experts” on Instagram.

Having said that, through certain honest and practical methods, we can aid in an increased metabolic rate overtime (as we will discuss later).

Below we will go over what our metabolic rate consists of and what we can do to influence it.


The 4 Components of Your Metabolic Rate

RMR- Resting Metabolic Rate:

Accounts for: ~60% of TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

What is it?
RMR is the energy your body expends by simply maintaining itself. If you laid in bed all day doing nothing you would still expend this amount of calories.

What you can do?
– Focus on preserving muscle mass when dieting and/or on gaining muscle mass through resistance exercise when not dieting (women should know it is a myth that they will look “big and bulky” from resistance training and/or heavy load training. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, increasing muscle mass can be extremely beneficial).

Muscle is very active tissue so the higher your muscle mass, the more energy your body will expend each day. The higher your muscle mass is, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be and the higher your RMR, the higher your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and therefore the more calories you are able to take in each day (without gaining weight).


TEF- Thermic Effect of Food:

Accounts for: ~10% of TDEE

What is it?
TEF is the energy expended during the process of digestion, absorption and utilization of food ingested. Each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, fat) has a different TEF.
Protein- ~25%
Carb- ~7%
Fat- ~2%

What you can do?
– Taking in sufficient protein and fiber would increase the amount of energy you expend each day (relative to a lower protein and fiber diet) because of their higher thermic effect. Though it should be understood this would not produce a significant increase in energy expenditure, increasing protein and fiber intake (to proper levels, mentioned below) can be an effective weight loss/maintenance strategy.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics proper intakes are as follows..

-0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight for a sedentary individual

-1.2-1.7g per kg of bodyweight for an active individual

-Daily fiber intake
25g for women
38g for men.


EAT- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis:

Accounts for: 15-30% of TDEE

What is it?
Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is pretty straight-forward, it is the energy expended during purposeful exercise. The reason this aspect of TDEE has such a wide range is because it depends on how active an individual is. Someone who walks on the treadmill once a week would obviously have a lower EAT percentage than an individual exercising 5 days a week for 30-60 minutes.

What you can do?
– Exercise more! Aim to exercise 3-5 days a week
For example..
-Perform 2-3 days of resistance training a week (which will also likely increase your muscle mass and in doing so increase your resting metabolic rate, as mentioned above).

-Perform cardio 2-3 days a week (walking, jump roping, cycling, swimming, etc).


NEAT- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis:

Accounts for: ~10% of TDEE

What is it?
NEAT consists of the energy expended from doing non-purposeful exercise/activity such as walking to your car, fidgeting with something, tapping your foot, doing yard work, etc.

What you can do?
-Move more! (i.e, walking your dog, mowing your lawn (push mow and/or walk behind mower), taking the stairs everyday, walking to the mailbox, etc).



To summarize the above information, our metabolic rate consists of 4 key aspects; RMR (resting metabolic rate), TEF (thermic effect of food), EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis, and NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).

We can elevate our metabolic rate (and therefore increase our likelihood of weight loss and weight maintenance) by:

  • Increasing muscle mass (overtime) through resistance exercise (muscle mass influences RMR)
  • Taking in an adequate amount of protein and fiber (influencing TEF)
  • Exercising more frequently (directly influencing EAT)
  • And aiming to move more in our daily lives (influencing NEAT).


I hope that you have found this article helpful in better understanding your metabolic rate and what you can do to influence it.

If you liked the article and/or feel someone else may benefit from it, please feel free to like and/or share.

Best of luck with all your fitness goals! Keep pushing forward!

Michael Cruz