How to Increase Your Metabolic Capacity

How to Increase Your Metabolic Capacity
Metabolic capacity; you may have heard this before in the news, in an article, or when talking with someone at the gym.  What is your metabolic capacity?  Your metabolic capacity, or your VO2max, refers to your body’s ability to take oxygen into the body and circulate it into the blood to the working muscles.  Seems pretty straight-forward; however, every individual’s metabolic capacity differs depending on lifestyle habits, exercise routine, and the amount of muscle in the body.  So why is it important?

Your metabolic capacity determines your overall fitness level.  The higher your fitness level, the healthier you may be.  The truth is there is a plethora of research studies demonstrating how important a high fitness level is for prolonging life, or slowing death from all causes.  Recent studies from the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that low fitness levels, or low metabolic capacity, led to more deaths in a group of individuals aged 60 years and older [1].  Moreover, a low metabolic capacity may make everyday activities seem harder than they should, which may have you feeling tired or exhausted more than you should be.  A high-functioning metabolic capacity can help prevent heart disease risk, lower the incidence or even reverse the symptoms of diabetes, and help reduce the risk of cancer.  Simply said, your metabolic capacity is a pretty strong predictor of your overall health and the prevention of future diseases.  Listed below are some tips to help increase your metabolic capacity so that you can prevent future illnesses.

Tips to Increase Your Metabolic Capacity

  • Stop Smoking. If you smoke, the single most important thing you can do for your fitness level is to stop smoking.  Many assume that since they have smoked for 20 years that it does not matter if they stop now.  The fact is stopping smoking at any time in your life, regardless how much you smoked before, will help prolong and add years to your life.
  • Interval Training. The most notorious of interval training is the bootcamp-style workouts.  These are great for increasing metabolic capacity because there is little-to-no rest between sets, which is perfect for increasing metabolic capacity [2].  In addition, interval running is the most effective means to increasing your metabolic capacity because the cardiorespiratory system in your body is worked at the optimal level for improvements, much more than a bootcamp workout could offer.
  • Increase Muscle Mass. Since metabolic capacity is defined by the amount of oxygen used and delivered to working cells in the body, it is only common sense to add muscle mass to help improve metabolic capacity.  With more cells to feed and nourish, the body, in theory, will be able to take in more oxygen for those cells.
  • Consistent Training. Consistency is important in many things in life and exercise is no stranger.  Having a consistent exercise routine will not only have you feeling great, but your metabolic capacity will likely improve as a result.  As long as you are working your body at an intensity hard enough to elicit an improvement, you will see an improvement.


If you are curious on knowing what your value of your metabolic capacity, search around for VO2max testing sites.  Many of these sites offer gas analysis during your workout and will be able to tell you where your “sweet” point is in your workout in order to improve your metabolic capacity.  Challenge yourself over the next couple of months to improve your metabolic capacity even if you do not get tested.  Use some of the tips listed above to help improve your performance and keep your metabolic capacity in mind when pushing yourself to that next level.  Be cautious as to how hard you work because too high of intensity during your workout could strain the body and cause your improvements to turn into a delay due to injury.





About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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