So you have been trying to lose weight and it is just not coming off no matter what you do.

Maybe your metabolism has slowed down. Your metabolism is the process of breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to make the energy your body needs to maintain itself. So the rate of your metabolism is dependent on the interaction between the number of calories you consume versus the number you burn going about life. Your metabolism can change based on your age, gender and genetic makeup. Obviously these are factors you cannot change but there are some things you can do to increase the rate of your metabolism.

Build muscle. Putting on just five to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass will rev up your resting metabolism, the number of calories your body burns to maintain life, by roughly 100 calories, each and every day, John Berardi, PhD, CSCS, president of Precision Nutrition says.

Workout. When you exercise, doing high intensity intervals will increase the “afteburn” effect. The “afterburn” is the lasting effect of calories burned for around 24 hours after you are done exercising. If you are not into intervals, throwing in a higher intensity workout once a week will help as well.

Drink water. Your body needs it to stay hydrated, process calories, and feel full. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four.

Eat snacks. But make sure that they are not chips and pretzels; you need to have a mini meal every three to four hours. The mini meal should include a protein and a vegetable. Increasing your intake of high-fiber foods like vegetables is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism, according to Kristine Clark, PhD, RD, FACSM.

Get plenty of sleep. When you do not get enough sleep you throw off your metabolism. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who snoozed fewer than 7.5 hours per night experienced an increase in their body mass index. This is because when you skip on sleep you decrease the number of calories your body burns just resting. According to Berardi, the rate of calories your body burns at rest represents around 60 percent to 70 percent of your total daily calorie burn.

So although your age, gender and genetic makeup play a part in your metabolic rate you can change it.

Candace Davidson is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA. She has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and is an AFAA certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.