Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. It’s such a big concept that it’s understandable to feel as if it’s beyond your control. Not true! There are a bunch of quick and easy diet and lifestyle changes you can make to boost your metabolism, make your body run more efficiently, and reach your weight-loss and fitness goals faster. Here are some tips:
If you want to weigh less, you’ve got to eat less, right? Well, if you take in too few calories, it can cause your body to lose muscle mass, which will decrease the rate of your metabolism. Plus, when you skimp on calories, your body slows the rate at which is burns calories to conserve the fuel it’s got.
Under fueling is just as risky as over-fueling. In an attempt for quick, noticeable weight loss, many people wrongfully believe that eating as few calories as possible is the best solution. Not only can this lead to numerous nutritional deficiencies as the body is getting less food overall, it can actually have the opposite effect on weight loss.
Drink Green Tea
If you always opt for coffee over tea, you could be missing out on a major metabolism boost. In a recent 12-week study, participants who drank 4-5 cups of green tea daily, then did a 25-minute workout, lost an average of two more pounds and more belly fat than the non tea-drinking exercisers.
What’s its magic? The brew contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that triggers the release of fat from fat cells and helps speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy.
Kick Things Up A Notch
When it comes to the best workouts for weight loss, neither weights nor cardio can completely move the needle on their own. Interval training is the best way to shed pounds, increase your metabolism, improve your cholesterol profile, and improve insulin sensitivity. At the gym, sign up for a HIIT class, or turn your favorite aerobic exercise, (running, biking, even walking) into an interval workout by adding periods of intense speed (start with 30 to 60 seconds) followed by periods of rest (normal speed) for the same amount of time. Do this six to 10 times to complete a fat-slashing workout. As you get better, slowly increase the amount of time of increased intensity.
Put On Some Muscle
Even when you’re at rest, your body is constantly burning calories. In fact, 75% of the calories that you burn each day are being used up just keeping you alive. “Resting metabolic rate” is much higher in people with more muscle, because every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself. If you can pack on just five pounds of muscle and sustain it, you’ll burn the caloric equivalent of three pounds of fat over the course of a year.
Eat Enough Protein Daily
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, no matter what you’re doing. Hitting the gym helps you build muscle to begin with, but eating protein keeps it from breaking down and slowing your metabolic rate as a result.
Protein needs differ by individual, but typically consuming 0.8 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day should be sufficient enough to fuel weight loss. For a 130-pound (58 kilogram) person, that would equal between 46 and 58 grams of protein. Research has found that because protein is more difficult for the body to break down and digest than other nutrients, it can increase post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent. Aim to incorporate some protein into every meal and snack throughout the day.
Stand At Work 3 Hours A Day
Ideally, we sleep about eight hours for every 24. Most people spend another seven to ten hours sitting at their desk. That means most of us spend the overwhelming majority of our time sedentary. Our bodies weren’t designed for this level of inactivity, most of humans’ evolutionary history involved being active, searching for food and fuel.
One way to burn more calories daily is to stand more and sit less. A British study has found that standing at work burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider this: If you stand for just three hours of your day, in one year you’d expend more than 30,000 extra calories, which amounts to about 8 lbs of fat!
Skip The Diet Soda
Yeah, yeah, it has zero calories, but drinking diet soda may yet play havoc with your goal of having a flat belly. Research published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that artificially sweetened beverages may screw up the body’s normal metabolic response to sugar, actually increasing appetite! Increasingly, diet drinks are being linked with weight gain, metabolic syndrome and a host of other ills. Best to give them a wide berth. But if you really crave something sweet…
Nibble On Chocolate
In a study by Swiss and German researchers, lucky participants ate about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks. Ultimately, these chocolate nibblers had lower stress-hormone levels and a more regulated metabolism than a control group. Scientists speculate that chemicals in cocoa, such as flavonoids, play a role in regulating metabolism by alleviating stress that can cause your fat-burning engines to go on the fritz. Should you think this is a license to go wild, take heed: We’re talking small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate. Researchers say 1.5 ounces is enough.
Eat Whole Foods
The smoothie revolution is here, and lots of people are swilling down bushels of leafy greens. Believe it or not, there’s a downside to this ingenious delivery method. A big part of the body’s job, breaking down food so that the body can absorb nutrients, has been outsourced to our Nutribullets and Vitamixes. That means that the body is expending much less energy than it would if we were eating kale, spinach and bananas in their solid form.
Smoothies are great for weight loss, but by prioritizing lean meats, fish, fibrous vegetables and fruit, you are driving up TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) and expending more calories on digestion.
While drinking in moderation every so often won’t do too much harm to your waistline, making it a habit can slow down your metabolic rate. Why? When your body has a cocktail to break down, it takes precedence over any food that you’ve already eaten that’s waiting to be digested. This slows down the entire metabolic process. In fact, some researchers claim boozing can decrease the body’s fat-burning ability by up to 73 percent!
On the occasions that you decided to indulge, stick to low-calorie drinks. Alternate your alcohol with water to slow your pace, and cut yourself off after two drinks. Avoid ordering high-cal bar food like fries and burgers. An important note: Wine in moderation can have numerous benefits, including weight loss!
Stress can actually cause the body to metabolize food more slowly. To make matters worse, the food we crave when we’re stressed out tends to be fatty and full of sugar. Researchers say that the combination of high-cal cravings and a stress-induced, snail-paced metabolic rate can result in significant weight gain. To keep your metabolism running strong, fight stress with laughter. Research shows that smiling and laughing causes levels of stress hormones to diminish.
Drink Water When You Wake Up
One of the best and cheapest ways to give your metabolism a jolt is to drink water shortly after waking. Why? During sleep, your body’s metabolic function slowed, and unless you woke up in the middle of the night to swig some water, it didn’t receive any fluids. Try completely rehydrating before stressing your body with any other food or drink.
In addition to green tea, coffee is one of the best drinks for weight loss because it boosts your metabolism. The average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf, according to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior. A cup of black coffee is a good choice for a pre-workout beverage, too: Researchers found that cyclists who took a caffeine supplement were able to ride about a mile farther than those who took a placebo. Make yours a venti and skip the sweeteners.
Give Up Sugary Drinks
Caffeine may provide a bit of a boost to the metabolism, especially when ingested before exercise, but no amount of metabolic boost can burn off the empty calories that energy drinks supply. According to one study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a typical energy drink serves up a quarter cup of sugar, calories that hit your body all at once and trigger fat storage. If you want to burn calories, try the brand-new miracle beverage known as… water.
Stress can actually cause the body to metabolize food more slowly. To make matters worse, the food we crave when we’re stressed out tends to be fatty and full of sugar. Researchers say that the combination of high-cal cravings and a stress-induced, snail-paced metabolic rate can result in significant weight gain. To keep your metabolism running strong, fight stress with laughter. Research shows that smiling and laughing causes levels of stress hormones to diminish