A speedy metabolism is one of the most powerful weapons when it comes to shedding the extra pounds and maintaining one’s ideal weight.
To break it down simply, metabolism is the total number of calories your body burns each day. Now, how fast your body burns calories depends on a number of factors. Some individuals are genetically blessed with a faster metabolism than most. Biologically speaking, men seem to burn more calories, even in rest mode, than women do. As we age, our metabolism slows down at a steady rate and subsequently keeping the weight off can be both tricky and frustrating.
The good news here is that there are many things you can do on your own to optimize your metabolism.
We’ve gathered 10 sure-fire tips to get your calorie-burning machine going!
1) Build Muscle: Muscle is the top consumer of calories in your body. Your body is always burning calories even when you’re in rest mode. People with more muscle have a higher resting metabolic rate. Increasing your muscle mass means your body will work harder at burning calories even when you’re sleeping. Ways to increases muscle mass in order to ramp up your metabolic rate include:
• Combine cardio activity with light weights to keep your heart rate going while building leaner muscles
• Combine strength training with aerobic activity
• Do 1 or 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions that focus on each muscle group twice a week
• Target the abs, biceps, glutes, and quads for the above repetitions
2) Take care of your thyroid: Your thyroid is vital to your metabolism as it acts as metabolic thermostat of sorts. The thyroid releases hormones that help to control the overall body temperature and rate that your body burns calories. When your thyroid is out of balance, your metabolic rate slows down. Keep your
thyroid in its best health so your metabolic rate is functioning at its peak. Keep your thyroid in shape by:
• Consuming good carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and beans
• Don’t completely cut carbs out of your diet, as studies have shown that this can reduce thyroid function by an alarming 50%
• Keeping complex carbs in your diet
3) Snack smart: It may sound strange, but snacking can actually help you lose weight. Of course, this all depends on how smart you are snacking! What happens when you eat 3 large meals spaced out is that your metabolism slows down in between. Eating several small snacks every 3-4 hours will keep your metabolism going, thus burning more calories over an entire day. Regular snacking will also help you eat less at meal time.
• Have a power plate every 3-4 hours
• Make sure the plate has 3 components of 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate or good fat and unlimited vegetables
• Don’t skip on meals or food which signals the metabolism to slow down thinking the body is going into fasting mode
• Start your day with a high protein breakfast to curb hunger
4) Get spicy: It’s true that spicy foods can help you lose weight! Spicy foods contain natural chemicals that increase your metabolic rate. Note though that with spicy foods, the metabolic rate boost is likely only temporary. However, incorporating spices into your meals daily can help improve your metabolism overtime.
• Add a tablespoon of chopped red or green chilli peppers to your dishes
• Spice up chilis, stews, pasta, and casseroles with red pepper flakes
5) Protein, protein, protein: We burn more calories when digesting protein than any other fat or carbohydrate. Substituting some carbs with lean proteins will boost your metabolism.
• Incorporate meats like lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat, and chicken
• Nuts and legumes
• Low-fat dairy products
6) Black Coffee: When consumed in limited amounts, black coffee can help with giving you a short-term boost in your metabolism. It will also help to ramp up your endurance while you exercise.
7) Have some green tea: Green and oolong tea help to boost the metabolism for a couple of hours due to the caffeine and catechins they contain. According to research, drinking 2-4 cups of green/oolong tea can give the body fuel to burn 17% more calories during a fairly intensive but short workout.
8) Stay away from crash diets: Diets that subsist on consuming fewer than 1,200 calories can actually contribute to slowing down a metabolism. These diets can signal to your body to burn valuable muscle tissue and fat, thus slowing down your metabolic rate. While you may be able to drop the pounds quickly with these diets, you will not be so doing so on the grounds of quality nutrition. You’ll end up losing muscle and your body will burn less calories which will unfortunately cause you to gain weight faster.
9) Up your workout game: Injecting some intensity into your workouts will boost your metabolism for your times of rest later. High-intensity exercises deliver a larger, longer spike in resting metabolic rates over low to moderate intensity workouts. Here are some tips to ramp up your exercise routines:
• Add speedier bursts to your treadmill activity, walks, or runs
• Combine strength training and aerobic activity together
• Mix in intervals to any cardio workout , switching between high and low intensity sets
• Make aerobic activities more challenging to burn more calories
10) Keep yourself hydrated: Water plays a significant role in metabolism in that we need it to process the calories we intake. Dehydration even in the slightest form, can yield a metabolism to slow down.
• Drink a glass of water before every meal and snack
• Munch on fresh fruit and vegetables which naturally contain water
3 Rules to Reboot Your Metabolism. Retrieved from: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/3-rules-reboot-metabolism
Smith, M, MD. (2013, August 19) 10 Ways to Boost your Metabolism. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-boost-your-metabolism
Roth, M. Rev It Up: How to Reboot Your Metabolism. Retrieved from: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/tips/how-to-increase-metabolism/