Having a sluggish metabolism can mess with you in so many ways. It can make you feel drained of energy, lead you to overeat and stand in the way of your weight loss goals. But a few simple tweaks and you can start burning more calories and get the most from your efforts.
Here are 10 research proven strategies
for boosting your metabolism:
1. Move More (All Day Long)
Your metabolic rate, that is, how fast you burn calories, slows down when you are at rest or sleeping. On the flip side, it spikes when you are moving, especially during a workout. If you are seated at a desk all day, your metabolism ends up moving at a snail's pace. "A desk job is the metabolic equivalent of sleeping all day," says Michele Olson, Ph.D., a principal researcher at the Auburn University Montgomery Scharff-Olson Kinesiology Laboratory. The more you move, the more calories you use, the higher your metabolic rate. Take a little walking break every hour or get up and do 20 jumping jacks every 20 minutes. Walk around your office when you're on a phone call, or simply stand up. Some movement is better than nothing.
2. Don't Starve Yourself
If you cut too many calories from your diet, you may be messing with your body's ability to burn fat. A recent study on mice in the journal Cell
found that the brain uses satiety and fullness cues to turn white fat into metabolically active brown fat. When you are hungry, your brain signals the body to hold on to white fat to guard against cold and famine.
3. Take On Tabata
Tabata intervals consist of 20 seconds of really intense work followed by a 10 second break, repeated 8 times. Research done by Olson found that this type of training burns 13.5 calories per minute and doubles your metabolic rate for a full 30 minutes following your workout. So, start thinking about doing some burpees, squats, mountain climbers, or cardio activities like swimming or running sprints. Look for activities that use a large portion of various muscle groups at the same time.
4. Power Up With Protein
Protein not only plays a role in building muscle, it also helps to keep you feeling full by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin while optimizing the satiety hormone leptin. Aside from that, the very act of eating protein gives your body a metabolic boost as you expend calories digesting it. Aim for 4-6 ounces of quality protein with every meal.
5. Spice Things Up
Cayenne pepper is a metabolism booster. "The capsaicinoids from pepper extracts increase thermogenic energy expenditure, increase fat oxidation, and reduce appetite," explains Victor R. Prisk, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and member of the GNC Medical Advisory Board. Researchers also suspect that the spices help to activate brown fat, speeding up your metabolism.
6. Go For The Afterburn
As with Tabata, other high intensity interval training (HIIT) routines can pump up your burn rate. "HIIT is a great metabolism booster because it can be done in short sessions but gives a long-term burn," Prisk says. This happens because your body not only has to work harder during the intense intervals, it also has to work to get your body back to resting state. The more intensely you work, the more your body needs to recover and the more calories you burn.
7. Embrace The Cold
Don't let the autumn drop in temperatures keep you from getting out for a run. The cold can actually help you out! "Exercising in the cold burns more calories, especially if you're shivering, which increases the metabolic rate," Olson says. Cold temperatures also prompt an immune response that makes our body convert your white, cellulite type fat, into brown fat.
8. Lift Weights
"Muscle is metabolic currency, and building muscle helps boost your metabolism," Prisk says. One way to make sure you're gaining lean muscle is to play around with your schedule. According to Prisk, "studies suggest that the order of your cardio and weights can make a difference in how much muscle you retain from your training." He adds, "If you plan to lift heavy, then it doesn't make sense to pre-exhaust yourself with cardio first. I suggest changing it up. Try mixing cardio into circuits one day and increasing your weight-training pace to bump up your heart rate on your next session."
9. Stay In Your Sweet Spot
Your body's main fuel sources are glucose and fat. Because it is quick and easy, it turns to glucose first. If you eat too much sugar, your system gets out of whack. "Your body begins to rely on a steady supply of sugar for energy," says nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of The Sugar Impact Diet
. "It starts to crave more and more sugar as a primary source of fuel and becomes less reliant on fat stores."
10. Don't Skimp On Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep does more than keep you energized and feeling awake, it also regulates your metabolism. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigations,
found that when we disrupt our circadian rhythms, either with jet lag or lack of sleep, our bodies experience a metabolic disruption both hormonally and at a cellular level. Your best bet is to aim for 7-9 hours a night.
Have you managed these simple tweaks to your daily routine? Tell us how it worked for you!
Source: Muscle & Fitness