Why is it so important to boost or increase your metabolism if you want to lose weight? Simply put, the higher your metabolic rate is the more calories you burn.
The more calories you burn, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off! Someone with a sluggish or slow metabolism will gain more fat from eating less food compared to someone with a fast, healthy metabolism.
What affects your metabolism?
So, what determines your metabolic rate? Quite a lot actually. That’s why it can be so hard to control. Factors with the strongest impact are genetics, age, weight, diet, exercise habits as well as you overal lifestyle.
There are certain areas which we can’t control, such as our genes and our age. As we age we start losing five to six pounds of muscle every decade, starting in our late 20’s.
If you do nothing to counter this natural muscle loss, you’ll start to see the weight pile on as you age. Maintaining muscle mass is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to start doing resistance training, especially as we grow older.
Besides genetics and age there are also areas which you can control. Our weight, diet, exercise routine and lifestyle are some of the main ones you should focus on if you want to speed up your metabolism.
8 Proven ways to boost your metabolism
Let’s look at eight effective ways to boost your metabolism, burn fat and lose weight.
For every pound of lean muscle your body burns an additional 14 calories a day, whereas a pound of fat only burns 2 to 3 calories. This small difference can add up over time. This is why people who are leaner and have more muscle mass tend to burn more calories at rest compared to those with higher body fat.
The only way to increase lean muscle mass is to lift weights or do some other form of resistance training. You don’t have to go overboard on this. People who add strength training to their exercise routine just two to three times a week burn significantly more fat than those who only perform cardio exercises.
Resistance training can involve using the machines in the gym, free weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells, equipment such as a resistance band or bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats and pull-ups.
Swap steady paced cardio for HIIT
Yes, going for a long jog can be great to burn calories… but it isn’t the most efficient or effective way to achieve that lean physique you’re aiming for.
High-intensity interval training or more commonly known as HIIT involves quick and intense bursts of exercise with short periods of rest inbetween. Implementing a consistent HIIT routine requires your body to consume more oxygen, making your mitochondria work harder and burning more energy.
HIIT training can burn a similar amount of calories in half the time compared to a low intensity steady state cardio. Not only will you be saving time… you’ll continue to reap the benefits of a HIIT workout even after the session.
This is because, after your HIIT workout, your body continues to burn calories for up to 36 hours by increasing your metabolic rate. that boost of metabolism will not be possible through a steady paced cardio training.
You can very easily incorporate interval training into your workout by inserting a 30 second sprint into your jog or bike ride, followed by a one-minute recovery and repeating this cycle for 6-10 times.
If you aren’t gasping for air, you are not exerting enough effort for it to be considered a HIIT training. Like the name implies, it has to be intense for you to reap the maximum benefits.
Don’t starve yourself
It’s true that, in order to lose weight, you need a calorie deficit. However, an extreme calorie deficiency long term can wreak havoc on your metabolism.
If your underfeeding your body on regular basis your metabolism will adapt to the new lower calorie intake. This means your metabolism works more efficiently to try and preserve the remaining calories by slowing down to a crawl.
Yes you will loose weight initialy. However, this is not sustainable. Once you go back to your normal ways of eating or increase your food intake you will start piling on the weight again really fast.
So, avoid extreme diets! Instead reduce your calorie intake at a healthy and realistic pace which can help you lose weight and at the same time is sustainable for you for the rest of your life.
Power up with protein
The thermic effect of food (which is also known as TEF) is caused by the extra calories your body uses to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
See also: Thermogenic Foods – Eating For Fat Loss
Protein causes the largest rise in TEP as it is harder for your body to break it down and digest it. Protein raises your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 percent compared to 5-10% for carbs and zero to three percent for fats.
Consuming plenty of protein can make you burn an extra 100 to 200 calories a day plus you will also feel more full and prevent overeating.
Eating large amounts of carbohydrates without any protein will spike your blood sugar levels only to have it crash one or two hours later. This cycle will wreak havoc on your metabolism and leave you fatigued and in a constant state of hunger.
That doesn’t mean you have to consume a very high protein diet. The guideline to follow is simply to check that 20 to 30 percent of your total daily calories come from protein. The easiest method to follow is to have a serving of protein such as lean meat, fish, nuts, legumes or yogurt at every meal and snack.
See also: The Best High Protein Low Calorie Foods
Drink black coffee
Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3 to 11 percent. This is why most fat burners have caffeine as one of their main ingredients.
That doesn’t mean that you should become a caffeine addict and drink coffee all day long expecting to lose weight. You still need to put in the effort. However, drinking a cup of black coffee before exercising can improve your workout performance and speed up your metabolism, helping you burn fat more efficiently.
Want to boost the health benefits of your daily cup of joe? Learn how to make your coffee super healthy.
So, try drinking one cup of black coffee before strarting your workout. Think of it as a natural pre-workout. However, if you lead a sedentary life where you’re set on your desk for 8 hours every single day and you only move for an hour in the gym black coffee probably isn’t going to solve your metabolism problems.
Which brings us to the next point…
Sitting too much kills your metabolism and poses numerous health threats as well. It’s even dubbed as the new smoking! Long periods of sitting burn fewer calories and can lead to weight gain and many other health issues.
An effective way to increase your metabolism with very minimal effort is to stand up and move more. Perhaps work from a standing desk or set yourself a reminder to move every hour. Get up and get yourself a cup of tea, do some simple stretches or just walk around your office.
Make the effort to move more by walking during your lunch break, taking public transport or taking the stairs. All these daily incidental movements can help you to burn more calories and even lose weight with very minimal effort.
We all know the importance of water. But did you know that your body needs water to process calories? This means that, if you are even slightly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down!
Some simple tricks to drink more water daily is to drink a glass of water once you’re up in the morning and drink a glass of water before every meal. Or consume a healthy vegetable soup before your meal.
Snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables is also a great way to get more water into your system as these naturally contain water (and a lot of healthy nurtrients besides). Water helps to fill you up. People who drink more water tend to consume less food.
Avoid liquid calories
What you really need to avoid are sugary drinks and alcohol. These contain empty calories that can really add up over time and cause weight gain.
The calories from sugary drinks, especially soda (yes even diet soda) and fruit juice, will slow down your metabolism and cause your body to store more fat.
See also: Top 10 Foods To Avoid For A Flat Belly
Get enough sleep
Another crucial ingredient for a healthy metabolism is getting enough rest. Lack of sleep can be linked to being overweight.
Sleeping is something we often don’t prioritize in our busy and hectic lifestyle. However, not getting enough rest can disrupt your hormones, change the way you process sugar and decrease the number of calories you burn.
Sleep affects the levels of two hormones leptin and ghrelin which control the feelings of fullness and hunger. Leptin sends a signal to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant.
So, when you lack sleep you also notice that you eat more and crave more unhealthy foods.
In addition to the tips mentioned above you may also want to consider metabolism boosting supplements. Although these should never replace a well balanced diet and plenty of exercise, they can help make reaching your weight loss goals and keeping unwanted weight off easier and faster. See: Supplements to Increase Your Metabolism After 40 to learn more about different kinds of metabolism boosting supplements and how to incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle.
Take control of your metabolism
By following the tips mentioned above you can gain a large amount of control over your body’s metabolic rate. So, don’t blame it on your genetics or age. Making small lifestyle changes on a daily basis can boost your metabolism and you will thank yourself for it!
A high metabolism can help with weight loss as well as maintaining a healthy weight for life. It also gives you more energy to do the things you enjoy and truly live life to the fullest.