Why is it so important to boost or increase your metabolism? To simply put, the higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories you burn, hence the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off! Someone with a sluggish or slower metabolism will gain more fat from eating less food in comparison to a person with a fast, healthy metabolism. So what affects your metabolism? Genetics, age, weight, diet, exercise habits as well as lifestyle.
There are certain areas, which we can’t control such as our genes and also age. As we age, we start to lose 5 - 6 pounds of muscles every decade starting in our late 20s.
Saying that however, there are also areas which we can control; our weight, diet, exercise routine and lifestyle. These are the areas we should take control of, and it can speed up our metabolism. I’m going to share with you 5 effective ways to boost your metabolism, burn fat and lose weight.
1) Pump It Up
The only way to increase lean muscle mass is to lift weights. For every pound of lean muscle, your body burns an additional 14 calories a day, whereas a pound of fat only burns 2 - 3 calories. This small difference can add up overtime.
Hence, people who are leaner with a higher muscle mass burns more calories at rest, compared to those with higher body fat. Adding strength training 2 - 3 times a week burns significantly more fat than those who only perform cardio exercises.
Resistance training can involve using the machines in the gym, or free weights such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells or equipment such as a resistance band or even bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups.
2) Swap steady pace cardio for HIIT
Yes, going for long jog can be great to burn calories, but it isn’t the most efficient or effective way to achieve the lean physique you’re after.
High Intensity Interval Training or more commonly known as HIIT involves quick and exert intense bursts of activity. Implementing a consistent HIIT routine requires your body to consume more oxygen, making your mitochondria work harder and burn more energy.
HIIT training can burn a similar amount of calories in half the time compared to low intensity steady-pace cardio! Not only will you be saving time, you’ll reap the benefits of a HIIT workout even after the session. 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-pace cardio training.
You can easily incorporate interval training into your workout by inserting a 30-second sprint into your jog or bike followed by a 1-minute recovery and repeat this cycle for 10 times. If you aren’t gasping for air, you aren’t exerting enough effort for it to be considered a HIIT training. It has to be intense.
3) Don’t starve yourself
Yes, in order to lose weight, you need a calorie deficit. However an extreme calorie deficiency long term can wreck havoc on your metabolism.
If you are underfeeding your body on a regular basis, your metabolism will adapt to the new lower calorie intake. Your metabolism works more efficiently to try and preserve the remaining calories, hence slowing down your metabolism. Yes, you will lose weight, but is it sustainable?
Once you were to go back to your normal way of eating, or increase your food intake, that’s when you start piling on the weight again and it happens really fast. 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, you know that you can sustain it for life!
4) Power Up With Protein
TEP which is also know as the Thermic Effect of Food is caused by the extra calories your body uses to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
Protein causes the largest rise in TEP as it is harder for the body to break down. It raises your metabolic rate by 15 - 30%, compared to 5 - 10% for carbs and 0 - 3% for fats. Therefore consuming plenty of protein can make you burn an extra 150 - 200 calories a day, plus you’ll 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 will 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 check that 20 - 30% of your total daily calories comes from protein. The easiest method I follow is to have a serving of protein such as lean meat, fish, nuts, legumes, or yoghurt at every meal and snack.
5) Sip on Black Coffee
Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3 - 11%. This is why if you were to take a look fat burners, most of them have caffeine as the number one ingredient. That doesn’t mean that you should be a caffeine addict and just sip on coffee all day long expecting to lose weight. You still need to put the effort in.
Drinking a cup of black coffee before exercising can improve your workout performance, speed up your metabolism, hence help you burn fat more efficiently. And that’s something I personally practice myself. One cup of Jo before my training!
6) Move More
Exercising has tons of benefits. However if you have a sedentary life where you are sat on your desk for 8 hours daily and only move an hour in the gym after, that’s probably not the best way to boost your metabolism throughout the day.
Sitting too much kills you! It’s even dubbed as “the new smoking”. Long periods of sitting burn fewer calories, can lead to weight gain and many other health issues.
An effective way to increase your metabolism with minimal effort is to stand up and move more. Perhaps work from a standing desk or set a reminder to move every hour, by getting yourself a cup of tea, doing simple stretches or just walking around your office. Make the effort to move more by walking to get lunch, taking the public transport or taking the stairs. All these daily incidental movements can help you to burn more calories and even lose weight with minimal effort.
7) Stay Hydrated
We all know the importance of water, but did you know that your body needs water to process calories? Hence, if you are even slightly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down.
Some simple tricks to drink more water daily is to drink a glass once you are up in the morning and drink a glass of water before every meal. Or consume a healthy vegetable soup before your meal and also snack on fresh fruits and vegetables which naturally contain water. Water helps to fill you up. Which means those who drank more will tend to consume less food. What you need to avoid are sugary drinks and alcohol, as they contain empty calories but can add up overtime and cause weight gain.
8) Get enough Rest
And I can’t stress this enough, get enough rest! Lack of sleep can be linked to being overweight! Sleep is something we don’t prioritise in our busy and hectic lifetysle, but its impact is long term. 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 send 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. Hence, when you lack sleep, you’ll also notice that you eat and crave more.
You are in control of your body’s metabolic rate. Don’t blame it on genetics or age! Making small lifestyle changes on a daily basis can boost your metabolism and you will only thank yourself for it. A high metabolism can help with weight lose, maintaining a healthy weight for life, and more importantly it gives you more energy to do the things you enjoy, and truly live life!