One of the questions we are most often asked is how to boost metabolism. Metabolism is the primary way your body converts calories from the food that you eat into energy. Most people want to speed up their metabolism so they can burn more calories throughout the day. After all, who doesn’t want to eat their favorite foods and efficiently burn it all up so that it doesn’t end up as increased body fat? Four basic factors set the stage for your metabolic needs: height, weight, age, and gender. In addition, your thyroid function, amount of fat mass vs. muscle mass accrued on your body, exercise intensity, and food choices can play a role in boosting or slowing your metabolism.
Here are five simple steps that can help fire up your metabolism. Check them out to achieve great metabolic benefits through nutrition and fitness!
- Drink Green TeaGreen tea is already considered a nutritional powerhouse thanks to its potent disease-fighting antioxidants. Some research indicates that it’s the EGCG – the most abundant catechin in green tea – in combination with caffeine that is responsible for the metabolism boost and that people who drink green tea burn up to an extra 70 to 100 calories per day. Several studies, including one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that green tea has metabolism-boosting properties and fat-oxidizing properties that can help promote weight loss and stave off weight gain. To reap metabolism-boosting benefits, aim to drink five to six 4-ounce cups of tea per day, and sip tea throughout the day. You can make your green tea iced or drink it warm!
- Make Your Meals Spicy!Capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that gives them their heat, is also responsible for boosting metabolism. It’s theorized that metabolism increases because hot peppers literally heat you up – for every half degree that body temperature rises in Fahrenheit, metabolism is estimated to increase roughly 7 percent. So, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to your favorite soup or stews or dice up a jalapeño and add to guacamole for an extra kick. Although adding a little hot pepper to your meals every now and then probably won’t help so much, if you make a habit of spicing up your meals daily over time it certainly can help!
- Strength Train the Largest Muscle GroupsIf there’s one thing that’s for certain when it comes to revving the metabolism, it’s that strength training is one of the only sure-fire ways to do it. Muscle requires more calories to exist than body fat inside the body, so the more lean muscle tissue you accrue, the more calories you burn at rest. As we get older, if we don’t strength train, our metabolism automatically slows as we lose lean muscle tissue – surprisingly, this happens for men in their mid-twenties and women around age 30. By utilizing large muscle groups, a large percentage of the body’s muscles are activated and strengthened. Some exercises that can work wonders include pushups, leg presses, planks, walking lunges, and bent over rows.
- Add High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to Your Exercise RoutineTo maximize fat burning, interval training is one of the best things you can do. HIIT keeps the body guessing by constantly alternating faster, more intense exercise periods with slower, shorter recovery paces. The body is forced to continually pump up the intensity and it helps exercisers to burn more calories and get in shape faster than if you exercise at a slower pace. The great news is that no matter what exercise you’re doing – cycling, jogging or swimming – you can do interval training. The body works harder and burns more calories after exercise is finished, too. For example, while jogging or cycling, try sprinting at regular intervals for 30 seconds. Or, when swimming or walking, pump up the intensity and go as fast as you can for a minute, then rest for two minutes and complete another interval.
- Include Protein at All MealsLean protein is believed to play several roles in body-weight regulation. In addition to helping you feel satisfied and preventing peaks and valleys in energy, lean protein also has the potential to boost metabolism. While all foods create a thermic effect and will slightly raise your metabolism, eating protein provides a larger thermic boost compared to eating carbohydrates or fats. Remember, eating enough protein will ensure you’ll maintain and build muscle tissue. You can’t go wrong by selecting lean choices of protein like chicken or turkey breast, fish and seafood, eggs, low- and non-fat dairy products, and lean red meat.