Metabolism is one of the things many people focus on when beginning a weight loss journey. Metabolism has a lot to do with genetics, age, and even gender. Generally men have a metabolism more prone to building lean muscle than women, and for the majority of people, the metabolism begins to slow down around their late 30's, early 40's. Metabolism directly impacts energy production, and how readily your body can utilize the calories consumed during the day. While you cannot change your circumstances that make your metabolism what it is, you can do a few things to help boost it. Here are a few tips that may help you toward achieving a weight loss goal.
Stay Hydrated: Of course, there are endless benefits to staying hydrated throughout the day, as drinking enough water can have a great impact on your overall health. Studies have shown that resting energy expenditure (REE) increased by 24-30% within 10 minutes of drinking water. The REE is attributed to about 60% of daily caloric output, and is happening all the time. (Think involuntary actions such as brain function, heartbeat, breathing, etc). Drinking water can also help promote a full feeling throughout the day, possibly reducing the desire to snack.
Upgrade your workout intensity: There are a few ways your workouts can impact your metabolism. First and foremost, exercising burns calories. Along with that is an increase in metabolism that can last up to 24 hours! While this effect isn't permanent, it will go a long way to helping if exercise is implemented daily.
The type of exercise can also have a big impact.
Weight lifting or resistance training can help build lean muscle mass. It is believed every pound of muscle uses approximately 6 calories a day to sustain itself, while every pound of fat only consumes around 2 calories per day.
For something other than standard weight training, a HIIT workout may better suited to certain people. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves quick intense bursts of activity followed immediately by short rest periods. These workouts keep your heart rate elevated, more so than a standard resistance training. They can also be fun! Many gyms offer group training classes that utilize a HIIT style format, so if you're looking for a way to get started, that may be an option.
Stand up: Even if you are on a rest day, get your body moving a bit. If you have a sedentary desk job, try to stand up for short periods throughout the day. This avoids sitting for 8 hours straight. It has also shown that moving around a bit during the day improves blood flow to the brain, and can improve productivity at work (so get your boss on board!) Sitting at a desk all day can also negatively impact your digestion, as sitting down causes the contents of your abdomen to compress, slowing digestion. Standing up will not help you burn an extra 500 calories but will help improve your overall health and aid weight loss.
Make Changes to your nutrition: Your diet may seem perfectly fine, and you may be healthy, but if you are looking to boost your metabolism, there are some small changes you may want to make in your diet to achieve your goals.
The foods you eat heavily impact your metabolism, the thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy required for digestion, absorption, and disposal of ingested nutrients. This is most easily measured in a percentage of calories consumed. For example, protein loses 25-30% of the calories consumed, and carbohydrates only around 10%. So cutting some carbs out, and replacing them with lean proteins may help reduce the number of calories you need to expend throughout the day. Additionally, protein leads to a feeling of satiety (or satisfaction) at a lower caloric total than carbohydrates or fats, so higher protein meals may leave you feeling full with a lower consumption.
Spice of life - It is also believed that spicy menu options may increase metabolic rate. Spicy foods have natural chemicals (capsaicin) that can help accelerate metabolism. This alone will have a minimal impact, it is something you may want to consider adding to your diet due to the benefit of capsaicin in general. Read more on Cayenne and Capsaicin here.
Smaller meals more often - Eating 3 large meals a day will cause the metabolism to slow between meals, and may lead to over eating when those meals come around.
One of the biggest questions with weight loss we hear is
"I'm eating almost nothing all day, why am I not losing weight?"
By not eating during the day, the metabolism naturally slows, going into a type of "starvation" mode, where the body conserves as many calories as possible, as it is unsure when the next meal will come. When that big dinner arrives, not only has the metabolism slowed significantly, but it's likely you are HUNGRY. This can easily become a binge eating trap, and the slower metabolic activity will cause most of those calories to be stored.
Having a few healthy snacks in between meals will keep your energy levels up, and the metabolism going. When it’s meal time, you may not be as hungry and over eating should be easier to control. The critical point is to have healthy snacks between smaller meals.
Drink some caffeine: Whether it is black coffee or green tea, drinking caffeine can elevate the metabolism for a few hours. Caffeine will improve your energy levels and help promote a fat burning state. So adding a cup of coffee (careful on the sugary additives) or green tea in the morning or before a workout to get an energy boost to get you moving.
Caffeine is also a great appetite suppressant, which is why many fat burning supplements on the market utilize it.
These are in no way meant to be a One-Size-Fits-All guide to weight loss, but easy to implement tricks that may help on a weight loss journey. Remember, there are no short cuts, but making small changes like these, over long periods of time can make a huge difference.