Give your metabolism a new year boost

Give your metabolism a new year boost

Have you made a new year resolution to lose weight?

Boosting your metabolism is the key to life-time weight management, but how fast your body burns calories depends on several factors. Some people inherit a fast metabolism. Men tend to burn more calories than women, even while resting because they naturally have more muscle tissue.

For most people, metabolism declines steadily after age 40. Although you can’t control your age, gender, or genetics, there are other ways to get a boost. So rather than focusing on losing weight in the new year, instead aim to give your ‘engine’ a tune up so you burn more calories all year.

Here are some ideas to rev up your metabolism in 2014.

Build Muscle

Our bodies constantly burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing. Resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every kilogram of muscle uses about 15 calories a day, while each kilogram of fat burns only 5 calories daily. While that differential doesn’t sound like much, that small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average metabolic rate.

Speed Up Your Workout

Aerobic exercise may not build big muscles, but it can increase your metabolism in the hours after a workout. The key is to push yourself. High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts. To get the benefits, try a more intense class at the gym or include short bursts of jogging during your regular walk.

Drink Up (with Water)

The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay adequately hydrated, drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack. Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of fluid, rather than chips or processed foods.

Energy Drinks

Some ingredients in energy drinks can give your metabolism a boost. They usually have caffeine which increases the amount of energy your body uses. They sometimes have taurine, an amino acid. Taurine can speed up your metabolism and may help burn fat. Be careful though, too much of these drinks can cause problems like high blood pressure, anxiety, and sleep issues for some people. They are certainly not recommended for children and people with high blood pressure.

Sensible Snacking

Eating more often can help you lose weight – provided it doesn’t mean more calories overall. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of a day. Several studies have also shown that people who snack regularly eat less at meal time.

Spice Up Your Food

Spicy foods contain chemical compounds that can kick the metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is temporary, but if you eat spicy foods frequently, the benefits may add up. For a quick boost, spice up pasta dishes, chili, and stews with red-pepper flakes.

Protein Power

The body burns more calories digesting protein than it does for fat or carbohydrates. Although you want to eat a balanced diet, replacing some carbohydrates with lean, protein-rich foods can boost metabolism at mealtime. Healthy sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.

Have a Coffee

If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably enjoy the increased energy and concentration that follows your morning ritual. Taken in moderation, one of coffee’s benefits may be a short-term increase in your metabolic rate. Caffeine can help you feel less tired and even increase your endurance while you exercise. Caffeine has also been shown to increase fat metabolism.

Relax with Green Tea Drinking green tea has been shown to offer the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to speed up metabolism for a couple hours. Research suggests that drinking two to four cups of green tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise for a short period of time.

Avoid Crash Diets

Crash diets, involving eating fewer than 1,200 (if you’re a woman) or 1,800 (if you’re a man) calories a day, can be detrimental for anyone hoping to increase their metabolism. Although these diets may help you drop weight quickly, a high percentage of the loss comes from water and possibly muscle. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your ongoing metabolism. The final result is your body burns fewer calories (and gains weight faster) than the one you had before the diet.

Avoid sitting still

Research has shown that long periods of inactivity during the day can reduce your calorie burn and increase your risk of metabolic diseases, regardless of how much exercise you do. Get into the habit of moving as much as possible and try not to ever sit for more than an hour without getting up from your desk (or the couch if you are on holidays!).

Make smart choices

The effect of different foods and drinks on the metabolism is small compared to what you need for sustained weight loss and long-term weight management. Your smart choice for creating a mean calorie-burning machine is to build muscle and stay active. The more muscle you have and the more you move during the day, the more calories you burn.

Avatar for David Beard
David Beard
david@exerciseiq.com.au
1Comment
  • Avatar for Rob Daniel
    Rob Daniel
    Posted at 23:56h, 13 January

    Thanks for the info. This should be very useful to someone trying to lose weight.