Your body is constantly burning calories, even when you’re doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. That small difference can add up over time.
Here’s welcome news: You may have inherited your mom’s slow-mo metabolism, but you’re not stuck with it. New research shows you can trick your body into burning calories more efficiently, especially if you hit the gym.
Metabolism….it’s the sum of everything your body does. Each time you eat, enzymes in your body’s cells break down the food and turn it into energy that keeps your heart beating, your mind thinking, and your body going. A fast metabolism means more calories burned. The more you burn, the easier it is to drop pounds. And get this—you can make increase you metabolism so it works harder, a lot harder, 24 hours a day.
Here are a few tips on exactly how to do that!
Eat (a good) breakfast
Every “Single” Day. If you don’t, your body goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that), so your metabolism slows to a crawl to conserve energy. And the heartier your first meal is, the better.
What should you be having? Morning munchies that are slow to digest and leave you feeling fuller longer. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. an omelet made from one egg and two egg whites and a half cup of mixed peppers and onions, plus a half cup of cooked steel-cut oats mixed with a quarter cup of frozen berries and a teaspoon of omega-3-loaded fish oil.
Sip your Java
A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee increased 16 percent over that of those who drank decaf. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing. Honestly, could there be a more perfect beverage? (for me anyway, I exist on Coffee lol)
Guzzle your water COLD
Chase your morning java with an ice-cold glass of H2O. Researchers at the University of Utah found that volunteers who drank eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who quaffed only four glasses. Adding ice to a drink makes your body work harder because it has to heat it up in your stomach, which increases your metabolism!
Pick protein for lunch
Cramming protein into every meal helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest. Aim for about 30 grams of protein—the equivalent of about one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a four-ounce boneless chicken breast—at each meal.
Brew up some green tea
“It’s the closest thing to a metabolism potion.” The brew contains a plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning. In one study, people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups a day for 12 weeks decreased their body weight by 4.6 percent. According to other studies, consuming two to four cups of green tea per day may torch an extra 50 calories. That translates into about five pounds per year. Not bad for a few bags of leaves, eh? For maximum effect, let your tea steep for three minutes and drink it while it’s still hot.
Undo damage with dairy
Hey, it happens. There are days when no salad on earth can possibly overcome the seductive power of French fries. But you can make up for it with a calcium-rich afternoon snack, like eight ounces of milk or six ounces of low-fat yogurt. Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste (yes, that kind) Sorry, supplements don’t have the same effect.
Add some spice to your life and turn up the HEAT!
It turns out capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Eating about one tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response) The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chilies to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red pepper flakes on hand for topping pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.
Pump some IRON
Not in the literal sense, but through your body! Women lose iron during their period every month. That can throw a wrench into your metabolic machine, because iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don’t get enough O2, your energy tanks, and your metabolism sputters. Stock up on iron-fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, and broccoli.
Pop pills (huh?)
Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes, reports a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Volunteers took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times a week. After 12 weeks, they’d lost an average of 3.4 pounds, while those who exercised exclusively saw minimal shrinkage. Look for brands containing at least 300 milligrams of the fatty acid EPA and 200 milligrams of the fatty acid DHA per capsule. Pop two of these two hours before your workout.
Get plenty of rest
When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin—hormones that help regulate energy use and appetite—that your body produces. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who snoozed fewer than 7.5 hours per night experienced an increase in their body mass index. So make sure you get at least eight hours of rest.
Add some Cinnamon
Studies have shown that including a scoop of cinnamon into your daily diet can help you lose weight. A teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder added to a cup of boiling water can also help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease. Cinnamon is rich in manganese, iron, calcium and fiber. Cinnamon has a regulatory effect on blood sugar levels and simultaneously increases insulin levels in the body. It imitates the biological activity of insulin and increases the metabolism of glucose. Since high blood sugar levels can lead to increased storage of fat by the body, cinnamon helps prevent this increased storage of fat and enables you to lose weight. In addition, it influences the manner in which sugar is metabolized by the body and prevents the transformation of the metabolized sugar into fat. Cinnamon also delays the passing of food from the stomach into the intestine. Hence, you feel satisfied for a longer time and eat less.
Add some Kiwi to your diet
Kiwis pack a lot of vitamin C, but if you add 500 mg of it to your day, you burn up to 39% more fat when you’re exercising. Don’t get too much C, though, because once you get to the 2,000 mg mark, you start experiencing adverse effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Who wants that? Not me!
Here’s to healthy living and speeding up our metabolism!