Whether you are looking to lose weight or you simply want to increase your energy levels and overall fitness, giving your metabolism a much needed boost is a great place to start. Genetics and age do play a role in the speed of your metabolism and you may even class yourself as being ‘unlucky’ and having a slow metabolism, but it is not something you have to tolerate and it is something that you can change for the better.
Basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body requires to function at rest. In other words, the calories you burn when you are doing very little activity. As previously stated, metabolic rate can vary for a number of reasons and is dependent on height, age, body type and gender among other factors.
By adjusting your diet, physical activity and lifestyle, it is possible to kick start your metabolism and keep it running at a faster pace to give you the best shot at reaching your goals. Below are a number of useful lifestyle changes which can be very effective at boosting metabolism:
The single most important factor in determining your resting metabolic rate is how much lean muscle tissue you have. Your muscle tissue uses 16-22% of your daily calories just to exist. Your liver and your brain use ~20% each of your daily calories to exist too, but there isn’t as much scope to increase the rate at which these organs utilise energy. Increasing metabolic rate through the development of more muscle tissue is the key to lasting weight loss.
1kg of muscle burns 18 calories per day. 1kg of fat only burns 4 calories. So there you have it. Getting lean helps you stay lean!
Firstly, your body requires water in order to function optimally. Therefore, if you are dehydrated your metabolism will slow down. Secondly, drinking a glass of water before a main meal will help to reduce appetite and help you to eat smaller portions. This is great for weight loss as you are eating less, but eating regular small meals will keep your metabolism ticking over at a more rapid rate as well.
Nutritionists will often recommend drinking ice cold water to help boost metabolism and aid weight loss. This is because the body will use energy (burn more calories) heating the water to body temperature from the ice cold temperature it was on ingestion.
Allow Yourself A ‘Cheat Day’
Allowing yourself a ‘cheat day’ or day where you allow yourself a few treats is good for you physically and mentally. One of the ways in which a cheat day boosts metabolisms is by increasing leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone which influences hunger and body fat storage and when you drastically cut calories for an extended period of time, leptin levels drop. This causes your body to store any fat that it can in ‘survival mode’. In other words, your body thinks it will be deprived of calories indefinitely and will therefore hold onto fat stores for the energy it needs.
When you have a cheat day, you have a chance to‘re-set’ your leptin levels. It sends the message that food it plentiful and therefore it is unnecessary to hold onto excess fat reserves. It is a good thing to keep your metabolism on its toes and be able to allow yourself a few treats which will help to keep you happy and motivated to continue with your lifestyle change.
In terms of how often you should have a cheat day, one meal every week is ideal. You should not allow yourself cheat foods more often than this. When you begin your diet it is a good idea to follow a strict clean diet for two weeks before allowing yourself a cheat meal.
Spice Up Your Life
Cayenne pepper is an antioxidant rich and delicious spice which helps to boost immunity and prevent degeneration in those suffering from diseases of that nature. Ingestion of spices has a thermogenic effect on the body which causes the body to increase metabolism in order to regain homeostasis (normal internal environment of the body). Capsaicin found in cayenne pepper is associated with suppressing appetite which makes this spice a great addition to any diet aimed at weight loss.
Constantly changing position can help you to burn up to 350 calories more each day than if you maintain a sedentary position. Even the slightest movements can make a difference. It is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and in general, those with a lower BMI have a higher daily NEAT level.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea extract is well known for its antioxidant properties, but there are many other benefits to gain from this ingredient. It is affiliated with boosting the metabolism and helping to promote healthy weight loss and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Green tea extract contains L-theanine, which is believed to reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep too. Not only will you be reaching your weight loss goals, you will feel revitalised from all the great sleep you will be having!
Sleep restriction has been found to significantly decrease physical activity levels the following day. It also encourages overeating to compensate for lack of energy. Sleep is vital for optimal training gains and in order to boost metabolism so ensure you are getting at least 7 hours of high quality sleep each evening. Lack of sleep can negatively affect the way you are able to deal with stress and therefore working out and eating a clean diet become increasingly difficult. When you are extremely fatigued the body craves junk food as an energy quick fix and this disrupts metabolism.
The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep each night to recover and function optimally. Don’t sacrifice sleep; your metabolism will slow down!
Due to the fast paced nature and varying intensities of interval training, you will burn more calories during this workout than you would when training at a steady state. You will also burn more calories post-workout because of the intense exertion your body has gone through during training. The repair and progression that your body will go through after each training session will require a lot of energy which can elevate metabolism for as much as 24-48 hours post-workout.