Increasing your metabolism to boost weight loss or for other health reasons is a lot easier than you think.
You might assume you're stuck with the metabolism you were born with and there's simply nothing to do to fix it.
However, there are many things you can do to improve your metabolism. If your body has suffered through metabolic damage, either from starving yourself or overtraining, you still have the ability to reverse it.
Understanding the metabolism and how it works can help you lose weight and maximize your hard work.
Even if you aren't trying to lose weight, having a healthy metabolism can be incredibly beneficial to your body because of reasons that I list below.
What is metabolism?
- Metabolism is the result of all processes in your body working together to generate energy to keep you going
- Your metabolism can process at a low, medium, or high rate depending on many things
- The metabolism is usually faster and higher when you're young, but slows down as you get older
Benefits of boosting your metabolism:
- Higher metabolism allows food to convert into energy quicker
- Cleanse and get rid of toxins at a much faster rate
- Higher metabolic rate aids in weight loss
- Removal of toxins means the skin will rejuvenate quicker
- Generates new cells faster (rapid healing)
Foods to eat for a higher metabolism:
- Flax seeds
- Red peppers
- Sweet potatoes
1. Drink coffee
Coffee increases your metabolic rate and helps burn fat from the caffeine stimulant.
Caffeine increases our metabolic rate by 3-13% depending on the amount of coffee an individual has drunk. The leaner you are, the higher the effect the caffeine will have on your body. Make sure to skip the sweeteners and creamers. People can get tolerant to caffeine, which is why it may be a good idea to drink coffee in cycles, such as every other day, or every other week.
Related: Healthiest Foods For A Tight Budget
2. Kick up the intensity
Adding high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) allows you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time.
HIIT can involve any exercise by simply going as hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then resting for a minute by going a regular/normal speed. Complete 5-8 sets of this, and slowly increase your intensity time as you get stronger.
You can incorporate HIIT training with hiking, walking, rock climbing, running, cycling, swimming, and any physical activity you can think of. Here is a free HIIT workout you can do anywhere.
Related: If you do better with someone telling you what to eat and which workouts to do, I recommend the 21 Day Fix program. I've completed the program several times, and have gotten amazing results.
3. Eliminate stress
Stress wreaks havoc on the body for so many reasons, which makes it no surprise that it hurts the metabolism as well. Stress makes it harder to metabolize food, and when we're stressed, we usually crave foods that are filled with sugar and fat.
This creates a cycle of eating that will increase weight gain. Make sure to incorporate stress-relieving exercise every day, such as meditating, yoga, kickboxing, or anything you can think of that releases stress.
4. Drink green tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have countless benefits for the body. There have been many trials and studies that have shown green tea boosts metabolic rate, which increases fat burning.
The effects of green tea can vary among individuals, so it's best to try it out for yourself.
Green tea has antioxidants called catechins which are the primary reason people burn more calories when they drink green tea.
Related: 25 Tips For Long-Term Weight Loss
5. Build muscle
Building muscle has positive effects on your metabolic rate. More muscle means more calorie burn, even when you're resting.
This is why weight lifting and incorporating weights into your workout is crucial to having a fast metabolism. Your body's RMR (or resting metabolic rate) is often higher when an individual has more muscle on them. Each pound of muscle requires an average of 6 calories just to support itself.
Related: If you've been trying to lose weight for awhile and at a standstill, I encourage checking out this weight loss guide. The 200+ page ebook includes a 14-day meal plan, exercise plan, 50+ whole food recipes, and includes chapters on everything you need to know about healthy living. The ebook also includes a free Facebook support group, where you get to see the success stories of so many others, as well as ask questions.
6. Ditch trans fat
Trans fats are terrible for the body for so many reasons, and not just because it wreaks havoc on your metabolism. Trans fats are the worst kinds of fat to eat, according to doctors. It raises your LDL (bad) and lowers your HDL (good), and can also increase your risk of heart disease.
Many meat and dairy products carry trans fat naturally, but so do baked goods, fried food, creamer, and many other foods.
7. Stay hydrated with ice cold water
Water not only keeps you full, it also increases your metabolic rate. Try to drink half your weight in ounces (for me that's around 65 ounces, but I try to at least 80 ounces a day). Drinking 17 ounces of cold water can increase your BMR by an average of 30 percent.
Dehydration has negative metabolic effects, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Make sure to drink 2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up to get your metabolism going. If you're not a fan of regular water, get a fruit infuser water bottle and stay hydrated throughout the day with a super healthy drink.
8. Choose whole grains
Eating whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, or brown rice takes extra effort for the body to break down versus processed grains. Your body has to work harder to digest these foods, which keeps your metabolic rate elevated throughout the day. These foods are also rich in fiber, which is a double win! Whole grains are also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein.
9. Enjoy the spicy foods
Spicy foods such as mustard or cayenne peppers have the ability to increase hormones in your body.
When certain hormones are increased, such as adrenaline, your caloric burn increases, therefore creating a higher metabolic rate.
The capsaicin in peppers is the reason for this, as it causes the rate of uncoupling proteins in the muscle. The mitochondrial ups the heart rate, which in return raises the metabolic rate.
Related: Use Ibotta to save money on vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods. Get $10 in your account by signing up here.
10. Stand more
Sitting is common for most people in the corporate world, and many jobs don't require much standing. Because of this, many of us have developed a habit of sitting for up to 9 hours a day, on top of sleeping in our beds for another 8 hours.
Standing burns calories, forces you to practice the habit of good posture, and can even help with your mental health. Researchers have reported that sitting for long hours is linked to worse mental health.
A standing desk can make it easy to get in your standing hours throughout the day and keep you active, even working a desk job.
11. Add the garlic
Garlic is a food known for its many medicinal properties. Not only that, garlic has active compounds that can reduce blood pressure, boost your immune system, and improve bone health.
Garlic also support the blood-sugar metabolism and incorporating the food into your diet makes food taste better, it's low calorie and provides tons of vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
12. Cut the booze
We already know that alcohol contains unnecessary empty calories, but how does it exactly hurt your metabolism?
Making a habit out of drinking can slow down your metabolism by simply taking priority over the food you've eaten.
This slows down the process of breaking down the food, and not only that, drinking often leads to cravings and drinking more, which means you'll be consuming even more unnecessary calories that are more than likely sugary, fattening, and high caloric. If you're going out for a drink, opt for a glass of red wine and keep it at a maximum of 2 glasses.
Related: If you want to have fun without drinking, I recommend using Groupon to sign up for fun physical activities for super cheap. You can try out gyms, yoga, rock climbing, CrossFit, and many other workouts for a great price.
13. Eat lentils
Lentils and beans are not only filled with numerous vitamins and minerals, but they also have fat-burning properties. Lentils transport oxygen all throughout your body, which increases energy burning but at a slow and steady rate. In return, this creates a faster metabolism.
Lentils are low in calories, but pack a ton of fiber and protein, making it the perfect addition to any meal.
14. Kick up the protein
Protein increases your metabolic rate almost double or triple than carbohydrates or fat.
Protein keeps you full and satiated, which will keep you from overeating and stay fuller for longer periods of time. Eating enough protein also helps prevent the loss of muscle tissue, and as we have come to find out earlier, more muscle means a higher metabolic rate, so we don't want to lose muscle mass.
15. Get enough sleep
Getting less than 7 hours of sleep can triple your likeliness of gaining weight each year. When you've gotten enough sleep and feel refreshed, your energy and activity levels are higher.
Although some of these may seem like common sense, most people don't drink enough water or get enough sleep.
I use my Fitbit app to track how much water I'm drinking, and my watch even keeps track of how long I sleep for. If you don't have a Fitbit, there are free water tracking apps, such as Waterlogged, or Sleepbot to track your sleeping patterns.
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What have you done to increase your metabolism?