How to boost your metabolism varies for everyone. Some lucky folks have speedy metabolisms. Age, gender and genetics all play a role in a rapid metabolism. If you are not one of the lucky ones, there are effective ways to boost your metabolism. A healthy, well-functioning metabolism is the secret to optimal weight loss. It seems the older we become, the slower our metabolism gets (1). This is due to your natural ageing process, hormonal and neurological changes (2). Indulging in sweet treats takes more effort to burn the older we get, unless we practice other effective ways of keeping our metabolism revved up through the day. Let’s take a closer look at how to do that. But first, what does metabolism actually mean?
What Is Metabolism
Metabolism is the word given to the chemical and physical processes that occur inside your body such as: blood circulation, new cell growth, breathing, nutrient breakdown, brain and nerve functioning and converting food and drink into energy. The amount of energy (calories) your body requires to function, while resting, is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). We are not talking about working out or spinning for an hour. We are talking about the amount of energy your body needs to survive. When you lose weight, your basal metabolic rate reduces. When you gain weight from increased muscle mass, your basal metabolic rate increases (3).
Why Muscles Matter
Muscles matter because they increase your basal metabolic rate. As you age, we’re sorry to say, your metabolic rate decreases because your muscle mass declines. Here’s the exciting part: full body strength training for all your major muscles keeps your basal metabolic rate firing. You don’t need to sign up to the gym or buy any fancy gym equipment; simply incorporate full body resistance exercises such as squats, forward and backward lunges and core work. Women seem to have a slower metabolic rate than men (4), but you probably knew that already?!
How To Boost Your Metabolism
There are other effective ways of increasing your metabolism. Not only will these eight tips hasten your weight loss but they also help maintain ideal weight, health and shape.
- Strength Training
- Cardio & HIIT
- Nutritious Diet
- Quality Sleep
- Balanced Hormones
- Keep Moving
Let’s take a closer look at each of these eight effective ways to boost your metabolism.
Weight training, resistance training and strength training are all the same thing. They all build muscle mass. As previously mentioned, muscle mass keeps metabolism firing. In other words, it is right to think, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the easier it is to lose weight and maintain.
Cardio & HIIT
Any cardiovascular exercise increases your metabolic rate. Cardio exercise such as swimming, running, cycling, circuit training and aerobics all do this. Some suggest only thirty minutes of daily fitness is sufficient. See what works best for you. Daily is the most critical factor here. Many recommend working out at least three times a week. However, we feel that daily exercise for as little as thirty minutes is more effective than three workouts a week. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gives your body an ‘after burn’ effect. Which means that after a session of HIIT, your body’s resting metabolic rate increases for up to 24 hours after your HIIT session. That’s pretty amazing! To do HIIT well, you’ve gotta be getting down, dirty and hard with those interval sets!
Digesting protein requires more calories than carbohydrates. Keep your protein clean and lean from sources such as chicken, fish, turkey, beef, lamb, eggs, dairy, nuts and beans. To build and maintain muscle mass, and to repair, you need adequate amounts of protein during the day.
Eating breakfast doesn’t directly boost your metabolism, but what eating a nourishing breakfast will do is increase your energy levels, raise your concentration and prevent unhealthy snacking during the day. This varies by individual, of course, because others feel better when intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss and boosting your metabolism. However, studies suggest that long-term fasting slows down your metabolism, compared to short-term fasting which increases your metabolism. Learn more about fasting inside the 131 Method.
As much as exercise is essential for boosting your metabolism, a nourishing diet is just as important. Eating enough food full of nutrients prevents your body from losing muscle and slowing down your metabolism. Avoid crash diets! Avoid long-term calorie deprivation. Clean eating is vital, as toxins cause inflammation and slow your metabolism. A healthy metabolism requires specific nutrients and nourishing foods to keep it cranking.
Magnesium and Vitamin D
Ensure your diet has enough magnesium and vitamin D (2). Foods containing magnesium include: green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, raw cacao, dark chocolate, chlorella powder, brown rice, oats, salmon, tuna, mackerel. Good sources of vitamin D include wild-caught salmon, sardines, sunlight, cod liver oil, tuna, mackerel and eggs.
Spicing up your meals with turmeric, chilli, capsicum and curry powder fire up your metabolism.
Drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated is essential. Dehydration, even on the mildest scale, will slow your metabolism down. Be aware that alcohol slows down your metabolism.
Drinking caffeine in the form of energy drinks and your daily espresso will help speed up your metabolism. Fresh, organic long black or espresso provides a short-term energy kick. Drinking too much coffee can deplete your adrenals so limit to one or two per day. If you have sleep issues, drink your caffeine before lunchtime. The latest research suggests two or three cups of coffee per day offers many health benefits, primarily due to the massive amount of antioxidants found in coffee. We are thrilled about this research because we love our cup o’ Joe!
Switching your espresso up to a latte, flat white or cappuccino (adding milk) increases the calories. If you have a dairy intolerance, you’re risking slowing down your metabolism even more. Remember, for every shot of caffeine, drink an extra glass of water to avoid dehydration. Also be aware that most energy drinks may affect your blood pressure, anxiety levels and sleep patterns. Choose only clean, good quality energy drinks.
Green tea, especially matcha green tea, offers you a little caffeine hit, as well as a good dose of catechins. Catechins are a flavonoid which boosts your metabolism.
Everyone requires a good night’s sleep, but not many of us associate sleeping as a way to boost metabolism. In our overstimulated lives, sufficient sleep is crucial. A good night’s sleep keeps your energy levels in peak condition. When we lack sleep, metabolism slows down. The body finds this stressful and causes it to release cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone, which increases visceral fat storage. Cortisol also slows metabolism. Visceral fat is potentially dangerous. It is found around your belly and vital organs such as your liver, intestines and pancreas. Visceral fat also has a negative impact on your hormones.
One of the most effective ways of reducing visceral fat is to lower your stress levels. Walking in nature, yoga, meditation, mindfulness or merely taking ‘time out’ for yourself will help reduce your stress levels. Eating foods high in tryptophan helps you sleep better.
Unbalanced hormones, especially unbalanced thyroid hormones, make losing weight an uphill battle. When your thyroid hormones are out of whack, your metabolism stalls. Ask your healthcare professional to test all of your thyroid hormones; it’s essential that these are balanced.
Keep moving throughout the entire day. Stand up at your desk, go off for small walks regularly at the office, walk to catch your train, walk to drop your kids off at school, walk around the rugby field while your kids train. The trick is to love moving your body because your body was designed to move. Wear your FitBit to ensure you are walking your 10,000+ daily steps. Try that for a month and then add some resistance training, cardio and yoga to your fitness routine to get your metabolism firing.