Metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns calories during normal daily activity, is one of the keys to developing a sustainable weight loss plan, and can be a key step in the battle to keep weight off. By learning how to boost metabolism, it’s possible to prime your body to shed pounds with less effort. So use these tips to effectively increase your metabolism and propel your way to healthy, long term weight loss.
DO – Get Enough Sleep
The subject of sleep engenders much debate, but sleep experts all agree that from kids to adults, Americans don’t get enough of it. Reasons range from the availability of evening light sources to general over-commitments in life, none of which are going to change. Sleep is a lynch-pin for knowing how to boost metabolism. In one study on chronic sleep deprivation, participants experienced metabolic changes akin to advanced aging, with symptoms such as reduced glucose tolerance, an increase in blood cortisol, and alterations in thyroid hormone levels. Some tips for getting enough sleep include:
- Turning off all electronics 30 minutes before bed
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bed
- Dedicate your bedroom to sleep; no television or games
- Eliminate light sources from the bedroom, especially blue light
DON’T Skip Breakfast
Although it seems counter-intuitive, research has shown time and again that eating breakfast leads to greater success with weight loss. During sleep, the body’s metabolism slows down as your recuperate from the rigors of daily life. Breaking your nightly fast with a healthy breakfast, boosts your metabolism and primes the body for the rigors of the upcoming day. Aim for a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates, both of which take longer to digest than fats and sugars. In the battle to learn how to resist food cravings, this approach smooths out insulin response and provides a steady supply of fuel to start the day.
DO Eat Plenty Of Protein
The subject of high protein diets conjures images of a high fat diet, but the two need not necessarily go hand in hand. Unlike fat, protein has the same calorie content per gram carbohydrates, but the complex chemical structure takes longer to digest, which provides a steady fuel supply throughout the day. Having plenty of protein available for rebuilding muscle after exertion is also key to increasing lean muscle mass; another key in the battle for learning how to boost metabolism. To be successful, aim to meet between 10-35% of your daily calorie needs from high quality, lean protein. If you’re looking for alternatives to chicken and salmon, try arctic char, venison, bluegill, or even lamb. Frequent travelers should develop a list of healthy fast food choices, and plan accordingly when on the road.
DON’T Skip Meals
When you’re striving for weight loss, its easy to fall into the trap of severely restricting calories. Unfortunately, depriving the body of the calories necessary to function puts it into preservation mode, thereby slowing metabolism. Key to the understanding of how to boost metabolism, is providing a steady stream of nutrition to the body. Not an excess of calories, but a steady supply of high quality nutrition. To keep your metabolism operating at peak efficiency, smooths out spikes in insulin, and allay hunger, seek out a calorie counter to estimate your daily caloric requirement allocate those calories over 5-6 small meals each day.
DO Strength Train
Strength training, whether its with body weight alone, or with weights, offers the potential to burn fat and build muscle simultaneously. It seems intuitive that younger adults have a faster metabolism than their older counterparts. Science supports that perception, which is attributed primarily to the loss of lean muscle mass that happens with age. A degenerative condition known as sarcopenia is responsible for a steady loss in muscle mass, at a rate of 0.5-1% per year. The condition starts around age 25, and in the absence of intervention, will affect nearly everyone. By age 50, the process begins accelerating rapidly, eventually leading to muscle wasting. Fortunately, studies have repeatedly shown that strength training can reverse this condition, so the incorporation of a regular strength training regimen into your workout routine is a key factor if you want to boost your metabolism. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, building muscle not only helps increase metabolism, it also reduces the risk of of injuries resulting from muscle loss later in life. To make the most of time at the gym, focus on burning fat and building muscle.
DON’T Go For Marathon Training Sessions
If you want to know how to boost metabolism, make high intensity interval workouts part of your training regimen. Instead of spending 2-3 hours a day at the gym, break your workouts up into shorter sessions of high intensity. Studies show that the body continues to run at an elevated pace for several hours after a workout. By spreading out your workouts over a longer time frame, you’ll allow the your body to consume more calories over the course of the day.
With just a handful of tweaks to your daily routine, its possible to increase your metabolism for weight loss. Couple this with a handful of metabolism boosters, and between the two you’ll speed up your metabolism naturally. The important thing to understanding how to boost metabolism is optimizing the body’s processes for weight loss. Prime the pump properly, and you’ll reach your goals far more quickly.
Reviewed April 2012.
- “Inactivity, Exercise, And Visceral Fat. STRRIDE: a randomized controlled study of exercise intensity and amount” Journal of Applied PhysiologyOctober 2005 vol. 99 no. 4 1613-1618.
- Venables, M.C., C.J. Hulston, H. R. Cox, and A.E. Jeukendrup. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2008; vol 87: pp 778-784.
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