A slow metabolism may be the reason your can’t drop those unwanted pounds, let’s face it, it’s a common problem. If you think that is what has been holding you back lately, you’re in luck—you have the power to fire up your metabolism!
The number of calories your body burns each day (a.k.a. your metabolism) is dependent on several factors including your age, gender, muscle-to-fat ratio, food intake, and activity level. While you can’t stop aging, there are a few things you can do each day to kick your metabolism in high gear. Here are 6 gimmick-free metabolism boosters you can add to your routine.
1. Strength Training Your body burns calories even when you’re not active. People with a higher muscle-to-fat ratio burn more calories than those with a lower muscle-to-fat ratio. 1 pound of lean body tissue, including organs and muscles, burns an average of 14 calories a day, while 1 pound of fat only burns 3. Weight bearing exercises—even the body weight kind, like push-ups and squats, help to build muscle and eliminate fat, increasing your metabolism.
2. Get your heart pumping Doing cardio at the gym may not pump up your muscles, but it can rev up your metabolism for a few hours post workout. The trick is to make it a high-intensity workout. Walnut Creek has great places like the Iron Horse Trail for running, walking or cycling or Mt. Diablo for hiking or mountain biking. You could try something more exotic and reap the benefits of Zumba or Belly Dance!
3. Drink plenty of water Being even the slight bit dehydrated can slow down your metabolism because your body needs water to process calories. Set a goal to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily and sip even more if you’re working out or if it’s hot outside. For example: if you weigh 148 pounds you need to consume 74 ounces daily as a base and add another 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise. Snacking on high-water content fruits and veggies will also help you stay hydrated.
4. Snack between meals No, you’re not getting the green light to reach for a bag of Cheetos! Instead, you should be thinking about eating smaller main meals and adding a smart snack in between. This means you will be snacking every 3 to 4 hours. Several studies show enjoying small meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism up so you end up burning more calories over time.
5. Spice up your life Chili peppers like cayenne and jalapeño contain capsaicin, a compound shown in studies to give your metabolism a 15 to 20% boost for up to two hours after eating it. Consider sprinkling savory meals with red pepper flakes from now on.
6. Sip a little Caffeine Caffeine gives you a pick-me-up when you’re feeling tired, it’s been shown to increase your endurance during exercise, and research also links it to a slight spike in your metabolism. The best source? Green tea, which offers the power of caffeine and catechins. These antioxidants found in tea can increase your metabolism for a couple of hours. Studies suggest drinking 2 to 4 cups of green tea daily may encourage your body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise.
Which of these metabolism-boosting ideas are you planning to try? (And which ones are you already doing?) Tell us in the comments!