Whether you’re looking to jump start your overall weight loss, lose a few extra pounds, gain energy or even maintain your weight, I think we’ve all asked the question; what can I do to increase my metabolism? While doing things such as drinking green tea and eating spicy foods can help boost your metabolism, they are more of a quick fix. What we really want to know is, how can I increase my metabolism for the long run?
Two of the most important aspects of how to go about increasing your metabolism and keeping it up: Exercise and not only what you eat but when and how you eat. You can still eat ten chili peppers a day but this isn’t going to do enough to keep your metabolism running high in the long run or make you drop ten pounds, and quite frankly you may wind up with a bad bout of acid reflux. So let’s not think about the temporary boosts but the long term lifestyle changes that will help you rev up your metabolism so you gain more energy, lose or maintain weight and feel amazing.
What, when and how should I eat? The vast majority of us are unable to eat whatever we want when we want and have a high enough metabolism to keep us at a healthy weight and maintain our energy. And being able to do so isn’t the healthiest lifestyle anyways. So here’s what you can do if you fall into the above majority.
The what: If you feed your body right it will treat you right. Constantly eating overly processed or sugary foods is really not doing you or your body any favors. Of course your best bet is to eat whole healthy foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats and drink lots of water. And yes, from time to time you might want to reach for one of those thin mint cookies or eat a piece of pizza – we all have our guilty pleasures and it’s cruel to deprive yourself all the time – so foods like this are okay but keep them limited and eat smaller portions.
The when: It can’t be stressed enough to make sure you eat breakfast. Not only will breakfast get your metabolism going first thing but it will also give you the energy you need to help sustain your body throughout the day and help you to avoid overeating later on. Starving your body of food in the morning isn’t helping to kick that metabolism into gear. Unfortunately many of us out there are not breakfast eaters or some find they just don’t have the time so here’s an easy and delicious solution. Try a breakfast shake or smoothie. A great shake to try is Beachbody’s Shakeology. This shake is jam-packed with 23 vitamins and minerals and provides a delicious, quick, healthy and energizing breakfast to get that metabolism revved up for your day. Plus, how can you go wrong with flavors like chocolate, greenberry and strawberry?
The how: Take that three meals a day mentality and throw it out the window. It was established hundreds of years ago and really carries no purpose these days. You should aim to eat 5-6 smaller portioned meals throughout your day. This will keep your metabolism constantly going and burning more calories. The effect? Better weight loss, long lasting energy and again, you will avoid tendencies to overeat.
Here is a simple plan you can follow, it is easy to make substitutions as you see fit.
What about exercise? The key components of exercise are building muscle and aerobic exercise. In order to gain maximum metabolism boosting affects you need both. And ladies, don’t be turned off from the muscle aspect. There are ways to build long lean muscle so that you’ll look toned – not like a female version of Sylvester Stallone in Rocky.
Building Muscle: This is important because you will increase both your average daily metabolic rate AND your resting metabolic rate. Muscle burns anywhere from an additional 6-50 calories a day per pound (depending on your source) whereas a pound of fat burns 2-3 calories per pound a day. With muscle building exercises you’ll not only speed up your metabolism during your training, but also continue to burn more calories after your workout and even when you’re doing nothing but sitting on the couch. If you’re hesitant to try using weights or fearful of getting too bulky consider joining a pump class at the gym or using Les Mill’s Pump at home workout series by Beachbody. This is a fun and effective workout that uses what is called the RepEffect™. This method of training uses lighter weights and more reps so that you avoid getting bulky but instead build long lean muscle.
Aerobic exercise: A great cardio workout routine is also needed for revving up your metabolism both during and after your workouts, and if you haven’t already: consider interval training. These short bursts of intense exercise are proven to give your metabolism a kick in the butt and really increase your calorie burn both during and post workout. If you’re a walker add some quick bursts of jogging during your walk. If you’re a jogger add some quick bursts of running or sprinting into your jog. Some other great cardio programs to try that focus on using interval training are the Beachbody programs Insanity® and TurboFire®. These two programs focus on intense interval training and high intensity interval training that will send your metabolism into overdrive and you’ll be blasting away calories and fat in no time.
So get your metabolism going, burn off those calories and pounds, gain energy and feel great by incorporating these simple and effective changes into your diet and lifestyle today.