Boosting up your metabolism is very important for your overall health, but how does one do that? What is metabolism and what are the most efficient ways to increase it? These ten easy-to-follow tips will help you do so.
What Is Metabolism?
Let’s first define what metabolism means. The word metabolism refers to the number of calories you burn in a day, or in other words the amount of energy your body uses daily. A starting point in measuring your metabolism is calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Essentially, it measures how many calories you burn at rest or if you're lying in bed the whole day.
Even when you’re not moving around, your body still uses energy and burns calories. It does so by keeping your heart beating, breathing, sustaining your muscles, as well as regulating your body temperature, and other functions.
Then, all you need to do is add the number of calories you burn while doing your daily activities to your BMR, and add your burn in the gym, and there you have it; your metabolism.
Do HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
Regular cardio can be helpful in raising your metabolism, but once you’re finished with cardio, your metabolism quickly returns to its regular rate. On the other hand, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can raise your metabolism for hours afterward.
This type of training consists of highly intense bursts of exercise for about 30 seconds to one minute, followed by slow recovery for one or two minutes. During those highly intense bursts of exercise, at least 85% of your maximum heart rate is used. High-Intensity Interval Training spikes your metabolism after you finish with your exercises. It raises your metabolism while you're resting because it needs extra time to recover due to your body being extremely strained.
One example of a very useful HIIT exercise on a treadmill would be running on 9.0 for about 30 seconds and then walking on 3.0 for a minute. You can repeat this exercise ten times and you'll have 28 minutes of exercise in total if you include a five-minute warm-up and a five minute cool down. Try to slowly work your way up to one minute of intense running and one minute of walking.
Lifting weights can help raise your metabolism just as much as HIIT does. It has been proven that your metabolism stays elevated for about 39 hours after an intense workout of lifting weights. Lifting weights strains your body to such an extent that your body needs extra time to recover.
If you’re someone who is already lifting weights regularly, then you’re probably already familiar with all of its benefits. Just remember to always stay focused and intense during these exercises to reap the maximum benefits of weight lifting.
There are many great benefits of protein for your body, but did you know that it is also great for your metabolism? It has a greater thermogenic effect than many other macronutrients. The thermogenic effect of food or simply TEF refers to a measure of energy that your body needs in order to digest food.
It's much harder for your body to digest protein and that is why it takes more energy to do so than it does with carbs. The TEF of protein is 25% and that means that 25% of the calories of each gram of protein are burned through digestion. On the other hand, the TEF of carbohydrates is about 5%, and for fats, it is 2%. In order to boost your metabolism, consider including lean protein every meal, all five or six of them throughout the day.
Eat 5-6 small meals a day
Exercises are great for metabolism overall, but nothing raises your metabolism like the act of eating itself. However, that doesn’t mean that you should go super-sizing immediately. The process of food digesting takes energy, and each macronutrient requires a different amount of energy. That is why eating several meals throughout the day instead of eating three squares, can raise your metabolism five or even six times a day, as opposed to only three.
This technique is very efficient and it works on another level. When your body is not getting food, your metabolism slows down. This is due to the fact that our bodies are programmed to protect us against starvation at all times. That is why when your body feels like another meal may not be coming soon, it holds onto your body fat and uses it as energy.
So, if you only eat three times a day, your metabolism significantly slows down between each meal. However, if you switch to eating consistently every three to four hours, your metabolism will stay elevated because it will sense that the next meal is coming soon.
An additional benefit of eating five or six small meals a day is that you don’t get hungry. By never really getting hungry, you are less likely going to overeat or grab something quick and unhealthy to eat just because it’s there.
Eat real food
You also need to eat real food if you want to help your metabolism. By “real food” we mean to say food that is the closest to its natural forms such as organic veggies, superfood moringa leaves, organic fruits, whole grains, and organic free-range lean meats and eggs.
The digestion process is a complex process. It starts your mouth with an enzyme called salivary amylase that is contained in your saliva. After that, your digestive system continues to break down food and it either uses it as energy or stores it as energy in order to use it later. A digestive process is pretty much a well-oiled machine whose parts all work in perfect harmony. Since processed foods are pre-digested, they create havoc in your digestive system.
One example that can clearly show the difference between the two is instant versus regular oatmeal. In order to turn traditional oatmeal into instant ones, a process is used which strips a layer of fibre off of the oats. That is a layer that your body would strip off on its own during digestion. While stripping this layer off does help the cooking process by making it faster, it also does some digesting for you, and that can be a problem since digesting burns calories and that is what increases your metabolism.
Instant oatmeal might not be the worst thing in the world, but imagine what kind of processing is involved in turning fruit into fruit snacks, sugar cane, and whole oats into cookies, and potatoes into chips. All of these snacks contain large amounts of pre-digested ingredients that are robbing your system of the chance to digest properly. That is also taking away a lot from your metabolism boost.
It is quite normal to eat processed food every once in a while since our busy lives don't always afford us the opportunity to consume fresh foods. However, you need to limit those processed foods to those that will benefit your training like protein powder or protein bars.
Don’t skimp on sleep
It’s also important for you to get enough sleep. It does even more for your metabolism than being alert and energized throughout the day. Sleeping mainly keeps your metabolism in a healthy state. If you disrupt your circadian rhythms, either with a lack of sleep or jet lag, your body will experience a disruption in your metabolic process as well.
Building muscle can also be beneficial for your metabolism. Keep in mind that muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. One of the most prominent distinctions between the two is the fact that muscles are more metabolically active than fat.
It has been estimated that each extra pound of muscle can burn up to 30 to 50 extra calories per day, while a pound of muscle burns 6 calories at rest. On the other hand, about 2 calories are burned by a pound of fat. That is why using a high-quality mass gainer can help you burn more calories which is very beneficial for your metabolism.
Drinking water has many great benefits too. Not only does it help your body flush fat from your system, but it also helps your body in the messaging system to fire correctly. Also, drinking water will raise your metabolism.
Dehydration can cause cravings in your body. It tricks your mind into thinking that you’re hungry when in fact, you’re just thirsty. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated will keep your body in balance. It will help you become more in tune with your internal senses of need.
This means you'll be having fewer cravings and a clearer understanding of true hunger, all of which will help you lose weight in a healthy way.
But how does all of this raise your metabolism? Well, one study tested drinking water and energy expenditures to determine its benefits for metabolism. They used healthy subjects who weren't overweight. They came to the conclusion that drinking about "17 ounces of water will increase your metabolic rates or in other words the rate at which calories are burned by 30%. This significant increase occurred within 10 minutes of water consumption. It also reached its maximum after 30 or 40 minutes.
Drinking an extra 1.5 litres a day will burn about 17,400 calories over one year, which is about 5 pounds. Though five pounds might seem like nothing, this adds up to 25 pounds in five years and 50 pounds in 10 years, and that’s just from drinking water.
Drink green tea
Another thing that can help boost your metabolism is green tea. Drinking green tea has many benefits one of which has to do with the green tea extract. It increases metabolism by 4% in 24 hours.
Drinking about three to five cups of green tea per day can even help you burn an extra 70 calories, and that adds up to seven pounds per year, 35 pounds for five years, and up to 70 pounds for 10 years. Green tea is also great for fat absorption. That is a movement of glucose into fat cells. It will prevent insulin spikes which prevent fat storage and reduce appetite.
If you think that five cups a day is a lot, you can replace your diet soda with green tea soda. All you need to do is spoon some instant green tea into sparkling water, and there you have it. It will help you get through your 3 pm slump when you feel like reaching for a soda or something sugary.
Stress can be a cause of many health issues. It is bad for your metabolism as well. For cavemen, stress was a good thing, because it would trigger their survival instincts and mechanisms that would slow their metabolisms in order to save their precious body fat for energy.
Even though our bodies are similar to theirs, stress comes to us a lot easier these days. Whether it is because of crashing computers, lost cell phones, or busy work schedules, we always stress out about something. During these stressful times, your metabolism drops. That is why you need to find an efficient way to destress.
For example, doing yoga on a daily basis can be quite helpful. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can also be great stress relievers. Getting enough sleep, as it was already mentioned, can help you destress as well. Just try not to let little things get to you. Whenever you feel stressed out about something, just ask yourself if this problem will be important to you in five years. If not, try to relax and not think about it.
In conclusion, there are many ways you can increase your metabolism boost. Exercise such as HIIT and weight lifting can help a lot, but foods and drinks you consume also play a huge role. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to improve your overall health as well as your metabolism.