- Diet & Weight Loss
How To Increase Metabolism: Five Easy Ways To Burn Calories All Day
Everybody wants to be in better shape. Being healthy is so important these days, especially with all the unhealthy stuff around us, and when we are in better shape we naturally feel better. Looking better doesn't hurt our mindset either, as we feel more confident in ourselves and the way people perceive us. However, being in good shape is not easy, especially for those of us with full time jobs. Time is hard to come by, and often times we have to settle for convenience in our diets instead of scheduled meals. Whether you want to lose weight and get in shape, or you are in good shape but really want to perfect your body, one of the most important aspects of this is your body's metabolism. The reason we need to know how to increase metabolism, is because it is a primary driver of how our body gains and loses weight and burns fat.
The word metabolism, to avoid too much science, is essentially a collection of processes within your body that are involved in creating and harnessing energy. So all the functions the body performs naturally are a part of the metabolism, and in turn they all burn calories. If your metabolism is fast, you are burning calories at a greater rate. Therefore by understanding how to increase metabolism, you are understanding ways that you can get your body to burn those annoying calories at all times. There are ways to burn fat, even while you're sitting on the couch!
Let's take a look a five small ways to increase metabolism and burn fat without completely changing your lifestyle.
Eat smaller meals of foods that increase metabolism
Diet and food related changes are arguably the most important and effective ways to increase metabolism. There are a plethora of things I could touch on here, so many that perhaps that is better saved for another hub. But some key points that you should take away when trying to burn calories:
- Eat smaller meals, more often - When the body thinks it is going to 'starve' it slows down the metabolism drastically, and therefore by eating every few hours you continually spark the metabolism back into full gear, and therefore continue to burn more calories
- Make you small meals healthy - Don;t fill your snack schedule with sugar and fatty foods - eat foods that are known to boost the metabolism by requiring more resources to break down. Great examples include vegetable fibers, whole grains, and proteins. Vegetables are fantastic because they are so low in calories, that often times they require more to burn that they add to your body. In a way they are actually 'negative calories.'
- Protein rich foods - get your protein in high amounts, as these lean proteins help to build muscle and muscle requires much more energy to maintain. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll be burning.
- DO NOT skip breakfast - When you wake up in the morning, that is generally the time when there has been the longest stretch since your last meal. Remember what we said about the body thinking it is starving. Well if you skip breakfast, your body is going to slow down its metabolism drastically. If you get a good, healthy breakfast though, you will get it revved up for the day to come!
Add some high intensity to your workouts
Now, if you're serious about losing weight and getting in shape then you already have some kind of workout schedule, even if it is not robust. It doesn't necessarily have to be robust if you are taking good care of the other areas such as diet and lifestyle. However, when you are working out, there are ways to maximize the effectiveness and understanding how to increase metabolism through workout style is very important.
- Combine Cardio and Weight training - Cardiovascular training obviously burns calories and is important to most people, but make sure to incorporate plenty of strength, resistance and weight training in your routine. As I already mentioned, muscle is a key ingredient to a speedy metabolism, and it doesn't just appear out of nowhere!
- Mix in high intensity intervals - Working out at one speed without much variation is not an effective way of really maximizing your metabolism and by sprinkling in smaller periods of high intensity activity with your more moderate workouts is a fantastic way to get the body to burn calories for literally hours and hours after your workout is over. Check out 'Fartlek' training as a great example of interval training. Mixing in under a minute of sprinting for every 2-3 minutes of moderate jogging is a fantastic way to get things really pumping!
Move around more often
Obviously, many of us work in an office, and in an office you do a lot of sitting. Well, this can't be completely avoided, but the longer you remain stationary, the slower your metabolism gets. Here are some small ways to get yourself moving at work, and keep your metabolism from going into a coma!
- Walk to get some coffee - if you're a coffee drinker, get up and walk to the coffee store or office kitchen a few times a day. This will wake your body up. Plus, coffee is known to to increase metabolism itself.
- Sit on an exercise ball - a new trend many people use in an office setting, primarily to improve posture, is to sit on a large exercise ball instead of a chair. While it does help posture, it also forces you to work every so slightly harder to maintain your balance, as you can't slouch or lean. This extra muscle activity will increase metabolism and burn calories all day.
- Use the stairs - When you are coming to and from work, or going to lunch, if applicable you should simply say no to the elevator and get yourself up and down those stairs!
- Walk to lunch, even if you packed - Everyone get's their lunch break right? Even if you packed lunch, take a walk with someone who is picking up some take out. Again, this will wake the body up, along with it's metabolism.
Easy on the alcohol
We all love a good beer, or a nice relaxing glass of wine. Maybe even a well made cocktail. Well, as nice as these are, if you are serious about weight loss you may need to keep them to a minimum. The reason is that the liver is needed to break this stuff down, which uses up valuable bodily resources and energy, that could otherwise be used to break down calories and fat. The effects of this are actual very large, so it is an important point to consider, as after following all the other steps it would be a shame to completely counter the positives by drinking too much. A couple key ideas:
- Keep it to one drink - the effects of two drinks is a lot worse than just the one on the amount of energy the liver requires to break the drinks down
- Settle for once a week - we've all heard of the 'cheat day' in diet plans and maybe the same applies here. If you're going to drink, maybe designate one day of the week, likely a weekend day like Saturday when you are allowed to indulge in some booze. Then be strict about staying off of it for the rest of the week!
Get some sleep
Our last point is very simple, and anyone can at least give this a try. It has been suggested, and in many cases proven that lack of sleep can lead to a messed up metabolism. It can play with your appetite, and make the body act in crazy ways. So try and get that extra hours sleep every night if you can. Not only will this help keep your metabolism boosted, but it is good for other aspects of your life, such as stress levels an general health.
So I hope I've given you some examples of how to increase metabolism during your every day life, as well as your workouts and diet regiments. There is no reason why we all can't at least incorporate some of these things into our lives, and if you do a little research you'll see that there are many other tricks out there!
Please feel free to comment with some suggestions of your own!
Check out my previous health and fitness hub about gaining muscle and burning fat through Max Overload training!