Metabolism – the elusive feature that controls how the body uses energy and burns calories. There are a lot of articles across the web promising quick and easy ways to improve your metabolism and burn calories faster. It would be wonderful if all those were true. Unfortunately, as many of you already know, metabolism can be a tricky thing to maintain, much less improve. We did the deep research and found three proven ways to boost your metabolism and burn calories more efficiently.
Introduce intervals and weight lifting into your exercise regimen.
Intervals, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, involve using quick and intense workout activities. No matter what exercise you do regularly, like walking, running, or climbing stairs, you can increase the speed and intensity at which you do those activities and your body will burn more fat than usual. Bonus, this fat-burning benefit lasts even after you have stopped working out. In fact, 15 minutes of high intensity interval training done properly burns more calories than jogging for one hour on the treadmill.
Strength training involves using weights or using your body’s own weight to build strength and muscle mass. Building muscle mass improves your resting metabolic rate (RMR) so that your body will burn calories more efficiently, even when you are at rest. Professionals recommend that you start small when introducing weights into your exercise routine and scale your way up as you build muscles. Do note that you should avoid adding weights whiles doing cardio as this may cause undue stress on your joints.
Add protein, healthy fats, and a little spice into your diet (and maybe a healthy amount of caffeine too).
Every meal that you consume gives you a temporary metabolism boost via the thermic effect of food (TEF.) TEF refers to the process of burning calories through the process of consuming, digesting, and utilizing the food you eat. Different foods raise TEF values at different rates. Proteins produce the highest increase in the TEF effect, increasing your metabolic rate by an average of 15-30%. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce insulin levels which discourage your body from storing fat. Certain fishes like salmon and tuna, eggs, and walnuts are great sources of both protein and omega 3s. Here at Fit Farm, we take full advantage of our kitchen labs and precise nutritional plan when we optimize your TEF values in our 21/21 approach to food (21 grams of protein and 21 grams of carbohydrates combined in an optimal, fat-burning, energy-yielding natural meal). And there are plenty of other ways to take this concept forward, even after you leave camp.
Peppers, for example, contain an element called capsaicin which, at the right quantities, can help your body burn up to 10 additional calories per meal. Alone, this may not amount to much but combined with other metabolism-boosting hacks it can be effective.
And the news you’ll be most happy to hear – caffeine can improve metabolism. In studies, green and oolong teas have increased metabolism in participants by as much as 4-5%. Coffee also had a similar impact. Studies did find that the metabolic boost was higher in people who were already leaner. Regardless, healthy amounts of tea and coffee are proven to aide your body in turning stored fat into free fatty acid which makes fat easier to burn.
Get plenty of good, clean sleep.
Sleep and metabolism are interconnected. Just a few nights of awful sleep can throw your metabolism out of whack. Continue that trend and you will have to work even harder to get things back in order. On a basic level, sleep serves to restore your body both mentally and physically. The average sleep cycle lasts between 90-120 minutes and it is recommended that every adult complete four to five cycles every night. While you sleep, your brain is restoring energy to itself (think of this as a mental reboot) and cementing new memories (like that new exercise routine you learned today.) Your heartrate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure plummets, and your body pumps growth hormones into the bloodstream to take care of torn muscles, sores and cuts on the skin, etc. Lack of good sleep impacts all those process and more. People who sleep poorly are more likely to reach for high-calorie comfort foods. The reason for this is that the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin get out of balance when you don’t sleep well. Study after study has shown that, despite countless variations in study design/control group and/or scope of data, virtually all clinical studies have found a decrease in the satiety hormone leptin (helps you feel full) and an increase in appetite-stimulating ghrelin (makes you more hungry) with inadequate sleep. And, of course, if you’re already tired and you had an afternoon donut or two at the office, you’re more than likely not hitting the gym today. As if all the reasons weren’t incentive enough to get proper rest, sleep deprivation also increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
As you can see, processes in your whole body require balance and care to maintain and improve your metabolism. From how you exercise to what you eat to how you rest, every factor can have a direct impact on your body’s ability to burn calories effectively.
What are some other metabolism-boosting tips and tricks you have picked up along the way? Let us know in the comments or reach out to have a personal consultation with a trained Fit Farm professional!