Your metabolism is directly responsible for the amount of fat your body gains after eating food. Although our metabolism slows down as we age, significant scientific evidence shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle can boost your metabolism and burn fat effectively.
The metabolism is a series of processes in your body where your cells produce energy in order to live. The faster your metabolism is, the more energy your body burns. Someone with a slow metabolism will gain more fat from less food compared to a person with a fast, healthy metabolism.
While you may be born with a slow metabolism, you’re not stuck with it for the rest of your life.
The fact is, your lifestyle along with the food you eat will either increase or decrease the speed of your metabolism.
There are a few crucial principles that when implemented, can drastically improve the speed of your metabolism.
Here are eleven effective ways to boost metabolism and burn fat:
#1 Lift Weights
Strength training in particular has the ability to boost metabolism and burn fat at a rate much faster than if you were to never pick up a weight in your life.
Muscle requires more metabolic activity than fat which means it requires more energy from your body – burning more calories even when you’re resting. Lifting weights tears down muscle tissue during periods of rest. This means your body needs to use additional calories and activates your metabolism to do so.
The average person who strength trains even just two to three times a week burns significantly more fat than those who decide to skip lifting weights. Free weights nor weight machines not available? How about trying these kettlebell exercises!
#2 Skip the Low Intensity Cardio
Low intensity steady-state cardio such as jogging, cycling, or any form of aerobic activity for a prolonged period (over 30 minutes) has been shown to slow down your metabolism especially if you pair it with a big caloric restriction.
If your main goal is to increase the speed of your metabolism to burn more fat, we recommend skipping the long sessions on the treadmill and incorporate HIIT training instead.
#3 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
While going for a long jog can be a great stress reliever, it isn’t the best way to start burning fat and achieving the lean physique you’re after.
HIIT combines extreme, until failure movements such as sprints followed by a short rest (usually 30 seconds to a minute rest).
High intensity interval training burns a similar amount of calories compared to low intensity steady-state cardio in half the time. But the benefits extend past saving time. The beauty of HIIT training comes after the workout.
After your HIIT workout, your body continues to burn calories for up to 36 hours after the workout. Implementing a consistent HIIT regimen requires your body to consume more oxygen making your mitochondria work harder and burn more energy.
An example of a HIIT workout would be biking, sprinting, or using the rowing machine at a maximum effort for 30 seconds followed by a rest period of around 1 minute. You would then repeat this cycle 10 times. If you aren’t gasping for air after your all-out sprint, you aren’t exerting enough effort for to consider it a HIIT exercise.
#4 Don’t Starve Yourself
While eating less calories may be an effective way to lose weight, a calorie deficit long term will slow down your metabolism.
If you’re underfeeding your body on a normal basis, your metabolism begins to adapt to the lower caloric intake. When this happens, the metabolism works more efficiently to try and preserve the remaining calories. This process will slow down your metabolism.
This is the reason cheat meals exist. In order to effectively speed up your metabolism, having a cheat meal or cheat day every so often will boost your metabolism and burn more fat.
#5 Eat Whole Foods
Eating nutrient dense whole foods will ensure you have all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need to function optimally.
Whole foods will give you the energy you need while at the same time increasing your metabolism. Adopting a whole foods diet such as Paleo helps your body receive all of the nutrients required to achieve a high performing metabolism.
Ditch the processed carbohydrates and incorporate more lean meats, vegetables, and some fruits into your diet to ramp up your body’s fat-burning mechanisms.
#6 Eat Lots of Protein, Especially for Breakfast
One of the worst things you can do for your body and metabolism is fall into the stigma that cereals, bagels and other so-called “breakfast foods” is how you should start your day.
If this sounds like you, swapping out the breakfast bar for an eggs and bacon breakfast will
amplify your metabolic efficiency.
Eating large amounts of carbohydrates without any protein is a surefire way to spike your blood sugar levels only to have it crash one or two hours later. This cycle will wreak havoc on your metabolism and will leave you fatigued and in a constant state of hunger.
Your body digests protein at a slower rate than carbs so it helps you feel full for longer periods of time. There’s also a process coined “thermogenesis” where your body uses a percentage of calories for digestion. And because protein takes longer to digest, it uses more energy to absorb the nutrients which helps boost metabolism and burn fat.
#7 Add Spice to Your Meals
Incorporating spicy foods will naturally kickstart your metabolism into a fat-burning state.
Peppers in particular have an ingredient called capsaicin that has the ability to burn calories. One study concluded that the ingestion of red peppers increased the rate of the subjects energy expenditure and predicted that eating peppers can burn extra calories per meal.
While the effects of adding spices to your meals may not produce a significant boost in metabolism, utilizing spices in conjunction to other metabolism boosting methods can be useful.
#8 Drink Coffee
Compounds such as chlorogenic acid, theobromine, and caffeine are included in coffee and provide very potent effects in speeding up your metabolism.
The most effective compound is caffeine. Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine. When adenosine is blocked, the caffeine begins firing off norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.
Studies have shown that caffeine has the ability to increase your metabolism by up to 11%. This is why if you take a look at fat burners, many of them have caffeine as the number one ingredient, simply because it’s the most effective.
Drinking a cup of coffee before exercising can improve your workout performance while at the same time speeding up your body’s metabolism.
#9 Stay Hydrated
Chronic dehydration has been linked to the suppression of your body’s metabolic rate.
A study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that drinking approximately 17 ounces of water can increase metabolic rate by up to 30% in healthy subjects. This happened just 10 minutes after drinking water.
Water can also make you feel fuller which can help you burn fat at a faster rate.
Be sure to drink more water if you are physically active, sweating, or consume anything that may dehydrate you like soda.
#10 Sleep More
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to effectively manage a fast metabolism. This is because your body repairs itself when you are resting.
Sleep deprivation on the other hand, can increase your body’s ghrelin levels in turn – signaling your brain that you’re hungry.
Lack of sleep has also been connected to increased levels of blood sugar and insulin resistance. This reason alone can be a determining factor for a slow metabolism and difficulty losing weight.
The quality of sleep matters just as much as the quantity. Make it a habit to turn off any screens before bedtime and avoid caffeine later in the day.
#11 Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s have a wide array of health benefits including reduced inflammation, regulated blood sugar levels, and improving your metabolism. They can be found in fish, nuts, eggs, and grass fed meat.
The Standard American diet has very little omega-3’s in it so you may want to consider using supplements. The recommended dosage is 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams daily.
Decide on a Routine You Can Stick to
To boost metabolism and burn fat, it’s crucial you incorporate the strategies above in a way that won’t burn you out.
We’ve explained several ways to boost metabolism and burn fat that mainly focus on optimizing your body’s hormones. Your metabolism is an intricate phenomena that requires you stress less, sleep more, eat healthy foods, and adopt a regular workout schedule.
It’s important to take it one step at a time and not go overboard right out of the gate. We recommend customizing your own routine so that it fits into your schedule and you can stick to it regularly. When it comes to the speed of your metabolism, consistency in a healthy routine is the key to success.
Interested in making a career of Health & Fitness but not sure where to start? Check out the AFPA Career Change Guide for some helpful tips!