5 Best Hacks to Speed Up Your Metabolism
Your metabolism can be loosely defined as the sum total of all chemical reactions that occur within the cells of your body. Usually when people talk about metabolism, they’re only concerned with the rate at which we burn energy. Those with a fast metabolism tend to burn energy fairly quickly, while those with a slower metabolism are more energy efficient, and take longer to burn the same amount.
Genetics tend to be one of the biggest contributing factors in any individual’s metabolic rate, but if yours is slow, don’t worry; there is still a lot of room to rev it up. Follow these simple hacks, and you’ll start burning some extra calories in no time.
1. Move More
One of the most simple and effective ways to boost your metabolism is to start moving more. Exercise is the obvious example, but even something as small as fidgeting can help you burn a few hundred extra calories a day. A few hundred calories a day might add up to a pound a week, so the small things do matter. When it comes to more structured exercise, take a look at your current activity level. If you aren’t getting at least 30 minutes of meaningful activity on all or most days of the week, it’s time to add some more exercise to your life. Even something as simple as going for a walk will help you tip the scale in your favor. The harder you work, the more energy you’ll need to burn to sustain the activity, so challenging workouts are definitely ideal. Just be careful not to overdo it on the volume, duration, or frequency of training, because that can lead to it’s own problems.
2. Eat Breakfast Early
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but to those of us who want to speed up our metabolism, a good breakfast is paramount. When you’re in a fasted state, your body will try its best to stay as efficient as possible; ie you won’t burn a lot of calories. This is likely a defense mechanism to prevent us from using all of our energy up and dying in times of famine. Although it’s unlikely that you will have to go weeks without food, when you get up and start doing things without eating first, your metabolism will go into slo-mo. The only defense, is to eat something right away, especially if you plan on exercising. Waking up and eating isn’t always easy, but if you can get at least something into your belly, a banana, an apple, anything; it will kick start your metabolism for the rest of the day.
3. Build Some Lean Mass
When I’m working with a client who wants to burn some extra fat, this is my go to strategy for long term results. Although it takes a little more time than the crash diets they may be used to, adding some extra muscle mass will rev up the metabolism for years to come. Muscle tissue is much more metabolically active than adipose (fatty) tissue, and requires a lot of energy to maintain. The conundrum here is that to build muscle, you usually need to eat more (in addition to doing regular resistance training). Before you begin losing weight, you’ll likely start gaining a bit first. This is where patience and dedication comes in. When you see the numbers on the scale go up, just know that you’re doing the right thing. Before long, you’ll start losing inches, looking great, and feeling better. Remember! In order to build lean mass, you need to train regularly in addition to eating more. Don’t think you can just go buck wild on a box of Oreos and expect to get lean.
4. Train at a High Intensity
One of the most common pitfalls I see in peoples’ training regimens is that they chronically train at a low intensity. People will often spend an hour or longer doing low intensity cardio, and it get’s them nowhere with their fitness goals. While training like this might be great for cardiovascular health, it will keep you running in circles if you’re trying to burn fat. In fact, long bouts of low intensity cardio will make your body much more efficient with it’s energy usage, and can actually slow down your metabolism. Unless you’re training for an endurance event, try capping your aerobic workouts at around 30 minutes. Work close to the highest capacity you can maintain for the duration of your workout. As a test, try holding a conversation with somebody (or talk aloud to yourself) during your next cardio session. If you can get out more than a couple words without having to take a breath, you need to step it up. You can also try pace tempo training or intervals to mix it up. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to help preserve muscle mass, and will give your metabolism a serious boost.
5. Eat Before and After Each Training Session
The philosophy behind this one is very similar to that of eating breakfast. Before you start a workout, you should be fueled up and ready to meet the energy demand of your training session. If you fall into an calorie deficit, your workout will likely suffer as you begin feeling tired and sluggish. Maintaining a state of high energy expenditure while in a caloric deficit will cause your body to start breaking down protein and converting it to glucose. This is bad news for your metabolism. Not only will you lose muscle mass, but you will hold onto fat as well. Remember, you want to eat to perform your best. Before your next training session, eat a balanced meal containing a good ratio of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. After you finish, eat a snack or meal containing protein and carbohydrate to repair the muscle damage and replenish muscle glycogen. Avoid eating too much fat for the first hour after a workout as it will slow protein absorption.
Using these 5 simple hacks, you should be able to increase the amount of energy you use on a daily basis, and start burning some serious fat. Remember; eat well, train hard, and you’ll reach your goal in no time.