Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy, so the faster your metabolism is the more calories you burn. In addition, the higher your metabolic rate is the more energy you’ll have and the better you’ll feel. Whether your metabolism is high or low depends on many factors. Such as age, sex, activity levels, body fat, muscle mass and genetics. You can’t pause time, change your sex or have a control over your genetics, however, you can do plenty to increase your metabolism naturally.
Here are 8 ways to do so and take control over the things you can change:
8 Ways To Increase Metabolism Naturally
#1 Eat Enough Calories.
Yes, you’re reading it correctly, in order to boost your metabolism you need to eat enough calories. A great way to know you’re eating enough is never skipping breakfast. Make sure your breakfast is hearty, full of protein and complex carbs. This will help control your appetite throughout the day, boost your energy and increase your metabolism.
Every time you eat your body burns calories (by chewing, digesting and storing food) which in turn increases metabolism. To reap the maximum benefits, eat every 3-4 hours, eat healthy and nutritiously!
You can calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and from there see how many calories you need to eat to maintain, lose or gain weight.
#2 HIIT & Weightlifting.
As some of you may know HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This type of training includes short, intense periods of physical activity paired with even shorter intervals of rest. For example, a HIIT workout can consists of exercises performed for 20 seconds paired with rest intervals of 10 seconds.
This intense training can cause a sort of metabolic disturbance, meaning your body will be burning calories at a higher rate up to 48-72 hours later. However, since HIIT is so intense and can put a lot of stress on your body, it is not recommended you do it more than 2-3 times per week.
Other than helping you increase metabolism, HIIT workouts can improve your cardiac function, reduce insulin resistance and build your workout endurance.
Strength training can help you increase metabolism as well. Strength training or resistance training works and strengthens your muscles by using resistance (free weights, machines, body weight). So how exactly can this type of training help you? Well, muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat so the more muscles you have the higher your metabolism will be.
#3 Water, Water, Water.
Feels like whenever I write about physical improvements water manages to have a paragraph of its own. It’s always for a good reason because drinking water has so many benefits. One of which is boosting metabolism.
It’s a no brainer that switching from sodas and sugary drinks to drinking water will change your life. You’ll be healthier, you’ll feel more energised and it will be so much easier to lose weight (if that’s your goal).
Researches in Germany found out that drinking 48 oz (1,4 L) of cold water daily can increase your resting metabolism by 50 calories. This increase comes from your body using energy to heat up the water to body temperature. Even though it may not seem like a lot, it can lead to a lot. How? Well, if you start making a habit out of drinking more water you’re more likely to start making other healthy choices as well.
If you’re currently drinking a lot of sodas and barely any water it’s time to make a change. First step is to gradually decrease soda intake and introduce more water. Try and drink one more glass of water today than you normally would. Then each day drink one glass more that the day before. The goal is to get to the point where you’d drink half of your weight in ounces.
Let’s say you weigh 128 lbs (around 58 kg). Half of that is 64 lbs, meaning you need to drink 64 oz (1,9 L) of water each day. However, if you workout you need to drink a little more to replenish the water you lost through sweat. This won’t be hard as you’ll crave water after exercise anyways!
#4 Plenty Of Protein.
Like I mentioned with the first tip – your body uses energy to chew, digest and store food. This process is also known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and protein causes the biggest rise in TEF. Increasing your metabolic rate by 20-30%.
Eating enough protein at every meal can make you feel full for longer (with less food), therefore prevent you from overeating. Furthermore, eating plenty of protein helps build muscle, increases strength and reduces cravings.
#5 Spice It Up.
Spicy foods such as jalapeno or cayenne peppers contain capsaicin. A substance which gives these peppers medicinal properties and their hot taste. The capsaicin helps increase the amount of heat your body produces through a process called diet-induced thermogenesis. This way your body burns more calories per day which causes a boost in your metabolism.
The capsaicin’s effect on metabolism is small overall, however, this active ingredient helps reduce hunger and makes you feel fuller for longer. In addition, it helps you maintain healthy weight. Since spices are super easy to add to any meal, add a pinch to your favourite lunch meal next time ;)!
#6 Green Tea.
Green tea contains an antioxidant called catechin which can help you burn an extra 70-100 calories per day. In addition, green tea can help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids. This process can help increase fat burning by 10-17%. Green tea is low in calories which makes it a perfect substitute when you’re craving soda! As well as a great go-to drink if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.
We all know that sitting too much is bad for our health and that we should be getting up every 30 minutes to either stretch or move a little. It makes sense because we really do spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or on the sofa scrolling through social media.
Sitting for a long time burns very little calories. Furthermore, it can increase the risk of chronic health problems. Such as diabetes, heart issues and it can have an impact on your mental health as well.
Make a habit of getting up often and move it, move it, move it. (hint: Police Academy reference ;)) Do 5 burpees for every Insta post you like, dance during TV commercials, take the stairs whenever you have the chance, etc. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
#8 Less Stress, More Sleep.
Like always this is so much easier said than done. However, each and every one of us can do something to stress less and get more sleep. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic you begin to stress, swear and get angry. When you’re stuck in traffic there is absolutely nothing you can do except stay aware and concentrated.
This goes for every other situation in your life that you can’t control – simply don’t stress about it when it’s not within your power. A big test is coming up but you didn’t study? Well, in this case you can get stressed a little because you could’ve done something about that situation.
When you are stressed your cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise. Cortisol affects metabolism by the way glucose is formed. It taps into your energy stores to supply your body with the energy needed to react. While this process burns calories and increases your metabolism, cortisol breaks down muscle for energy.
If you remember from the Weighlifting section of this post, the more muscle you have the better your metabolism will be. So this is exactly the opposite, the loss of muscle, due to stress and body’s reaction to it, may cause an overall decrease in your metabolism.
Having a positive attitude, exercising and taking a balanced approach to life’s ups and downs are some of the ways you can alleviate stress.
Sleep deprivation can have negative effects on metabolism as well. Lack of sleep can lower your energy and activity levels, therefore decrease your metabolic rate.
In addition, it can disrupt your appetite-regulating hormones (increase ghrelin – hunger hormone and decrease leptin – fulness hormone) and change the way you process sugar.
Do your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Try these 6 easy sleeping hacks, sleep music or bedtime yoga. Or become a parent, it’s doing wonders for my sleep, in terms of me being so tired I’m in bed and asleep by 10 pm. Let’s not talk about how I still wake up 2-3 times during night to breastfeed haha!
Some of these tips can have a bigger impact on your metabolism and some can have a smaller impact. If you do just one thing you may not notice anything different with your body. On the other hand, if you do all of the above, you’ll notice a difference definitely.
Remember that the key is to stay active and eat healthy, balanced meals. Just by focusing on doing these two things everything else will fall into place. You’ll sleep better, you’ll drink more water, be less stressed and therefore increase your metabolism.
Take care of yourselves guys,