Your metabolism or metabolic rate is the amount of energy you need in a day and is measured in calories. If you eat less than your daily requirements, you will use fat to make up the energy shortfall and if you eat more than your metabolic requirements, you will gain fat. In this article you’ll learn TWELVE handy tips and tricks that will rev up your metabolism for easier weight control and fat faster burning.
1. Pump up the EPOC
EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and is the term used to describe how your metabolic rate is elevated after intense bouts of exercise. Intense, anaerobic exercise produces a lot of lactic acid – the stuff that makes your muscles burn. Breaking down and clearing out lactic acid requires a lot of energy and so you burn a lot of calories after workouts such as interval training, strength training and sprinting.
The metabolism-boosting phenomenon of EPOC can last several hours after a hard training session and is an excellent way to get more from a fat-burning workout. It’s worth noting that EPOC is nowhere near as high after easier, slower aerobic workouts. Make lactic acid your friend and your metabolic rate will soar.
2. Build some muscle
Muscle is metabolically active. That is to say, it requires calories to sustain it. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate will be. It is estimated that a single kilogram of muscle requires an additional 88 calories to sustain it so add five pounds of muscle to your frame and you’ll burn an additional 200-odd calories a day without even trying. Remember also that building muscle in an anaerobic process which means lactic acid is produced while you work out and that produces EPOC. Bottom line; when it comes to losing fat, don’t be overly reliant on aerobic-type cardio – sprinting and weight training are very useful too.
3. Eat protein
Eating, digesting and utilizing food uses energy. This is called the thermal effect of food – TEF for short. The TEF for carbs and fat is quite low but the TEF for protein is between 20 to 30-percent. That means that, for every 100 grams of protein, between 20 and 30-percent of the calories are “lost” during the digestive process. By eating protein at every meal, you ensure your metabolic rate gets several bumps throughout the day and that can help with weight loss.
In addition, protein is also essential for controlling your hunger, maintaining stable blood glucose levels and the amino acids contained in protein are necessary for muscle growth and repair. All in all, you’d be well served to de-emphasize carbohydrates and consume more protein per day.
4. Caffeine for fat loss
Whether you ingest caffeine in supplement form or get it from tea or coffee, there is no denying it can perk you up and stimulate your metabolic rate. If you have ever had a couple of cups too many of coffee, you know firsthand how your heart races and your muscles twitch. At lower levels, caffeine has a nice metabolism boosting affect which can help you burn more energy during the day.
Caffeine is also a lipotropic agent which means it increases the mobility and availability of fat cells so they are easier to use for energy. On the downside, caffeine can make some people jittery and nervous and can interfere with normal sleeping patterns so use caffeine sensibly and avoid consumption too close to bed time.
5. Drink ice water
Your body needs water – lots of water. However, to absorb it, the water needs to be body temperature. If you consume ice water, your body has to expend energy warming the water up and that process requires energy. Okay – so it’s not a lot of energy but any additional calories expended during the process of warming water up for easy digestion means you’ll get a small but effortless metabolic bump.
6. Move, move, MOVE!
Even if you are an avid exerciser, you are probably sedentary for something like 22-hours a day. That’s a whole lot of time spent doing very little. The less active you are, the slower your metabolic rate will be. Give your metabolism regular boosts by getting up off your butt and moving around whenever you can. Walk instead of ride, take the stairs and not the elevator or escalator, stand instead of sit, do a quick set of jumping jacks every couple of hours…just try and move more. An hour of extra non-exercise activity a day can increase your metabolic rate by 300-400 calories a day. Over two weeks, that’s the equivalent of around a pound of fat.
7. Spice it up
Do you find that, after a hot and spicy meal, you feel warm and maybe even break out into a bit of a sweat? Spices like ginger, chili and pepper can give your metabolism a small but meaningful boost without adding any extra calories to your meals. If you spice up a protein-based meal and then cool it down with iced water and have a black tea or coffee for dessert, you have a great metabolism boosting combination.
8. Consume adequate amounts of omega three fats
Omega three fats – found in fish and seeds – help regulate inflammation and when your body is inflamed, your metabolic rate can slow to a crawl. Consume three to five grams of fish oils or similar per day to keep inflammation down and allow your body to naturally elevate your metabolic rate.
9. Eat your breakfast
When you wake up, your blood glucose and metabolism are low and your body is primed for energy conservation and fat storage. Wake your metabolism up with a balanced breakfast of slow-releasing carbs like oatmeal and protein to ensure you are fueled up and ready to face your day and your metabolic furnaces are turned up to maximum.
Eating a good breakfast not only boosts your metabolism, it will also prevent you from hitting the donuts when the mid-morning munchies kick in. If you have a good protein and carb breakfast, you may even feel full up right up to lunchtime.
10. Avoid trans fats
Trans fats are unhealthy fats that bind to your liver and diminish your ability to use normal fat for fuel. This, in essence, causes your metabolism to slow down. Trans fats are usually found in foods like processed baked goods, pasteurized dairy, potato chips and cooked nuts and seeds. If you are serious about your health as well as your metabolism, keep trans fat consumption to an absolute minimum.
11. Cut down on stress
Stress results in an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol interferes with fat burning by slowing down your metabolism. In addition, stress can also make you eat more – lots of people turn to food for stress relief. Cutting down on stress will keep cortisol levels on the down low and allow your metabolism to naturally increase. Being less stressed should also prevent you diving into the cookie jar to cheer yourself up when things aren’t going the way you want.
12. Eat more fiber
Fiber is the indigestible part of plants. It’s good for your digestive system and is also 100-percent calorie free! However, chewing, transporting and eliminating fiber uses energy so consider eating fiber as a mini-digestive workout that increases your metabolic rate.
Exercise and diet are equally important for health and fat loss but by tweaking your metabolism and turning up your fat-burning thermostat, you’ll see better results for your hard work and perseverance.