By: Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

ways to boost your metabolism
Credit to @Getty Images

Original Article Source: WellnessVerge

How do you speed up your metabolism, and why does it matter? A faster metabolism may make it easier to lose weight and keep it off. Fortunately, you can learn how to jump start your metabolism to lose weight.

But what is metabolism? It is the speed at which your body burns calories for energy. Some of our metabolism is set by our genes, while the rest can be altered by our habits.

A faster metabolism means that your body burns more calories with everything it does. This includes when it’s doing absolutely nothing. Those with a higher metabolism also tend to have more energy.

One way to measure metabolsim is through your BMR, or basal metabolic rate.

Your BMR is the number of calories your body uses to maintain vital functions. The higher this number is, the more calories you burn on a given day.

Your BMR can be measured by using a simple formula, or your fitness trackers can do this for you based on the data you enter.

How do you increase your BMR and improve your metabolism? Here is how to jump start your metabolism to lose weight.

1. Eat More Protein

Protein is essential for a fast metabolism for several reasons. Your body burns 20-30% more calories when you eat high protein foods than it does eating fat and carbs.

This increased calorie burn helps raise metabolism.

Including more protein in the diet also helps maintain muscle and increase your BMR. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is.

Having more protein with meals also curbs cravings. Do you feel full after meals? Are you always hungry? If so, you may not be getting enough protein.

Put It Into Action

Include lean protein sources such as skinless chicken breast, fish, turkey, tofu, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.

It’s recommended to eat at least 20–30 grams of protein per meal for best results.

Eating a more even amount of protein at each meal and snack versus having too much all at once will enable your body to use it most efficiently.

2. Do More HIIT Exercises

HIIT workouts, or high-intensity interval training workouts, are a type of exercise to increase metabolism.

HIIT workouts involve switching between intervals of close to maximum heart rate and then down to fat-burning mode.

These intervals are effective in burning fat, especially belly fat. They also support a fast metabolism.

The best part is that spending 20 minutes doing a HIIT session can actually burn more calories than a longer cardio session at a steady pace.

This is great news for those pressed for time, as you can get an effective workout done in a shorter period of time.

Put It Into Action

Incorporate at least 20 minutes of HIIT exercises into your weekly workout routine. Do them 2–3 times per week to boost metabolism. This can mean kicking your cardio workouts up a notch or downloading a HIIT-focused workout app for ideas.

3. Eat Spicy Foods

Eating more spicy foods may also speed metabolism.

Some studies have shown that a compound called capsaicin may be responsible. Capsaicin is found in red pepper, and can increase your daily calorie burn.

Based on the amount most people can realistically eat, however, this effect is likely modest at best.

Eating hot pepper alone will likely not boost your metabolism enough to lead to any significant weight loss.

Put It Into Action

If you’re a hot pepper lover, you can continue eating it regularly mixed in with sauces, stir-fries, or as hot sauce added to your eggs.

4. Drink Coffee

Coffee lovers rejoice! Coffee is another natural metabolism booster.

Studies have shown caffeine in coffee can also speed metabolism. It can help you lose and maintain weight by increasing fat burning.

These benefits seem to be most common with up to 4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day. This is the upper limit for caffeine set forth by the FDA.

Put It Into Action

Drink1–4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day. to support a faster metabolism. Opt for caffeinated coffee, and limit added cream and sugar to keep calories in check.

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea has also been shown to raise metabolism. So if you prefer tea over coffee, you’re in luck.

Green tea can increase your body’s fat-burning potential, and can break down stored fat for energy.

It is also rich in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant. EGCG is thought to be responsible for the weight loss effects of green tea.

The caffeine in green tea helps further increase metabolism.

Put It Into Action

To increase metabolism, enjoy 2–3 cups of green tea a day. Limit added cream, sugar, or honey to prevent excess calories.

6. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water has many benefits, and can also kickstart your metabolism.

Water is calorie-free. Drinking it also helps to replace other higher-calorie beverages like juice or soda.

Studies have also shown that drinking water specifically can provide a temporary speed in metabolism for up to an hour.

Water also helps fill you up. Drinking iit before your meals may help you eat less.

Put It Into Action

To raise metabolism, drink at least eight 8-ounce cups of water a day. Drinking cold water may provide an added boost. as it requires your body to work harder.

7. Move Around More

Daily movement also counts when it comes to improving metabolism. Increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can also increase your metabolic rate.

NEAT activities are anything physical that are outside of scheduled exercise, such as stretching, walking, or cleaning. Anything that involves moving counts as NEAT activity, so it’s easier to fit in than you think.

Standing instead of sitting while working, increasing your daily step count, or taking the stairs all count towards your daily calorie burn.

Put It Into Action

Get in more movement throughout the day, such as getting up to do stretches, squats, or jumping jacks to get your heart rate up.

Aim for at least 10,000 steps each day. Increase your daily step or calorie goal every few weeks to continuously challenge yourself.

8. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation is all too common and can negatively affect our metabolism.

Your metabolism can slow down if your sleep habits have changed and you’re lacking sleep.

Poor sleep also affects the levels of several hormones involved in metabolism and appetite, such as cortisol, ghrelin, and leptin. Powerful food cravings can come up when these hormones are out of whack. These cravings can be difficult to ignore.

Improving your sleep quality can help you build metabolism. Sticking to a strict sleep schedule helps you get better sleep.

Put It Into Action

Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep per night whenever possible.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine for yourself. Shut off all electronic devices within 30 minutes of bedtime, journaling, taking a warm bath, or listening to relaxing music.

9. Do More Resistance Training

Cardio is often the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to burning calories. However, resistance training is just as important to get your metabolism going.

Examples of resistance training include bodyweight exercises, weight lifting, and the use of weight machines.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t burn as many calories during a resistance training session as during cardio. But with resistance training your body actually continues burning calories after your resistance training workout. This is called “afterburn.”

In fact, one study showed that metabolism remains up for up to 38 hours after resistance training, which is not seen with cardio.

Resistance training also helps build muscle. More muscle means you burn more calories at rest, which increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Put It Into Action

Add resistance exercises to your weekly workout routine at least 2–3 times per week. Vary the muscle groups you use to prevent overuse. This may mean doing upper body exercises one day and lower body the next.

Slowly increase the number of reps or amount of weight every month as you’re able, to challenge yourself.

This will help keep you challenged and prevent your body from getting too comfortable with what you’re doing. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard when it gets too comfortable, and it doesn’t burn as many calories.

10. Manage Your Stress

Stress can have a big impact on your metabolism. I’ve seen this all too often with my weight-loss clients who are super stressed. They are doing all the right things, but can’t seem to lose weight.

The stress hormone cortisol goes up when you’re under chronic stress.

If your cortisol levels remain high, it can slow your metabolism down and cause your body to go into a “fight-or-flight” response.

Stress can also slow your metabolism by getting in the way of a good night’s sleep.

Put It Into Action

You can control how you manage stress in your life.

Include stress-relieving techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or journaling daily. Just 10 minutes a day is enough to experience the stress-reducing benefits.

There are natural supplements to help reduce stress levels, if needed. Speak to your doctor to see what’s best for you.

11. Eat Enough Calories

Have you ever followed a very-low-calorie diet to lose weight? What were your results like?

Fewer calories are not always better. Eating too little can actually slow down your metabolism, believe it or not.

If you’re being too strict or eating less than 1,200 calories a day, your body thinks you’re starving and will try to conserve energy.

Most active people need at least 1,500 calories a day, if not more. Eating regular meals with enough calories can help support a healthy metabolism.

Put It Into Action

Make sure you are eating enough calories to support a healthy metabolism. Get a good estimate of your daily calorie needs using a calorie calculator or by calculating your BMR.

Eat at least three meals a day and snacks if you’re hungry. Don’t skip meals or ignore your hunger. This will only make your body think you’re starving.

The Bottom Line

By practicing key diet and lifestyleinto your daily life, you can raise your metabolism.

This includes eating regular balanced meals. HIIT exercises and resistance training. Stress and sleep also play a role.

Increasing metabolism takes time. A combination of these habits brings the biggest benefits to metabolism.

Speak to your doctor if you think you have a slow metabolism. They can check for any possible medical causes and help you create healthy habits to support a faster metabolism.

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