If a fast metabolism is not something you were born with, follow these 10 rules to help speed it up.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is every chemical and physical process occurring inside the body in order to sustain life. It is both the breaking down (catabolic) and the rebuilding (anabolic) processes that take place inside all of us.
The biochemical and physiological activities conducted by the human body on a daily basis all require energy to operate; it is our metabolism that produces this energy.
Three factors contribute to the speed of your metabolism:
• Your Basal metabolic rate - the calories you burn before activity and eating (65% of the total calories burnt daily).
• Your Physical activity level - the calories you burn through movement (25% of the total calories burnt daily).
• The Thermic effect of food - the calories you burn in the process of digesting food (10% of total calories burnt daily).
Calorie reduction is seldom considered to be a positive action when it comes to weight loss. This is due to the substantial stress it puts the body under. For effective and healthy weight loss, we must adopt strategies to ensure we can lose weight whilst eating the same quantity of calories.
Give yourself a morning boost.
Eating more protein is the simplest way of increasing your metabolic rate, so why not give your metabolism a head start by getting a little into the first meal of the day?
Eggs are a wonderful natural source of protein and beneficial saturated fats and salmon is a lovely fish to eat first thing in the morning, offering a variety of benefits to your health including an increase of your metabolic rate. Fish is also a great source of the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA, which have multiple health benefits.
Finally, if you really can't stomach eggs in the morning, how about eating quinoa and millet porridge? Quinoa is high in protein.
Go against the grain.
You can benefit from this strategy immediately without having to make any significant change to your current meal plan. You merely substitute a low protein grain, like rice, for a high protein grain, like quinoa.
Quinoa - Quinoa has long been a vegetarian favorite for very good reason. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, iron, magnesium and manganese. A cup of quinoa has around 9 grams of protein compared to around four grams in rice.
Amaranth - Not as well known or loved as quinoa, but, if you cook a cup of amaranth you get 10 grams of protein. As well as providing an alternative to quinoa, Amaranth is great for making desserts. It offers an excellent addition of protein levels when baking.
Get lean with beans and lentils!
For people looking to lose weight, I often recommend substituting large amounts of starch carbohydrates for foods in the legume family to speed-up fat loss and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Beans also enable the release of the hormone 'leptin', which is responsible for controlling our appetite. The best options for protein are Navy beans, black beans and Pinto beans, but nearly all beans are good.
Lentils act as great substitute for starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes and rice. They are also a source of a variety of vitamins, including: folic acid, and minerals, including iron.
Note: Beware flatulence.
A Nutty solution.
Replace your usual snacks with a handful of nuts and your digestion will work harder throughout the day and therefore use more calories.
Do remember nuts can be high in calories so eating too many and/or the wrong sources can make this strategy backfire. Never eat the salted or roasted varieties. The best sources of nuts are:
Almonds - These contain around six grams of protein per ounce and contain antioxidant vitamin E. Almonds are also believed to have positive benefits for the sex drive!
Hazelnuts - These have four grams of protein per ounce and are also rich in vitamin E.
Walnuts - These contain around seven grams of protein per ounce, making them the best choice for boosting the metabolism. Walnuts are also high in omega 3 and are therefore famous for improving brain function.
Start resistance training to lift your metabolism.
Resistance training will develop your muscle tone, giving your body a more attractive appearance, and because we require more energy to sustain muscle than we do fat, it will raise your basal metabolic rate.
Resistance training is not just training with weights. It can be done with body weight, suspension straps, Pilates reformers or anti-gravity hammocks. Entire books have been written on resistance training, but here is a brief guide to ensure you cover all areas of your body.
Break your body into six movements:
• A Lift - which focuses on the muscles in the lower body (legs, glutes and calves).
• A Horizontal push - which works the anterior upper body muscles (front of shoulders, chest) and triceps.
• A Horizontal pull - which works the posterior upper body muscles (biceps, rhomboids and traps).
• A Vertical push - works the shoulders and triceps.
• A Vertical pull - works the Lat muscles and biceps.
• A Trunk flexion - which works the stomach muscles.
The most effective way of increasing your activity levels, is by doing something that you actually love. For some this may be golf, for others football, tennis or badminton. If you don't have a sport that you enjoy taking part in, try a few out until you find one that is suitable for you.
After taking part in any intense physical activity, you will also experience the 'after burn' effect. This is the consumption of energy by the body after the physical activity has ceased.
Activity breeds activity and you will often feel more energized by taking part; which in turn will lead to increased activity throughout the rest of the day.
Taking part in sport also releases plenty of 'good' endorphins, which can only be considered a great thing!
Walk the extra mile.
This tip is about changing decisions. Every time you have the option to walk - take it!
Numerous studies have been conducted on the benefits of walking, all positive. In one astonishing statistic a daily walk has been shown to reduce the risk of death by up to 50% when compared with those who were sedentary.
Walking is excellent for everyone, regardless of fitness levels or age. It is low impact and results in few injuries. It is also an anabolic or 'energy giving' activity, so your body is not put under high levels of stress, as can be the case with rigorous exercise.
One excellent tip we always give to our clients is to purchase a pedometer and give yourself a daily step target.
A pedometer is an excellent way of motivating you to literally 'walk the extra mile'.
Add a little spice to your life.
By spicing our food, we can replace sauces containing large amounts of sugar carbohydrates, which are anything but metabolism boosters!
I've listed some spicy options below:
Ginger - Great for digestion as well as boosting metabolism.
Cinnamon - Assists in the metabolism of sugar and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Tumeric - Detoxifies the liver and assists in the metabolizing of fats. Tumeric is also known to improve digestion.
Cayenne pepper - Saved the best until last. Known to raise the metabolism for many hours after consumption and significantly improve digestion. It tastes good too!
There are many other spices out there which will help to boost your metabolism so get spicing!
Eat more frequently.
Scientists have discovered why eating little-and-often is so beneficial in the role of helping to maintain a healthy weight; By spreading food intake over several meals, there is a suppression of fatty acid release, enhancing the bodies' capacity to utilize glucose as fuel, rather than storing it as fat.
The other benefit here is that you will feel less of the negative effects of extreme hunger such as headaches and mood swings. Many of us experience these symptoms daily, but do not recognize them as hunger signals.
Note: We must spread our food intake across more meals, not add extra snacks on top of our usual intake!
Drink green tea.
In a 2008 study by the ASCN, they found that average fat oxidation rates were 17% higher after consumption of green tea extract when compared with a placebo.
In fact, many studies have been carried out on the benefits of green tea when it comes to metabolic increase and weight loss with researchers frequently finding that the polyphenol in green tea intensifies the rate at which your body turns food into calories; a clear indication of a harder working system.
If this doesn't convince you to replace your coffee fix with a cup of green tea, then perhaps the following will:
Green tea has been associated with reduced heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and esophageal cancer.
It has also been suggested green tea can reduce the effects of aging because of its anti -inflammatory and antioxidant qualities!
So there you have it, ten strategies to boost your metabolism! Each should be easy to adopt effortlessly into your life and will make your weight loss journey an easier one.
These strategies can put you on the path to long term success and a healthy body.