Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns energy. The more energy you can burn, the leaner you will generally be. Resting metabolism refers to the rate that your body burns energy while you do nothing. There are a few ways that you can enhance this rate of burn and some might be less obvious than others.
1. Exercise - releases a variety of hormones that benefit your body in more ways that you can imagine. By strength training just a couple of times a week, you’ll reverse 50% of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow-down that comes with age. Adding a few sessions of cardio to ramp up your heart rate will guarantee an elevated metabolism during your day too. Add a few cardio sessions first in the morning to really get your metabolic furnace going. Intervals have been shown to elevate your metabolism higher and for longer than steady state cardio. Heavy weight training also jacks your metabolism up for longer than training with lighter weights.
2. Build Muscle - A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat however, what each does to your body is completely different. By exercising and building a leaner and stronger physique you can change your body composition into more muscle and less bodyfat. Muscle is more metabolic – a pound burns 5-6 calories per day at rest – and demands more calories to be burned up in your body than fat. The more muscle you carry the more calories your burn daily. Make sure that progressive, specific weight training is a part of your overall fitness plan.
3. Start in the Morning - Exercising in the morning can lead to greater caloric expenditure throughout your day. An elevated metabolism throughout the day only means that you'll burn more calories and lose more weight. Eating breakfast in the morning gets your metabolism going. Don't skip breakfast and wait until mid-morning or afternoon to eat – this can slow you down and compromise muscle tissue. Eating breakfast will also help stop those cravings you may have later on in the day as well.
Your metabolism is the amazing thing that works hard to burn fat while you are relaxing, and it can be boosted by exercising regularly, drinking water and green tea, and even sleeping. Your metabolism will also increase as you build more muscle. There are many things we all do that can actually slow your metabolism and ruin your hard work:
1. Eating at irregular times
It’s difficult to always eat at the exact same time every day, but by eating your meals at roughly the same time every day, your body learns when to burn calories as it knows when to expect food. If you have a completely irregular eating pattern then your body is unsure when it can burn food for energy, and when it should store it, as it never knows when the next meal is coming.
2. Not getting enough sleep
Just as sleeping helps to boost your metabolism, sleep deprivation can lower it. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine found that chronic partial sleep loss could actually increase the risk of obesity, because sleep deprivation reduces the amount of energy your body burns while resting.
3. Sitting for long periods
We all know that it’s important to stay active, but sitting for long periods can actually slow your metabolism! There have been various journals published on this topic, and it has even been found that sitting for a long period can make it harder for your metabolism to return to its full working order once you begin to be active again.
If your job involves sitting for long periods then try to get up and move about regularly; even if it’s just to get a glass of water.
4. Not drinking enough water
I’ve written a few posts on this lately, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your body hydrated. Your body relies on water (among other things) for its cellular functions to work properly, and being dehydrated has a direct effect on your metabolism.
70% of your muscle consists of water, so if your body is not fully hydrated, your muscles will struggle to work to their full potential. Dehydration also affects your body’s ability to utilise fat as fuel. Both of these combined means that your metabolism will slow down.
5. Skipping breakfast
Many people believe that opting to skip breakfast will aid their weight loss, but it actually does the complete opposite. When your body has been without food throughout the night, it needs fuel to keep it going, and by skipping breakfast, you are effectively telling your body to conserve energy, meaning that it will burn calories at a slower rate; slowing your metabolism.
A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who skip a morning meal were 4.5 times more likely to be obese.