Are you looking for ways to boost your metabolism and fat loss results? The following are 10 ways to jump-start your fat loss and boost your metabolism so that you can keep your weight loss moving forward.
Cheat Meal Once a Week
Want to enjoy yourself AND boost your metabolism and fat loss results? Setting aside a day to have a cheat meal will help you get there. Not only is a cheat meal psychologically satisfying, but it also causes many changes in the body that are helpful to your metabolism.
Cheat meals (overfeeding in particular) “reset” hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin, and boost your metabolism for the week ahead. Cheat meals replenish glycogen stores so that you’re ready for the week’s workouts, and they keep the starvation mechanisms at bay – in effect resetting (boosting) your metabolism.
Eat More Protein
Protein is one of two essential macronutrients (fat being the other). It is found in all the cells of the human body – especially muscle. While guidelines suggest you intake .8g/kg, this number is for sedentary individuals, and does not take into account energy demands for people that work out. Since exercise breaks down muscle tissue (protein), and you need protein to build new tissue (muscle), you want to make sure you are maintaining a positive nitrogen balance.
I like to aim for .8-1 gram/pound of lean body weight. Your need for protein may be more or less depending on your activity level and the rest of your diet. For example, carbohydrates are protein sparing, so if you are eating a high amount of them, you won’t need as much protein. Protein is also thermogenic – requiring some 25% or more of its calories just to digest.
I have preached this over and over again. Muscle is probably the #1 metabolism influencing factor. No other single thing can burn more calories consistently over a long period of time. Muscle is active tissue. It is constantly consuming calories and fat at all times of the day. Whether you’re working out, reading, or even sleeping, muscle is always consuming extra calories. If you’re looking for a great way to boost your metabolism, building muscle is going to be your best bet.
Increase Thyroid Function
Your thyroid is responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism. Wouldn’t it stand to reason then that increasing your thyroid function would boost your metabolism? How do you do that? You can optimize thyroid function by manipulating your diet and exercise.
Eating the right amount of calories and specific nutrients so that your body can synthesize thyroid hormone is a great first step. Thyroid function can also be influenced by exercise – with the intensity of your workout being directly correlated with thyroid output.
HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT is that type of training everyone loves to hate, but one of the best methods to boost metabolism. It’s hard. It will leave you gasping for air. It might even make you want to throw up. However, nothing can transform your body faster and burn more calories in a short amount of time than high-intensity interval training can.
HIIT is when you work out in short bursts of intervals at high intensities followed by short periods of rest. It’s a great way to both burn fat, build muscle, and burn an insane amount of calories. I listed off more than a dozen different HIIT workouts here.
Create an Afterburn Effect
The after-burn effect, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), occurs when your body tries to replenish the oxygen deficit that was created during your workout. If you work out with enough intensity, it causes your body to have to work to return your body to homeostasis.
Body functions like bringing your heart rate back to normal, re-oxygenating your blood, replenishing muscle glycogen, and cellular repair all require calories to perform. This after-burn effect can last from hours to even days, making it another great way to boost your metabolism.
Drink More Water
Another way to boost your metabolism is to drink more water. I’m not talking about the gimmicky cold water drinking school of thought, where your body expends calories to bring the temperature of the water up to body temp (although I’m sure it couldn’t hurt). No, I’m talking about water and its effect on metabolism in its fullest sense.
Water makes up 70% of your body. It is involved in nearly every single chemical reaction within our cells. It keeps your liver working at 100% efficiency so that it can do its job of metabolizing fat. If your liquid intake isn’t 90% water, work on making it that way.
Eat More Calories
How many calories are you eating? If you aren’t losing any weight, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating too much. Eating too few calories can be just as detrimental towards your fat loss goals as eating too many.
By eating too few calories for an extended period of time, your body adjusts its metabolism for the new amount of energy it is receiving. It starts making changes to your body and hormones like lowering thyroid output. Your goal should always be to eat as many calories as possible and still lose weight.
How many of you work out for an hour a day and then spend the next 23 hours sedentary? It’s more common than you think. While you can certainly get results with a great diet, you could make it much easier on yourself and boost your metabolism by simply moving around more.
Stop looking for shortcuts to always make your life easier. Sometimes taking the more difficult way (stairs, walking, etc) can help you burn hundreds more calories a day. Over a year, 300 calories a day equates to 31 pounds. You could lose an extra 31 pounds (or eat an extra 109,500 calories to maintain your weight) just by being a little more active every day. Try buying a pedometer and count the number of steps you take a day. Set a goal and aim to hit it every day. It does make a difference.
Get Enough Sleep
What does sleeping have to do with boosting your metabolism? Chronic sleep loss can affect many metabolic functions. It can affect blood glucose metabolism, thyroid function, and many other hormones. Going from 8 hours of sleep down to just 4 can make profound changes in glucose tolerance (resembling type II diabetes), and other endocrine functions after less than one week .
That’s right, just one week of not getting enough sleep can slash your metabolic rate and make it that much harder to lose weight. Rest, recovery, and sleep are the most overlooked aspects of fitness programs, yet they are not only important, but necessary if you want results.
This article is part of the 10 Ways to a Better Body blog series. Be sure to check out the rest of the series!MUST USE FITNESS DEVICE: BodyMedia FIT Calorie Tracking Armband
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