Metabolism is basically a fancy word for how your body regulates energy consumption. Someone with a higher metabolism burns more calories even at rest than someone with a lower metabolism, and can therefore get away with eating more food. But a high metabolism isn’t a privilege reserved for a select few who were lucky enough to be born with it. You can raise yours and reap the benefits. Here are the 8 best things you can do:
Weight/resistance training is a great way to stoke your metabolism because resistance training breaks down the muscle tissue. To repair these micro-tears, the body must expend large amounts of energy to make sure that your muscles are prepared for another workout. Furthermore, weight training stimulates powerful hormonal responses that initiate recovery and fat-burning during your workout and for the next 48-72 hours post-workout.
Move around more
Although strength training is the best way to get your metabolism firing again, we are only probably exercising for about 3-5 hours per week. What about the rest of the 24 hours in our day?
A lot of people have a desk job where they are very sedentary and have very little activity outside of their scheduled exercise. So my tips are to maybe start to take breaks every 15 minutes and have a little walk around the office, even just a bit of movement at your desk can do a little bit to help.
Eat A Variety of Foods
Real, natural foods contain vast amounts of crucial vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need and thrive on. These nutrients, when consumed, act as a spark to fire up our metabolism, giving us the energy to get up and do something, whether it is exercise or just being more productive. So learn a few new recipes, try some new ingredients and add some colour and variation to your plate.
Don’t Go Too Low In Calories Or Carbs
There are plenty of diets out there that advise going either low-calorie or low-carbs, which have had great success in the short-term. However, in the long-run these types of diets can have a severe metabolic cost.
Over time the body adapts to the fact that it is going with low amounts of calories or carbs and consequently down regulates the output of our thyroid. The thyroid is the regulator of our metabolism, and so if it is not functioning properly, then our metabolisms are going to be really low and we will burn fewer calories as a result.
This doesn’t end there because when you eventually return to normal eating , with a supressed metabolism, the risk of rebound weight gain is massively increased because our metabolism will not be able to handle the increased amount of calories.
Therefore it is important to lower your carbs and calories gradually, making time for cheat meals once per week.
Cheat meals can be a useful tactic to use when dieting, as they help prevent the metabolic slowdown which we have previously mentioned. One cheat meal of your choice every 5-7 days can help with this, as well as helping with your adherence of your diet. However, I must warn that this is a cheat meal and not a cheat day.
Take A Break
If the occasional cheat meal does not help to keep the metabolism fire burning, then it may be an idea to take a break from your diet and increase your calorie intake slightly (around 500 calories more) for 1 week.
This extra intake needs to come from healthy, natural foods and is not an excuse to take a trip to the drive-thru.
Don’t Overdo The Cardio
Some people often think that if they are not losing weight then they need to increase the amount of cardio (e.g. jogging or cycling) they do over the week. However, too much cardio can actually depress your metabolism, especially when combined with a calorie-restricted diet.
The best way to go is to focus on resistance training, whilst introducing high-intensity work like HIIT training, sprints, strongman circuits, or martial arts training. All of which can help burn considerable body fat whilst stimulating the metabolism.
Not drinking enough water each day is a common thing I see each day. However, chronic dehydration is linked to a supressed metabolic rate. So increase your water intake to 2 litres per day and you will reap the benefits very quickly, along with clearer skin and more energy.