How to Increase Your Metabolism in 8 Easy Ways
Science Backed Strategies to Burn More Calories
There are plenty of things that determine how many calories you burn throughout the day – gender, age, weight and good ol’ genetics. And although it’s not the only factor in losing weight or shedding fat, boosting your metabolism can certainly help you hit your healthy goals faster.
We found the 8 easiest ways to boost your metabolism – according to the researchers.
But be warned – you can’t just implement one of these strategies and expect to wake up 10 pounds lighter by next week. Researchers have shown that each of these strategies can increase your base metabolic rate, some by just a few percentages while others up to 80%, but for the best metabolism boosting results, combine them all together!
1. Chow Down on Breakfast
Yes, grandma was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At least your metabolism thinks so! Since our bodies don’t require a huge amount of energy while we sleep, our metabolism slows down through the course of the night. When we wake up to start our days, we are still in that slow and steady metabolism state.
If you skip breakfast and wait until lunch to eat, your metabolism stays in conservation mode – storing what little energy you have to keep you functioning until your next food intake. But when you eat breakfast, that food gives an immediate signal to your metabolism that your body will be moving and functioning and it can rev up to accommodate the new food you just digested.
According to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, just eating breakfast can increase your resting metabolism by up to 10 percent. But not any ol’ cereal will do – the best metabolism boosting breakfast is made of lean protein and healthy fats. 1
2. Lift Heavy Things
When you’re in the gym and throwing around iron, your muscles are using a butt load of energy. Each muscle contraction uses 5-10x more energy than your at-rest metabolic rate (depending of course on how much you’re ready to lift that day). But the metabolic perks go far beyond just the time your pumping iron.
Researchers show that your 30 minute lifting session could spike your metabolism up for the next 7 – 15 hours. Almost an entire days worth of perks from a just a little sweat sesh.
But it gets even better. We burn calories throughout the entire day – from sitting on the couch to walking around the grocery store. And our muscles require more energy to move in general. So the more we increase our muscle mass, the more we increase our base metabolic rate for the entire day, regardless of what we are doing.
Three big metabolic wins for lifting heavy things! 2
3. Love Your Protein
It’s true that more muscle means higher calorie burn throughout the entire day. But in order to preserve those muscle you worked so hard for in the gym, you have to eat protein.
Protein combined with weight lifting helps increase your muscle size (hello higher metabolism). But it does way more than that. Protein also prevents your muscle from breaking down, keeps you feeling fuller for longer and prevents gaining weight back after you’ve lost it.
But best of all, eating protein itself can spike your metabolism. Protein is made from amino acids and the body has to work hard to break those down – harder than it does when you’re eating carbs. The harder it works to break down your food, the more calories you burn.
For the best metabolism boosting perks, add protein to every meal (and most snacks). 3
4. Get a Little Spicy (and Maybe a Little Sweet)
Spicy peppers are nature’s secret little metabolism booster (not to mention one of the top 25 fat burning foods)! The main compound in chili peppers is called capsaicin – the thing that gives you the fiery burn on your tongue. But that compound does more than just burn off your taste buds. The heat from the capsaicin compound gives your body and nerves and little bit of stress (a physical from you don’t have to think about). To battle that extra stress, your body sends out extra adrenaline to bring you back to baseline and this adrenaline rush is what actually spikes up your metabolism!
But you don’t have to go spicy to get all the natural benefits – the sweet chili pepper is in the same type of family as the spicy, just without the hotness. It’s compound is a little different from the capsaicin, but through research, we’ve found that it actually can increase your fat burn. Not a bad outcome from just a few little peppers! 4 5
5. Rev Your Workout Engine
Lifting heavy weights isn’t the only gym-friendly strategy to boost your metabolism. Adding high intensity training can provide long-term calorie burn too. In fact, when compared side by side to long, steady cardio – the short bursts of high intensity training out performed the long bouts of cardio when it comes to muscle building and metabolism revving.
So for the best metabolism boosting perks, make sure you include a few high intensity work each week: 30-60 seconds of max effort work followed by about a minute of rest. Then reap the calorie burn benefits! 6
6. Get Enough Shut Eye
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sleep is like a natural steroid to athletes. Everything from muscle building to fat burning to metabolism revving is impacted by your sleep. In fact, researchers did a study where they sleep-deprived adults. Took them from 8 hours of sleep down to just 4 hours per night. And after just one week without enough sleep, those participants went from healthy and functioning to aged, sick and fat storing folks. And the only thing that changed was sleep.
When you go without sleep, it alters your ability to regulate your glucose and your energy expenditure. And that means slow metabolism and low energy. Then pair that with the increased appetite (another downside of sleep deprivation) and you’ve got a recipe for metabolic disturbances. Always shoot for 8 hours of sleep each night, and if you need a little help, check out some other tips to hit the hay faster. 7,
7. Keep Your Cool
In your room I mean. According to a study from 2014, people who slept in a 66-degree room could decrease their amount of fat while increasing the number of calories they burn. And the only change that was made was the temperature of the room. The cooler temp keeps your energy expenditure up because your body is working a little harder to keep you warm. A higher energy output means a high metabolism, even while you snooze. But if you aren’t a fan of blasting the AC, you could also get similar perks from light bedsheets and a fan in the room to bring down the temperature. 9
8. Stress Less
Easier said than done. But stress can have a harmful impact on your metabolism. When we are stressed, our body increases the amount of cortisol and other stress hormones that signal to our fat cells that they need to increase. But high chronic stress also puts our bodies into a constant state of fight or flight mode – and when this happens, our bodies send all of our energy to functions we might need to use to protect ourself against danger. Your metabolism and digestion aren’t part of those saving graces. So that flight or flight mode slows down your metabolism. When that stress goes down and the danger is gone, your metabolism speed goes back up. 10
What strategies do you use to increase your metabolism? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you liked this article, I bet you’ll like this other one! Click here to check it out: 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat