You probably don’t need scientists to tell you that your metabolism slows with age. The average woman gains 1 1/2 pounds a year during her adult life—enough to pack on 40-plus pounds by her 50s, if she doesn’t combat the roller coaster of hormones, muscle loss, and stress that conspires to slow her fat-burning engine. Thankfully, there’s a way to help rev it up again. Midlife weight gain isn’t inevitable: By eating metabolism-boosting foods and following the path, you’ll sleep better, have more energy, feel firmer, and notice your clothes are looser in as little as two weeks. Here’s how to increase your metabolism.
- Cut calories—but not too much
- Enjoy a hearty breakfast every morning
- Work more fiber into your diet
- Stay hydrated
- Rev things up with HIIT
- Start strength training
- Ramp up your protein intake
- Eat iron-rich foods
- Get more vitamin D
- Limit alcohol
- Eat more calcium-rich foods
- The Top Metabolism-Boosting Foods
- First things first: What exactly is your metabolism?
- Also: Your metabolism isn’t just one thing—it’s actually made up of three different things.
- Your metabolism is actually pretty hard to boost or change.
- It’s not sexy or surprising, but eating a balanced diet is one of the smartest ways to maximize your BMR.
- Another thing to keep in mind: Eating too little (or drinking alcohol) can actually decrease your BMR.
- The other effective way to maximize BMR is by exercising regularly, ideally through both HIIT and heavy lifting.
- But exercising in order to increase BMR comes with a caveat, too.
- 13 QUICK TIPS: How to get a faster metabolism
- 1. Eat plenty of protein
- 2. Eat more fat
- 3. HIIT it up
- 4. Just eat real food
- 5. Ramp up the resistance
- 6. Spice things up
- 7. Move every day
- 8. Drink more water
- 9. Get more zzz’s
- 10. Cut the snacks
- 11. Cut the stress!
- 12. Get moving (in the morning!)
- 13. Kickstart your metabolism with a balanced breakfast
- VIDEO: workouts to boost your metabolism
- The Best Exercises to Boost Your Metabolism
- 1. Planks (and plank variants)
- 2. Reverse lunge
- 3. Swimming
- 4. Dips
- 5. Squats
- 6. Sprints
- 7. Burpees
- Can you boost your metabolism?
Cut calories—but not too much
Sure, losing weight involves cutting calories, but limiting your calorie intake too much can deliver a double whammy to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 2,000 calories for most women), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down precious, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy, says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, an associate professor of nutrition and kinesiology at Georgia State University. “Eat just enough so you’re not hungry—a 150-calorie snack midmorning and mid-afternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) will keep your metabolism humming.”
Enjoy a hearty breakfast every morning
Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and keeps energy high all day. It’s no accident that women who skip this meal are 4 1/2 times as likely to be obese. If nothing else, grab a yogurt. Or try oatmeal made with 2 percent milk and topped with nuts for an essential protein boost.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java jolts can rev your metabolism five to eight percent—about 98 to 174 calories a day. A 2012 study from Obesity suggests that high-caffeine intake is associated with weight loss through thermogenesis—the way your body maintains heat—and fat oxidation.
Learn about the benefits of coffee in the video below:
Work more fiber into your diet
Incorporating more fiber-rich foods into your diet such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans and other legumes, will make you feel fuller longer and keep cravings for unhealthy foods at bay. Studies find that women who eat the most fiber in foods gain the least weight over time. Women should aim to get 21 to 25 grams of fiber daily, and men 30 to 38 grams. The vegetables and fruits with the most fiber include raspberries, pears, apples, green peas, broccoli, and turnip greens. Making sure you’re getting a good balance of protein, fiber, and fat every day will keep your hormone levels in check and help prevent you from gaining belly fat.
A 2012 study in Obesity suggests that drinking water can help promote weight loss by lowering calorie intake and altering metabolism. Researchers believe it’s because you’re replacing sweetened, caloric beverages with water. They also believe that drinking water can help promote lipolysis, which is the break down of fats and other lipids.
Rev things up with HIIT
Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training is effective at burning belly fat and boosting your metabolism more than steady-state cardio. Alternating between short bursts of intense effort and periods of lower intensity resets your metabolism at a higher rate, so you burn more calories hours after your workout. This is known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). Try this 10-minute HIIT workout you can do at home.
Start strength training
Strength training can help you build lean muscle mass, which starts to slow down once you hit your 30s. Unlike fat, muscle takes up less space so you’ll drop sizes or feel more comfortable in your favorite pair of jeans before you see a significant drop in pounds.
According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, strength training increases your resting metabolic rate, so you burn calories even when you’re not working out. When it comes to strength training, doing compound exercises is one of the most effective ways to work several muscles at once and save time at the gym. Compound movements like a weighted squat to a shoulder press or a reverse lunge to a bicep curl will work multiple muscle groups, so you get more bang for your buck.
Try this compound exercise to boost your metabolism:
Ramp up your protein intake
Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. Add a serving, like three ounces of lean meat, two tablespoons of nuts, or eight ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Just like fiber, protein keeps you satiated for a long period of time and curbs cravings for refined, processed foods, which tend to be calorie-dense.
Eat iron-rich foods
It’s essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat, says Tammy Lakatos, RD, co-author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. Until menopause, women lose iron each month through menstruation. Unless you restock your stores, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources. Check out this list of foods with more iron than beef.
Get more vitamin D
This vitamin is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue. Unfortunately, researchers estimate that a measly four percent of Americans over age 50 take in enough vitamin D through their diet. Get 90 percent of your recommended daily value (400 IU) in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon. Other good sources: tuna, shrimp, tofu, fortified milk and cereal, and eggs.
When you have a drink, you burn less fat, and more slowly than usual because the alcohol is used as fuel instead, especially drinks high in sugar. Go for these low-calorie alcoholic drinks at the next happy hour to keep your waistline in check. One of the biggest mistakes people make when drinking alcohol is portion sizes. Be sure to stick to one serving; for beer, it’s 12 ounces, wine is 5 ounces, and liquor is 1.5 ounces. Avoid sugary mixers that add empty calories and sip slowly to fully savor your drink.
Eat more calcium-rich foods
“There’s some evidence that calcium deficiency, which is common in many women, may slow metabolism,” says Lakatos. Research shows that consuming calcium through dairy foods such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other foods.
The Top Metabolism-Boosting Foods
Avocado Cheese Black beans Greek yogurt Spinach Salmon Eggs Hemp seeds Lentils Beef Tofu Milk
Stay active as much as possible
The easiest 350 calories you’ll ever burn: Exercise is obviously important, but regular daily activity known as “NEAT” (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) is equally essential for a healthy metabolism. Small movements such as stretching your legs, taking the stairs, even just standing to talk on the phone increases your energy expenditure and can add up to an extra 350 calories burned a day.
selene yeager “The Fit Chick” Selene Yeager is a top-selling professional health and fitness writer who lives what she writes as a NASM certified personal trainer, USA Cycling certified coach, pro licensed mountain bike racer, and All-American Ironman triathlete.
“Metabolism” is a word that gets thrown around a lot when talking about food, fitness, and weight loss.
Effortlessly thin people, for example, are often said to be blessed with “fast metabolisms,” for example. And, the key to weight loss is to “boost your metabolism”…right?
Kind of. But it turns out that it’s more complicated than that.
First things first: What exactly is your metabolism?
Basically, your metabolism is all the energy (which we measure in calories) that you burn every day. It’s also called your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
But burning calories doesn’t just happen when you exercise—you burn calories every minute of every day as your body keeps you alive, says Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., CSCS*D, associate professor and director of the applied physiology laboratory at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
That means all of your body’s processes, voluntary or not, contribute to your TDEE—everything from digesting food to breathing to punching out a text message on your phone.
Also: Your metabolism isn’t just one thing—it’s actually made up of three different things.
There are three things contribute to metabolism: basal metabolic rate, non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis, and exercise.
Here’s where it gets technical: Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns just to stay alive—i.e., keeping your organs and bodily functions working properly, and turning food into usable energy—and it accounts for about 70 percent of your metabolism.
Everybody’s BMR is different (you can estimate your own with this calculator) but keep in mind, it won’t be totally accurate, since there are so many factors.
Non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis (NEAT) is the next part of your metabolism, and it’s basically made up of those extra things your body does that aren’t really exercise, but that still cost energy (think: fidgeting, shivering, and all the things you do to go about your day, like walking and standing). It accounts for about 20 percent of your metabolism, and it can vary from day to day depending on things like what you’re doing to what you’re eating.
Actual exercise burns additional calories on top of these things, but it only accounts for about 10 percent of most people’s metabolisms—so, while exercise still definitely matters, the calories you burn during exercise only make up for a small amount of your daily metabolism.
Your metabolism is actually pretty hard to boost or change.
That’s because “boosting metabolism” doesn’t really refer to exercising more intensely to burn more calories, standing instead of sitting, or sneaking in lunchtime walks.
It’s not sexy or surprising, but eating a balanced diet is one of the smartest ways to maximize your BMR.
A diet that includes fat, carbs, and protein will keep your body functioning optimally, and will also keep your hormone levels in check (out-of-whack hormones can lead to weight gain and certain health problems).
Part of what accounts for your BMR is the thermic effect of food—a.k.a., how much energy your body expends digesting the food that you eat—and some foods take more energy to digest than others.
Getting adequate protein and fiber can definitely help increase your metabolism.
“Protein burns more calories than carbs and fat,” says Bustillo. About 30 percent of the calories in protein will go towards digestion and absorption, whereas that number is only about 10 percent for carbs, and even less for fats. Fiber’s another nutrient that costs a little more energy, says Bustillo—so, getting adequate protein and fiber can definitely help maximize your BMR.
This doesn’t mean you should shun fat and other carbs, though. Both are important for keeping your body functioning properly—and, remember, it’s these bodily functions that make up most of your BMR in the first place.
Also, no vitamin or nutrient has the power to increase your BMR on its own, but being deficient in any of the essential vitamins and nutrients can have a negative effect. And, certain foods—caffeine, green tea, and capsaicin (peppers)—might boost your metabolism slightly, but the effect is negligible, says Bustillo.
Another thing to keep in mind: Eating too little (or drinking alcohol) can actually decrease your BMR.
This is known as metabolic adaptation, says Bustillo. When we drastically reduce our calories for an extended period of time, our bodies adapt to needing that smaller number of calories, which decreases our BMR. The longer this underfeeding happens, the further our BMR may drop.
“People who have yo-yo dieted all their lives may experience much difficulty losing weight later in life due to this metabolic adaptation,” says Bustillo. “At this point, just about every weight loss program will not work or will take really long to work, because of the adaptation to such a low intake of food.”
Alcohol can actually limit the amount of calories you burn.
Alcohol might also decrease your BMR. “Alcohol is registered as not good for the body upon consumption, which results in the body seeking to eliminate it as quickly as possible,” says Bustillo.
So, when you have alcohol in your system, your body immediately starts working to get break it down and get rid of it, so you’re not metabolizing food as quickly or efficiently. “Chronic recreational alcohol over-consumption (including alcoholism ,which is an illness) can certainly impact caloric expenditure,” he says.
The other effective way to maximize BMR is by exercising regularly, ideally through both HIIT and heavy lifting.
“Evidence suggests that high intensity interval training is one of the most advantageous forms of exercise,” says Sharp. “It burns more calories in half the time as steady-state cardio, and your calorie burn may remain elevated for up to 24 hours after exercise—as many as 200 to 300 calories on average, says Bustillo.
But, Bustillo cautions against hanging too much hope on this: “Many companies that sell the ‘after burn’ or ‘metabolic workouts’ are just utilizing a marketing strategy with ,” he says. “They’re not technically lying, because training can increase BMR , but it’s not by more than 200-300 calories on average.”
Muscle burns six calories per pound, while fat burns two calories per pound.
The other way that exercise can help boost BMR is by increasing muscle mass. “Resistance training is advantageous for increasing lean mass, which indirectly will increase ,” says Sharp. But, while it’s true that muscle burns more calories than fat, even lean mass isn’t a magic bullet way to boost your daily calorie burn.
Why? Because muscle doesn’t actually burn that many more calories than fat. “Previous data suggests about six calories per pound of muscle, versus two calories per pound of fat mass,” says Sharp. “When you do the calculations, it’s not a significant amount of calories.”
Still, those extra four calories can cumulatively make a big impact over time —and the ability to gain, maintain, and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass can have other weight loss benefits, like maintaining hormone levels linked to calorie burn, says Sharp.
But exercising in order to increase BMR comes with a caveat, too.
It seems like exercising hard each and every day might be the key to maximizing your BMR—but working out a ton might also inhibit your metabolism.
Taking enough recovery time between workouts, and getting adequate sleep, are key, says Sharp, because it gives your muscles a chance to rebuild and your hormones a chance to return to their normal state.
You may need to set aside weight loss goals to build muscle—and increase your metabolism.
The way you strength train matters too: “One thing do wrong is that they lift light weights for more reps. This will not efficiently build muscle,” says Sharp. “The most effective approach is to lift heavier loads (80% maximum) for 6 to 8 reps.” This style of lifting is best suited to hypertrophy (a.k.a., an increase in muscle mass).
You’ll also need to eat more, which might mean setting aside weight-loss goals while you build up your muscle mass. “Women are notorious for consuming too few calories, or even expending more that consumed with cardio.” “The key thing for putting on muscle is the need for a caloric surplus,” says Sharp.
Basically, you need to eat more calories than your body needs, so that it can use the extra to build muscle size.
The bottom line: There’s no quick-fix way to boost your metabolism, but you can make small changes to your daily habits—like walking instead of driving or standing instead of sitting—and add high-intensity and muscle-building exercises, to help increase the amount of calories you burn each day.
When it comes to losing weight, you’ve probably heard that your metabolism is the main driver of weight loss, but do you know why it plays such an important role? I’ll explain why, and I’ll share my favourite ways to increase your metabolism naturally so you can burn more fat, even while you’re sleeping!
Your metabolism regulates the rate at which you burn energy.
If your metabolism is a bit slow, there’s a good chance the energy you take in from food might not be burned off over the course of your day. Your body has to put that excess energy somewhere, and unfortunately for those of us who can struggle with weight gain, that ‘somewhere’ always ends up around your body and organs as fat.
One way to overcome the weight gain from a slow metabolism is by eating less, however I’m not a fan of traditional restrictive diets. Instead, a much better approach is to simply focus on eating well and to incorporate some of my tips to naturally boost your metabolism so you can burn energy more efficiently and lose weight naturally.
Safe and effective ways to get your metabolism to burn more fat without dieting.
If your metabolism is working efficiently then the energy from your food will be used up, and any excess energy you’ve already stored as fat will be broken down and you’ll start to lose your excess weight. So, put simply, if you’re trying to lose some weight or keep yourself at a healthy weight, you better keep your metabolic engine revving!
With that in mind, here are some of my top exercise & nutrition tips to naturally fire up your metabolism so your body can become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. I’ve also included two effective fat-burning, metabolism-boosting workouts for you to try at home.
13 QUICK TIPS: How to get a faster metabolism
1. Eat plenty of protein
When you’re looking to get your metabolic engine revving, packing your diet with protein is a must. Protein has a large thermic effect which means your body expends more energy to absorb and digest nutrients – making it awesome for fat loss. Eating plenty of protein means you naturally increase your calorie expenditure as your body uses more energy in order to perform all it’s important physiological functions.
Try my tasty Protein-Packed Poke Bowl Recipe, and you’ll soon see why it’s my favourite way to get my daily dose of protein. Or, if you’re looking for a healthy protein powder to supplement your normal diet, you can grab my natural, Australian-made whey powder (in Chocolate or Vanilla) from my 28 Shop.
HIGH PROTEIN FOOD SOURCES
If you’re looking for natural food sources to boost your metabolism, eat more lean protein like chicken, beef and turkey, and include more fish, eggs, dairy and legumes in your diet.
2. Eat more fat
The healthy kind of course! Good fats (like avocado, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil and seeds) can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. They’re also one of the best foods to help you feel fuller for longer. My Super Speedy Guacamole recipe is my go-to when I’m after a quick and delicious hit of healthy fats.
My guacamole recipe provides healthy fats for a metabolic boost
3. HIIT it up
When you’re looking to boost your metabolism, you need to train in a way that will raise your heart rate and put your muscles to work. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is just the answer. HIIT is a type of training that involves repeated short bursts of intense activity with short, low-intensity recovery periods. It’s an incredibly efficient way to burn body fat and burn calories, and one of the best ways you can fire up your metabolism. Learn why HIIT is so effective and then try a HIIT workout for yourself.
4. Just eat real food
JERF is the nutritional philosophy behind my 28 program, and it really is as simple as it sounds: Just. Eat. Real. Food. What this means is that our program encourages you to eat more healthy, unprocessed foods that are rich in all the nutrients your body needs to perform at its highest potential. It also gives your metabolism a kick because your digestive system has to work to break down all the fibres, amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients into their respective parts.
Fresh whole foods are fuel for a healthy metabolism
Wondering the best way to keep it real? Jump in the kitchen and cook your own food. That really is the only way to know that every ingredient in your meal is a quality one. There is another important benefit to eating (and cooking with) real whole foods, which is that you’ll avoid consuming all the hidden nasties (like refined sugar and preservatives) that usually reside in foods that come from a box!
Want to learn how to cook healthier, tasty meals?
5. Ramp up the resistance
“Don’t resist the resistance” is something I’m always telling my clients – and for good reason! Resistance training is not only a great way to tone and shape muscle, but it’s also one of the best ways to increase the speed of your metabolism. When you have a higher metabolism, you burn more calories all day long and the more lean muscle you have, the more muscle you burn. Like the sound of what you’re hearing? Give this At Home Resistance Workout a go.
Resistance training is one of the best ways I’ve found to naturally increase the speed of your metabolism
6. Spice things up
Spicy Black Hummus can help increase your calorie burn
We love a bit of spice here at 28, and not just because it adds an extra hit of flavour. Spice such as chilli or jalapeños are shown to boost your metabolism because they increase the body’s release of hormones like adrenaline, which in turn increases your calorie burn. Why not get a bit more spice in your life with my Spicy Black Hummus recipe.
7. Move every day
I know I’ve already mentioned the importance of HIIT and resistance training – but when it comes to boosting your metabolism, it’s important to move your body every single day.
Don’t worry, I’m not telling you to smash out an intense HIIT workout every day! Just try to get as much movement into your day as possible. The key here is to find something active that you enjoy, so you’ll want to do it.
HOW TO MOVE MORE EVERY DAY
Whether it’s a long walk after work to clear your head or a high-intensity boxing session to get your heart rate up, if you stay active and move your body every day you’ll give your metabolism a boost so you can burn more fat, naturally!
8. Drink more water
This seems so simple but I can’t stress it enough. Water is incredibly underrated; most people know water is good for you, but they don’t realise just how important a role it plays in your diet and that it also plays a big role in boosting your metabolism. So – try to keep your water intake to around 2-2.5 litres a day to make sure you’re burning maximum energy and keeping your hormones balanced. If you find it difficult to keep your water consumption up, my tip is to flavour your water bottle with a combination of lemon and mint, or, if you prefer something sweeter throw a few berries in there – trust me, you won’t even realise it’s water!
Drink more water – it plays an important role in boosting your metabolism
9. Get more zzz’s
Sleep is important for your metabolism and general health!
Just like staying hydrated, sleep is another component that is underestimated (and often forgotten) when it comes to losing weight and getting your metabolism engine revving. Sleep deprivation messes with the body’s circadian rhythm (the 24-hour cycle that regulates sleeping, waking up, digestion and other important functions); this means your metabolism can slow as your body tries to hold onto all of it’s resources. So – if you’re looking to boost your metabolism, you cannot neglect some good old shut-eye.
3 TIPS TO BETTER SLEEP
Is your bedroom set up for sleep? You’ll rest easier if your bedroom is cool and dark. Stick to a consistent bedtime every night, even on weekends, and you’ll soon train your brain to snooze. And don’t forget to ditch the technology so your mind can unwind in the hours leading up to bedtime.
10. Cut the snacks
When you stick to three balanced meals a day, you are able to keep your body in its most metabolically efficient state. So, unless you are doing intense physical activity every day, or if you’re a shift worker or pregnant – you should cut out the snacks where possible! All too often, we snack because we’re bored or simply out of habit, but the reality is that if you’re sticking to three balanced, satisfying whole food meals a day you shouldn’t need to snack.
Cut out snacks to keep your metabolism working efficiently
11. Cut the stress!
I understand this one is easier said than done, but you need to manage your stress levels if you’re looking to give your metabolism a boost. Managing stress is a must for an efficient metabolism because it optimises your fat-burning potential. But let’s be real – some stress is a natural part of life and, in moderation, a bit of stress can be good for us. The key here is to not let stress overwhelm you and get in the way of your daily life. Make sure you have practices in place to help you de-stress and refocus when stress rears its ugly head.
TIPS TO DESTRESS
I always recommend exercise as a natural stress reliever. It doesn’t have to be intense, you can go for a walk, take a yoga class or go for a gentle swim. Or, if you’d like a quick workout to help you let go of the stress of the day, give my Stress Relief Home Workout a go!
12. Get moving (in the morning!)
A lot of my clients ask, “Sam, what is the best time of day to work out?” and my answer is always the same: the best time to workout is when you’ll actually do it! Of course, when it comes to boosting your metabolism, there IS an optimal time. If you can fit your workout into your morning routine (before breakfast) then you’ll give your metabolism an extra 10% metabolic boost for the rest of the day.
13. Kickstart your metabolism with a balanced breakfast
Everyone has heard the saying ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, and it’s said for good reason! Having a wholefood breakfast each morning means you get an early boost of nutrients to kick start your metabolism. As an added bonus, eating a wholefoods breakfast also helps balance your blood sugar levels and provides long-lasting energy so you can tackle the day ahead.
You can start your day the right way with my Coco-Nutty Breakfast Smash or if you prefer something savoury, try my BLAT Breakfast Tacos.
Metabolism-Boosting Blatt Breakfast Tacos
VIDEO: workouts to boost your metabolism
Boost your metabolism in 10-minutes with my HIIT ‘no equipment’ workout. It’s short but I promise you’ll feel the burn AND the benefits!
Get your metabolism firing with this full-body resistance home workout with Snez. This one doesn’t require special gym equipment, as you can use everyday items that you’ll have around the house!
Do “pre-workouts” & “metabolism booster” supplements work?
Pre-workouts and metabolism boosters fall under the supplement category of ‘thermogenics’, which claim to increase your metabolic rate and therefore your energy expenditure. While pre-workouts are extremely popular in the body-building space, the reality is that there is NO magic pill for weight loss.
Most thermogenics are a chemical concoction of artificial ingredients, sweeteners and excessive amounts of artificial caffeine from guarana or yerba mate. If your metabolism-booster causes you to experience nervousness, jitteriness, changes in sleep, increased anxiety or heart palpitations then it’s not a healthy product for you.
It is really important to remember that the benefits of caffeine are dose-dependent. Too little and it won’t provide any benefits but consume too much and it can create unpleasant or potentially dangerous side effects! The amount of caffeine used in store-bought pre-workout is rarely healthy. However, in the right amount, caffeine has good natural thermogenic benefits and increases your fatty acid oxidation (which is the amount of fat your body selects to fuel your exercise session).
The best natural pre-workout metabolism booster is…
A shot of coffee before a workout is a healthy metabolism booster
One of the best pre-workouts is a shot of coffee, or a Bulletproof Coffee (which is simply an espresso blended with a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and/or MCT or coconut oil). Try a shot of coffee before your morning exercise session to maximise your workout benefits, but aim to cut the caffeine by 3pm at the latest so you can sleep.
One of the best (and cheapest) pre-workout boosters is a simple shot of coffee!
Need an energy boost for working out after 3pm?
To avoid any sleep issues, skip the caffeine booster, and instead try a healthy pre-workout snack like my Sweet and Salty Low-Calorie Popcorn.
Sweet & Salty Low Cal Popcorn Get the full recipe
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Posted by Sam Wood
Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.
The Best Exercises to Boost Your Metabolism
The key to burning calories and ultimately losing weight is to kick your metabolism into gear. Your metabolism is your body’s ability to facilitate chemical reactions — and when we refer to it in terms of physical fitness, it’s more or less in conjunction with the physiological process of breaking down certain molecules to access energy. The more efficiently your body can access and utilize stored energy (fat stores), the easier you’ll be able to burn calories, and lose weight.
When we talk about your basal metabolic rate (BMR), this would refer to the amount of calories you burn just by existing — the default amount of energy you expend with your natural bodily functions.
Some exercises can boost your metabolism. | iStock.com/g-stockstudio
While your metabolism can be a bit of a strange concept to get your head around, it really refers to how much energy, or calories, your body burns through in a given day. The key to losing weight is to burn more energy than you take in; to assume a caloric deficit. With that in mind, if you want to lose weight, giving your metabolism a boost should be on your to-do list. But it’s not easy.
Here are seven exercises you can implement if you feel that your metabolism is slowing, which should give your internal engine a boost.
1. Planks (and plank variants)
Planks are a relatively easy exercise to do, and you can do them almost anywhere. There are also numerous variations that you can try, and keep your routines mixed up to avoid muscle memory. But they’re also great for building muscle and endurance. If you’re unfamiliar with how to pull off the perfect plank, the video above should get you started.
2. Reverse lunge
Reverse lunges will give your workout a boost. | iStock.com
Lunges are another deceptive exercise — they look pretty easy, but after only a few reps, you’ll really feel the burn. They’re terrific leg exercises if you don’t have access to squat racks or barbells and will help you build lean muscles in your legs. Specifically, you’ll build your quads and glutes — perhaps the most important muscle groups in the body.
Swimming can torch calories. | iStock.com
Perhaps the best way to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time is by swimming. You’ll be using every muscle group in your body just to stay afloat or in constant motion, and by doing so, force your body to start pulling energy from your fat stores. Plus, you get the added benefit of reduced injury risks, since swimming is a no-impact exercise. Your joints and ligaments will thank you.
Dips target a lot of muscles in your upper body. | iStock.com
To ensure you don’t miss your upper body, try incorporating dips into your workout. They’re perfect for interval or circuit training, and you’ll likely find yourself out of breath after completing a set. You’ll build your shoulders, chest, and arms, and keep your internal engine humming.
Kettlebell squats are standard for a reason. | iStock.com
As you’ll read over and over, squats are pretty much the most important lift or exercise you can do. Like lunges, you’ll be focusing the work on your quads and glutes. Build those muscles up, and you’ll have two muscle groups that are burning through a large amount of energy, all on their own, just moving you around throughout the day. Try dumbbell or kettlebell squats to mix things up.
Sprinting is the easiest way to incorporate HIIT. | iStock.com
Yes — we couldn’t get through the list without some sort of running component. And in true form to high-intensity interval training, sprints are where it’s at. Sprints require your body to act explosively, which means that it needs to be very efficient at tapping into and expending energy. Do enough sprinting, and your body will figure out how to get it done.
Finally, you should try doing some burpees to give your metabolism a boost. Burpees incorporate elements of bodyweight exercises as well as cardio, making them a great move to burn calories and build muscle. Again — you’re training your body to become more efficient, and burpees are one exercise that is sure to help you train for that.
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Boosting your metabolism – the rate at which your body blows through calories – isn’t always easy, but it definitely is possible.
For one, you could eat these metabolism-boosting foods, but the jury is still out on exactly HOW much they affect it (ie, How much of said food should you eat? When should you have it? So many questions…).
But what scientists DO know is that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn (even when you’re not exercising). And on top of that, there are some pretty good workout moves that not only build muscle, but also help you burn calories for hours *after* you’ve left the gym.
So we asked Heartcore Fitness founder and trainer Jess Schuring for her top muscle-building, metabolism-boosting moves. Drumroll please…
“Dropping all the way to the floor to do a plank, then standing up and jumping high into the air requires a lot of power and energy, so when you do them, your body is working at 100%. Keep your pace steady and fast, and you’ll guarantee a great muscle-toning and calorie burning workout.
When I’m travelling and short on time, I like to do a quick burpee workout of 20 seconds on (ideally get up to 10 burpees in that time), followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times. It’s tough, but amazing for your metabolism.”
2. Mountain climbers
“These are a great exercise for working the midriff while getting your heart rate up. Maintaining a steady position throughout the upper body (shoulders over hands and no hip lifts!) while driving those knees underneath you in and out requires a lot of core strength and stability.
The key to making them as effective as possible is keeping your hips at shoulder level when driving knees underneath you and in (as far forward as you possibly can).”
“Walking lunges are amazing for toning your legs and bum – just don’t rush the movement and focus on getting a full range of motion by dropping deep into each lunge and pressing through your front foot/bum back up before stepping into the next lunge. This way you’ll be keeping the muscle under tension for longer, which will give you the best results. For an additional balance challenge, try to keep your movement flowing without stopping between each lunge. Try to do at least 30 lunges (15 per side).”
4. Squat Jumps
“To get the most out of this move, make every squat count and drop your hips as low as possible on the squat. When you jump up, fully straighten through the spine and try to reach for the sky. As you touch down, drop straight back into the squat without stopping for a rest. It’s tough, but it’ll get your metabolism firing because you’re working mostly through your legs and butt, which are the largest muscle groups in the body.”
Taylor Anderson Acting Editor American in London.
Can you boost your metabolism?
Your metabolism is the process your body uses to make and burn energy from food. You rely on your metabolism to breathe, think, digest, circulate blood, keep warm in the cold, and stay cool in the heat.
It is a common belief that raising your metabolism helps you burn more calories and increase weight loss. Unfortunately, there are more myths about boosting metabolism than tactics that work. Some myths can backfire. If you think you are burning more calories than you actually are, you could end up eating more than you should.
Here are the facts on 6 metabolism myths.
Myth #1: Exercise boosts your metabolism long after you stop.
It is true that you burn more calories when you exercise, especially when you get your heart rate up with activities like biking or swimming.
That increased calorie burn lasts as long as your workout. You might keep burning extra calories for an hour or so after that, but the aftereffects of exercise stop there. Once you stop moving, your metabolism will go back to its resting rate.
If you load up on calories after a workout, thinking your body will keep burning calories the rest of the day, you risk weight gain.
What to do: Exercise for your health and refuel with healthy foods. DO NOT let exercise give you an excuse to overindulge in high-calorie foods and drinks.
Myth #2: Adding muscle will help you lose weight.
Muscle burns more calories than fat. So will building more muscle not boost your metabolism? Yes, but only by a small amount. Most regular exercisers only gain a few pounds (kilograms) of muscle. That is not enough to make a big difference in the number of calories you burn. Plus, when not in active use, muscles burn very few calories. Most of the time, your brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs account for most of your metabolism.
What to do: Lift weights for stronger bones and muscles. Make strength training part of a well-rounded exercise program that includes activities to get your heart pumping. To keep off extra weight, you also need to eat a healthy diet and appropriate portions.
Myth #3: Eating certain foods can boost your metabolism.
Eating foods like green tea, caffeine, or hot chili peppers will not help you shed excess pounds (kilograms). Some may provide a small boost in your metabolism, but not enough to make a difference in your weight.
What to do: Choose foods for their good nutrition and taste. Eat a variety of healthy foods that fill you up without filling you out.
Myth #4: Eating small meals during the day increases your metabolism.
Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence that eating small, frequent meals boosts metabolism.
Spreading your meals throughout the day might keep you from getting too hungry and overeating. If so, it is a good idea. Athletes perform better when they eat more often in smaller amounts. If you are someone who has a hard time stopping once you start eating, 3 meals a day may make it easier for you to stick to an appropriate intake than lots of little snacks.
What to do: Pay attention to your hunger cues and eat when you feel hungry. Keep track of your daily diet and limit high-sugar, high-fat snacks.
Myth #5: Getting a full night’s sleep is good for your metabolism.
A good night’s sleep will not boost your metabolism but going without sleep can add pounds. Sleep-deprived people tend to eat more calories than they need, possibly to deal with feeling tired.
What to do: Plan your life so you have enough time for sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, look into ways to unwind before bedtime and make your bedroom comfortable for sleep. Talk to your health care provider if self-care tips for better sleep do not help.
Myth# 6: You will gain weight as you age because your metabolism slows down.
While it is true that our metabolism is slower than when we were kids, a lot of mid-life weight gain happens because we become less active. Jobs and family push exercise to the back burner. When we do not move as much, we lose muscle and gain fat.
As you get older, you may also have trouble regulating your meals with age. After a big meal, younger people tend to eat less until their bodies use up the calories. This natural appetite control seems to fade as people get older. Unless you pay close attention, big meals can quickly add up.
What to do: As you get older, it is important to make exercise a regular part of every day. By staying active and sticking with smaller portions of healthy foods, you can ward off weight gain as you age.