Monday, July 13, 2009

Metabolism Boosters

I see articles on metabolism every day. Why is everyone so excited about increasing metabolism? If you can get your metabolism working for you instead of against you, you’ll burn calories even when you’re sitting around reading The Sister Pact (had to throw that in there).

I’ve compiled a list of metabolism boosters to help you kick yours in gear.

1. Lift weights - Personal fitness trainer Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE, notes that every pound of muscle in our bodies burns 35 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns just 2 calories per day. While 30 minutes of aerobic exercise may burn more calories than 30 minutes of weight training, Calabrese says, "in the hours following the cessation of exercise, the weight training has a longer-lasting effect on boosting metabolism." (i)

2. Lift heavier weights – “When exercisers lifted identical volumes (such as 10 pounds 10 times or 20 pounds 5 times), those using the heavier dumbbells burned about 25 percent more calories when they were finished.” (i)

3. Drink plenty of water - if you're dehydrated you will burn fewer calories throughout the day.

4. Drinking ice-cold beverages can burn an extra ten calories a day - that may not seem like much, but it adds up to a pound lost a year. My question now is - if cold beverages burn extra calories, does ice cream have the same effect? Hmmm. I'd better do some research. I'll try a bowl a day for a year and see what the results are.

5. Eat more often. It may sound crazy to those trying to lose weight by severely restricting their daily caloric intake, but the problem with this old school of thought, explains Michigan dietician Julie Beyer, is that it actually slows metabolism. “Every cell of the body is like a flashlight bulb,” she explains. “When our bodies don’t get enough food, or fuel, every cell burns less brightly.” Recent studies show that eating smaller meals every three to four hours aids metabolism and weight loss. (ii)

6. Move more all day. You can burn up to 350 extra calories daily – enough to shed more than 35 pounds this year-simply by pacing while you talk on the phone, getting up to talk to someone rather than e-mailing, and walking rather than driving for short errands.” James Levine, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic and author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot. (iii)

7. Spicy foods can give you a temporary 23% boost in metabolism. Bring on the salsa - I wonder if the metabolism boost balances out the tortilla chips.

8. Exercise outside – You can burn 10% more calories by doing the same run or walk outside as you would on a treadmill.

9. At least once a week have a long cardio day. Exercising for sixty minutes could burn five times as many calories post-workout than thirty minutes.

10. Eat more protein - it's harder for your body to process, you can burn twice as many calories digesting protein as carbs.

11. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t.

12. Avoid stress. “Stress can actually cause weight gain, particularly around the tummy,” says Shari Lieberman author of Dare to Lose. Stress increases cortisol which slows metabolism. (iii)

13. Include interval training two to three days a week. High intensity exercise burns more calories during and after exercise. Some studies have shown women who did a twenty-minute interval workout lost five times as much weight as those who did a forty-minute steady-paced workout.

14. Sleep. Oh, I like this one. “Research shows that people who don’t sleep for seven to eight hours a night are more prone to weight gain. Additionally, we now know that lean muscle is regenerated in the final couple of hours of sleep each night.” Julie Beyer, dietitian. (ii)

Combine all these tricks and you could call metabolism your friend and not have to stress if you eat a few bites of Ben & Jerry’s every day.

Cami Checketts is a wife, mother, exercise scientist, and author. Her third book, The Sister Pact, will be in stores August 1, 2009. Please refer to her blog for strength-training routines.


(i) “The Ultimate Over-40 Fat Fighter!” by Selene Yeager - Prevention Magazine

(ii) “Boosting Metabolism: 10 Tips That Work” by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness

(iii) “Make the Most of Your Metabolism” By Colette Bouchez WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature -


  1. Great sippents of info...You've got this RD's vote.
    Are you getting excited about your book release?
    Where will it be?

  2. Thanks so much, Roxy. I love it when you stop by.
    I am stoked about this book release. It's my third book, but it's been two years since my last book release. The book will be in bookstores August 1st. I just got my copies and it is such a pretty book. Hopefully people will want one for their bookshelves!
    Hope you have a great day,