Rev up your metabolism to lose weight – the idea is on the cover of most magazines and the talk of the fitness industry. But what is metabolism and is it possible to increase it?
Metabolism is basically how your body burns calories. Those blessed with a fast metabolism burn calories quickly and are able to keep weight off more easily. Metabolism is based on many factors – age, gender, genetics, weight, and muscle mass, to name a few. Of course we can’t do much about our family history, age, or gender, but there are tricks to increase your metabolism that will make you a more efficient calorie burner and help you stay thin and fit without as much effort.
1. Lift weights - Every pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns just 2 calories per day. Increase the size of your weights to burn more - When lifting identical volumes (such as 10 pounds 10 times or 20 pounds 5 times) those using heavier dumbbells burn about 25 percent more calories. Many women are afraid of lifting heavy weights, but it is impossible to bulk up without testosterone. Use a weight that is challenging to you, but won’t cause injury. You’ll lose weight and increase muscle tone much faster.
2. Drink plenty of water - if you're dehydrated you will burn fewer calories throughout the day. To burn an extra ten calories a day, make sure your water is icy cold. Ten calories may not seem like much, but it adds up to a pound lost a year.
3. Eat more often. It may sound crazy to those trying to lose weight by 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. Recent studies show that eating smaller meals every three to four hours aids metabolism and weight loss. "When you put too many hours between meals, your metabolism actually slows down to compensate. If you then eat a huge meal - at the same time your metabolism is functioning as if you're starving - your body wants to hold on to every calorie.” Molly Kimball, RD.
4. 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.
5. Dieting will drop your metabolism - as you lose weight there is less of you to maintain so your resting metabolic rate drops. The solution: eat consistent small meals and lift weights. Increase your muscle density and your metabolism will keep on kicking so you can keep on losing.
6. 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.
7. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t. Also, add more protein - it's harder for your body to process, you can burn twice as many calories digesting protein as carbs.
8. 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.
9. 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. Sorry friends. I know the interval workouts are tough, but they are worth the pain.
10. 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, RD
Cami Checketts is a wife, mother, exercise scientist, and author. Her third book, The Sister Pact, is in stores now.
“The Ultimate Over-40 Fat Fighter!” by Selene Yeager - Prevention Magazine
“Boosting Metabolism: 10 Tips That Work” by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness
“Make the Most of Your Metabolism” by Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature - http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/make-most-your-metabolism