That elusive metabolism…we are so obsessed with speeding it up, but do we even know what it is? Metabolism is a continuous process that allows our bodies to convert the food we are eating into energy we can use to do things like walking, blinking, sleeping and working out! Even though our metabolism naturally slows as we age, there are things we can do to keep it running . Check out the top 5 metabolism boosters listed below!
Metabolism Booster #1: Build Muscle!
Muscle is your body’s best calorie burner. Increasing your lean muscle mass by just 5-10 lbs. will help rev up your resting metabolism by about 100 calories everyday! This is especially important for women who often skip the strength training either because of inexperience or because they do not want to “bulk up.”
Unsure how to use free weights? Try taking a Body Challenge group fitness class where you will gain some experience with weight-bearing exercises. Another option is to work with one of the many personal trainers who can help you navigate your way through the weight room, and create an individualized program. Personal trainers can be contacted directly through the ARC Website: http://www.arc.sdsu.edu/personaltraining.
Metabolism Booster #2: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is a calorie scorcher! Integrating this training into your workout will help maximize the calories you burn after your workout as well!
How do you incorporate HIIT into your workout? Try alternating 3 minutes of moderate running or biking with 30 seconds of fast-paced running. Alternatively, you can try to perform a fast-paced run or sprint for 30 seconds with 60-90 seconds rest. Try 6 sets to start off with and slowly build up to 12. Be sure to warm-up, cool down and stretch!
Metabolism Booster #3: Get Enough Sleep!
Multiple studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. Lack of sleep can slow your resting metabolism even after just one night of sleep deprivation. Your resting metabolism accounts for 60-75% of your daily calorie burn.
Having trouble getting your shut eye? Do not procrastinate! Start things early so you can avoid cramming and pulling all-nighters. Plan ahead! Planning your day, including your bedtime will help you stick to it. Slow down for 30 minutes before bedtime. Try dimming the lights or shutting off the TV/music before you go to sleep. This will help calm your body and mind, so you can fall asleep quicker when your head hits the pillow!
Metabolism Booster #4: Eat Often!
Instead of eating three meals a day, try eating smaller (200-300 calorie) snacks/meals every 2-3 hours. Research shows that people who eat often (every 2-3 hours) have less body fat and faster metabolisms than those who eat three times a day.
When you wait too long to eat between meals or skip meals, you communicate to your body that it might not get food for awhile. Therefore, your body will store the food longer and your metabolism will slow down. Providing your body with food often will help keep your metabolism running.
How the HECK do you do this? Try packing small, portable snacks in your backpack such as an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, baby carrots and hummus, 1 small fat-free yogurt, string cheese, ½ cup trail mix, or a small handful of almonds, walnuts or unsalted peanuts.
Metabolism Booster #5: Eat the Right Foods!
Eating whatever you want may sound like a great diet, but it will not help your metabolism. Your body needs the right kind of fuel to operate at its very best.
Try these power meals and snacks, which are less than 250 calories!
• Pear with cheese (1 large pear with 1.5 ounces of reduced fat cheese)
• 3 tbsp. almonds and 3 tbsp. dried fruit
• 1 oz. baked tortilla chips with ¼ cup fat-free refried beans, topped with an ounce of reduced fat cheese and 3 tbsp. tomato salsa
• ½ cup edamame drizzled with 1 tbsp. olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper
• A toasted whole-wheat English muffin, topped with a wedge of light Swiss spreadable cheese and ½ tbsp. of all-fruit preserves. Serve with one slice of turkey bacon (microwaved), and a skim milk latte made with 1/3 cup skim milk.
• ¾ cup of oatmeal (cooked in water), 2 tbsp. of raisins, 1 tsp. of packed brown sugar, 1 tbsp. of chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon or other sweet spice
• 2 oz. of light tuna (canned in water, drained). Mix with 2 tsp. of diet mayonnaise and stuff in one 4-inch whole wheat pita with ½ cup raw spinach leaves. Serve with a medium-sized apple and a small handful of baked tortilla chips
• A personal pizza with one whole-wheat tortilla (about 100 calories). Top with 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce, 1 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of chopped vegetables of your choice–such as mushrooms and bell peppers. Top with about five thin slices of turkey or vegetarian pepperoni and broil in the oven until bubbly.
• Fill a 6-inch whole wheat pita with 2 tbsp. hummus. Squeeze with lemon juice and sprinkle with paprika.
• Pop 1 bag of 100-calorie popcorn. Season with ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. garlic powder and ¼ tsp. chili powder.
By: Lori Bednarchik, MPH, CHES
Want to learn more?
Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/setting-realistic-weight-loss-goals?print=true
Five Surprising Reasons You’re Gaining Weight: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/5-surprising-reasons-you-are-gaining-weight?pring=true
Increase Your Metabolism—and Start Losing Fat! http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/increase-your-metabolism-start-losing-fat?print=true
7 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/cleanprint/CleanPrintProxy.aspx?unique-1306355137789