I was speaking with a health professional a few days ago about weight loss and the role that an person’s metabolisms play in weight loss, and he advised me to think about my body like I would a car. I thought it was a weird thought, but the more I analyzed, the more it made sense.When you first get in your car and turn the ignition, the fuel gets sent to the engine to get the car started. But a car also needs fuel to keep going so it doesn’t stall on the freeway, and it needs oil to keep parts lubricated and running properly. Our bodies aren’t much different. Here are a few tips to boost your metabolism, keep it active and working.
Metabolism is the total of energy your body spends each day. You burn less fuel at rest, and more energy when you are active. The more active you are during the day, the higher your metabolism. You body composition plays a role in your metabolism as well. Lean muscle mass expends more energy, even when your muscles are at rest, than fat. Increase your percentage of lean muscle mass, and you’ll boost your metabolism.
Strength Training Is Key
For women especially, our lower bodies tend to store more fat, and our glutes are the largest muscle in our bodies. The more lean muscle you have, the more your booty will always burn! Your body burns about six calories per day to keep up a pound of muscle, but expends only two calories per pound of fat. Increasing your muscle-to-fat ratio can directly increase your metabolism, even when you’re not in the gym.
Drink More Water
The chronic mild dehydration that up to 75 percent of adults suffer from can slow your metabolism. Adequate daily water intake falls between half an ounce to one ounce per pound of body weight, but can vary based upon your environment and activity level. Drinking enough water can also fight the fatigue and joint pain that may slow down your workouts. For those who find it difficult to drink water throughout the day, you will find that adding lemon to you water might be helpful for its flavor. Lemon also helps your liver (the body’s built-in detoxification system) function by promoting more efficient stomach digestion. Seventy-five percent of adults suffer chronic to mild dehydration which can slow metabolism.
Make Your Bathroom Breaks Mini Workouts
I go to the bathroom almost every hour. On days when I spend a good part sitting or don’t have time for a workout, I’ll do push-ups after every break. Sometimes I’ll add a few jump squats and bicycle crunches. When you get up for more-frequent bathroom breaks (in response to better hydration), take a couple of quick laps around the office to get cardio in.
Eat More Protein
Protein takes longer to digest, and the body burns more calories digesting it than carbohydrates and fats. Lean meats, such as a chicken burger on a lettuce “bun,” are great sources of protein and micro-nutrients. Another option is to replace high carbohydrate foods like pasta with a high protein alternative, such as black-bean pasta.
Add Intervals to Your Workout
Interval workouts consist of short bursts of intense activity followed by rest periods. HIIT (High-intensity interval training ) has been shown to burn fat more effectively than steady-state cardio and promote muscle building. If you’re new to HIIT, try sprinting for 30 seconds on a treadmill (you can add an incline to increase the intensity) then walk or jog for one minute. Repeat this 10 times and your metabolism will be revving high all day long!
Integrate Core and Balance Training
This will help you get more bang for your buck. Any exercise you do on a flat surface, try to do on a balance device. I love the BOSU ball: If you’re doing chest presses, do it on an exercise ball to work your core and stabilizers at the same time, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to reduce any risk of injury.
All those small movements you do throughout the day can add up: Stand while you’re on the phone, and pace the room while you’re on a conference call. At your desk, take breaks to reach your arms overhead for a good stretch. Take the stairs, not the elevator. As we get older, spending too much time sitting can promote joint and muscle stiffness, bad posture, back pain and ultimately lead to higher rates of injury. Make sure you get up, stretch and walk around once every hour. Even better, get a standing desk or a treadmill desk at the office.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber pushes everything through by helping the body process food more effectively. It also slows down carbohydrates’ digestion and absorption, which means your body is burning calories even after you’re done eating. Daily fiber recommendations are 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. A variety of both soluble fiber foods (apples) and insoluble high-fiber foods (whole grains) is best for supporting a healthy metabolism and digestive system.
Active Rest Days
Try to spend your rest days doing errands — grocery shopping, laundry, washing your car, etc. All of these daily activities burn calories while giving your body a much-needed break.As I’ve gotten more experienced, I’ve learned that by incorporating these things I feel more comfortable indulging a little bit each day because I know my metabolism has adequate fuel to power my body!
Does Morning Workouts Boost Metabolism?
Ah, the fresh air, the solitude, the relative quiet of early morning. If you are a morning person, there is nothing like getting a jump-start on the day by revving up your body’s engine. But if you’re a night-owl, the idea of getting up before the crack of dawn and lacing up your running shoes may sound like sheer insanity. Yet some fitness experts insist that an early morning workout will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories.
Does Morning Workout Burn More Calories?
When it comes to keeping fit, early risers may decide a morning workout suits their work schedule. However, if you are waking up early for an extra metabolic kick, you may be disappointed. Working out in the morning does not burn more calories than exercising later in the day. This does not mean that you should skip a morning workout. The willingness, or convenience of a morning workout can help you stay consistent with your fitness program and burn more calories.
Advantage of Morning Workouts
One advantage to working out in the morning is that it puts your fitness program on the front burner, and beginning your day with a focus on fitness may help you make better food and activity choices throughout the day. But if you are not a morning person and getting up early means losing sleep, the idea of a morning metabolic boost may backfire. Sleep deprivation will upset your body’s chemistry and slow your metabolism. The bottom line is: the best time of day to work out is the time that works best for you, some people do best in the morning and some do best at other times of the day.
Workouts and Metabolism
Working out at any time of day will speed up your metabolism, and it will stay raised for a while after you stop working out. A morning workout may help you burn a few more calories early on, but your morning metabolic boost will gradually fade. On the other hand, a regular resistance training program performed at a time of day that best suits you will maximize lean body mass, increasing your metabolism so you burn more calories all day long.
Your Body’s Natural Rhythms
We all have our own unique biological rhythms, known as circadian rhythms, that dictate energy levels throughout the day. Circadian rhythms are governed by hormones and are genetically determined. They explain why your energy dips in the middle of the day and why it’s hard for some people to get to sleep before midnight. In a study presented at the 2004 assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, scientists found that, for many people, lung and muscle functions are at their peak in the late afternoon. The study suggested that exercise may be most beneficial at that time of day, rather than morning.
Nutrition and Metabolism
If you want to boost your morning metabolism, try eating breakfast. A breakfast of complex carbohydrates such as fruit or whole grains will rev things up as your digestive system works to break food down. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day will keep up the elevated levels. Skipping meals, however, will cause your metabolism to drop to conserve blood sugar.
Calories Versus Fat
When it comes to exercise, burning fat and calories are often used interchangeably, but they’re different. When you exercise, your body burns the calories you consume from food and the fat stored in your body to sustain energy during the workout and recovery. How much fat or calories you burn depends on the amount of food you have eaten and the duration of the exercise. For instance, if you exercise in a fasted state, your body would use your fat storage as fuel. Eventually, you burn through your muscle to sustain your energy level if you workout intensely on an empty stomach.
The Breakfast Question
Exercising on an empty stomach can help you burn 20 percent more fat, according to a study published in a 2013 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition.” However, the researcher noted that these are short-term findings in a limited study of ten males. More extensive research produced conflicting results. Fitness author, Brad Schonfield, published in a 2011 issue of the “Strength and Conditioning Journal” found that exercising in a fasted state makes it difficult to train – even at a moderate level, which will lead to less calories burnt than exercising after a meal. Schonfield also warns that exercising on an empty stomach can lead to a loss of muscular strength. Columbia Health states that exercising in a fasted state will not boost weight loss and may lead to eating more calories later in the day.
The Best Time to Workout
The best time to exercise depends on your personal circumstances. If you are more willing to exercise in the morning, you burn the same calories as someone who worked out during the day (everything being equal). Factors such as cooler weather in the morning than later in the day, or having more energy in the morning can increase your likelihood of exercising more vigorously. And research have shown that vigorous exercise, such as high-intensity interval training leads to more calories burned during and after a workout.
Whether you exercise in the morning or not, preparing your body for exercise can help you burn more calories. Give your body time to digest and absorb the food you have eaten. If you are working out in the morning right after you wake up, choose a light breakfast of about 300 calories, such as a whole meal bagel with peanut butter spread, or a fruit smoothie, an hour before you exercise. You can have larger meals of 500 calories or more, if you are exercising three to four hours later, according to Columbia Health. Eating sugary food causes a quick increase in your blood sugar, but it will also lead to a quick drop, which may cause light-headedness during your workout.