Metabolism is a funny thing and very individualistic. Ever noticed how some people can devour a whole bowl of ice cream without gaining weight and your waistline increases after just a couple of spoons. The answer lies with metabolism, the engine in your body that burns calories all day, every day. So, increasing your metabolism is a key aspect and who wouldn’t want to stay healthy without much effort?
Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. – Denis Waitley
The painstaking fact is, your metabolism slows down as you age, by a lot. You start losing muscle and store more fat. That’s why you see most people gain weight suddenly after 30. After 40, it slows down at a rate of knots.
That doesn’t mean weight gain is inevitable. By eating proper food and being smart in your lifestyle, you can increase and boost your metabolism without too much effort. Are you interested in increasing your metabolism? Here are some easy steps that you can take.
Don’t crash diet
This is the biggest mistake I see over and over again. Cutting down calories drastically isn’t the best way to lose weight. I discussed metabolic compensation in one of my previous articles when your metabolism slows down to limit burning calories and maintain basic bodily functions due to starvation.
There’s an easier solution to this. Just cut down your calorie intake by 300-500 every day. losing weight is a long-term process, so keep patience. Don’t let your metabolism get affected to this cause once it slows down, you’ll have an even harder time to restore it than to lose weight.
Eat breakfast, a large one
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day in terms of increasing metabolism but seldom we really follow that. Our culture is kind of messy where we tend to eat more as the day goes on, which is quite the opposite. Your metabolism slows down when you sleep, hence it doesn’t ramp back up until you eat again. So, if you skip breakfast, your body won’t burn as many calories until the lunchtime.
It’s true that many people can’t eat breakfast after waking up. For that reason, doing exercise in the morning is really beneficial. You burn more calories and since you get hungry, you tend to eat a big breakfast. Aim for a breakfast which has fiber-rich carbs and high protein.
Take more natural protein
Protein has a direct effect of increasing your metabolism as the body breaks it down to amino acids. Too many times, I notice that we take bowls of rice but very few protein sources, a small piece of chicken or fish compared to the rest. The balanced diet is important and we need to make sure at least 20 grams of protein per meal.
Protein not only increases metabolism but it has a tendency to make you feel full. As a result, you tend to eat less and cut your calories without much effort.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? You might be wondering why should I eat often to lose weight? When you eat regularly, your metabolism revs up. So rather than eating three big meals, it’s better to have one big breakfast and 4 small meals throughout the day.
Try not to have 4 hours of duration between meals and make sure to include small protein sources. Frequent snacks don’t mean binging on biscuits or junk foods.
Carbs are not the devil
When you are an athlete, you need carbs, there’s no way around it. Not all the carbs are equal, and try to take in more complex carbohydrates. Stuff like oats, sweet potatoes, brown bread, etc. are very beneficial for the body and gives you far more sustainable energy throughout the day.
End the day with milk
When you go to sleep, your body starts repairing itself and slows down the metabolism. Milk contains casein, the slow absorbing protein. It provides energy to the body even after you sleep, keeping the metabolism high. Also, the added protein helps with the recovery process. An easy way in improving your metabolism.
I have mentioned before the benefits of strength training before. Adding one or two pounds of muscle is just enough to raise the metabolic rate anywhere from 6-8 percent. The great thing is, you don’t have to do much to reap the benefits.
In fact, just doing around 20 minutes 2-3 days per week is enough for increasing your metabolism and keep the weight gain in check.
Add intervals in your workouts
Just like strength training, adding small bursts of intervals in your daily life is highly productive. People who do interval training twice a week, lose twice as much as those who just keep at a steady pace. You can easily incorporate such bursts without putting too much effort.
Next time you go out for a bike ride or a jog, just add 30-second sprint in every 5 minutes or so. Once you break your rhythm, you keep your body guessing and increasing your metabolism in the process.
I know we spend a lot of time at the office sitting. Sedentary life has a high impact on slowing down metabolism. Why not, get up from your chair for five minutes every hour. Just walk or do something different. All these add up, and you’ll be surprised to find out that you can burn a couple of hundred calories just by this habit.
Sleep has a direct correlation with the metabolic rate. When you skip sleep, your body slows down significantly. Not only that but sleeping on the proper time is also crucial. Study shows that our body is primed for recovery from 11 pm till 3 am during sleep. After that, the significant benefits reduce. So even if you get a good 8 hours of sleep, it won’t mean much if you go to sleep at 5 am in the morning.
Sleep when it’s beneficial, even if it’s only for 5-6 hours. It would boost your metabolism rapidly.
Drink more water
Most of us are guilty of not taking enough water daily but did you know consuming water increases your metabolic rate? Taking around half a liter of water can increase the metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour. Water also has the tendency to fill you up hence you tend to take in fewer calories in the process.
No matter how individualistic one’s metabolism is, you can always improve it. Making small changes in your lifestyle can have a huge impact on increasing your metabolism. The result? You’ll be more energetic, you’ll lose less muscle and most importantly, keeping optimum weight with freedom of binge eating once a while.
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