Our bodies are built to be efficient calorie (energy) torching machines, but thanks to modern day diet and lifestyle choices most of us aren't running at top speed.
The biggest problem with this is that it affects a lot more than just our waistlines. Every system within the body benefits from a strong metabolism. It boosts immune response, aides digestion, increases sex drive, balances hormones, keeps our brain firing on all cylinders, and much more. (1)
Yes, genetics, gender, and age all play a role in establishing your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body needs to function at rest), but there are lots of ways to proactively boost your metabolism on a daily basis too. Number 5 is my favorite.
I preach it from the rooftops, but please get in that morning liter of water plus another 2-3 throughout the day. Yes, that's 32 ounces x4. Dehydration is a major culprit for a slow metabolism and one reason you may be holding on to excess weight. Being properly hydrated keeps your cells functioning efficiently and effectively - which means you have more energy and burn more calories throughout the day. It's a win, win! For an extra boost, try sipping a cup of green tea in the afternoon too.
2. Smarter, not longer workouts.
Instead of running 3 miles on the treadmill or spending 45-minutes on the elliptical, try mixing things up by lifting weights and incorporating a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout 2-3x/week. These workouts aren't just time efficient, they also boost your metabolism by building lean muscle mass and create an afterburn effect that lasts well past your time spent working out.
3. Say no to diets.
Sure, you may lose weight initially by cutting calories and decreasing carbs at mealtime. But sooner or later our metabolism catches on and starts slowing down to conserve energy (and fat!) - making us moody, tired, and famished. Exactly what you don't want.
I can't stress enough how important it is to make sure you're eating enough and staying properly fueled with high quality, nutritious food. That means not being afraid of consuming healthy fats, protein, and single source carbohydrates (whole grains + starchy vegetables) at every meal. This keeps your blood sugar + energy levels stable and tells your metabolism it has plenty of fuel to burn.
4. Up your protein.
In addition to making sure you're fueled with enough quality nutrition, increasing your protein ratio helps build (thanks to those HIIT workouts) and maintain muscle mass. Plus it keeps you satiated between meals - preventing the blood sugar crashes that leave us lethargic and wanting a quick boost from sugar or caffeine. A few of my favorite protein sources are hemp seeds, hard boiled eggs, wild salmon, and hummus.
How much sleep you get greatly affects metabolism, and we should all be aiming for 7-9 hours as adults. In fact, if a client isn't getting enough shut-eye, I'd rather they sleep an extra hour than make their morning workout. Why? Because being sleep-deprived means your hunger hormones (leptin + ghrelin) and blood sugar levels are going to be completely off balance the next day - leading to cravings and the desire to eat more high-carb, sugary foods as fuel.
So Tell me.
Do you incorporate any of these into your daily routine? If so, which ones? And if not, which do you think are the easiest to integrate? Let me know in the comments below!