Factors like your age, body type and sex all come into play when it comes down to having a speedy, or sputtering metabolism. While this sounds kind of depressing and solves mysteries like why your body acts a little differently at 25 than it did at 15, and how your boyfriend can seemingly grow a six-pack overnight, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Revving up that all-important internal fat-scorching engine that helps our body do just about everything is as easy as making a few simple lifestyle fixes. Read on for ways to turn up the burn:
Eat Breakfast (No, Really)
Yes, this cliché© advice has been touted time and time again, but a lot of us never really listen to it. Sometimes that extra five minutes of sleep, or dashing out the door in time to get a good spot in the queue at Starbucks seems much more crucial. But here’s the science behind the most important meal of the day: your metabolism is at its peak in the a.m., and it’s really all downhill after that. So take the time to give your body that much-needed boost, and avoid a sluggish afternoon slump.
Grab a Cup of Java
It turns out that your morning caffeine fix not only snaps you out of sleepy-eyed slumber, it’s also been proven to kick your metabolism into gear. Upping your heart rate and breathing, coffee’s body-boosting effects can last hours after sipping. So go ahead and fill ‘er up. (As if we needed another reason to indulge in our morning ritual.)
. . . Or Green Tea
Not a big coffee drinker? No problem, brew yourself a mug of this healthy alternative instead. Long loved for its generous dose of antioxidants and mild taste, green tea also boasts impressive fat-burning benefits. According to studies, downing two to four cups may burn an extra 50 calories per day (which can add up to an extra five pounds lost per year).
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
We’ve all heard how important H20 is to our health. There are many, many reasons to make sure you stay hydrated, and here’s another one: your body needs water to burn calories. So, if you’re even slightly dehydrated, you can say hello to a slower metabolism. Do yourself a favour, and follow up that latte with a glass of cold H20.
Building lean muscle (think Jennifer Aniston, not The Incredible Hulk) with regular strength training not only helps to keep you toned and taut, it also kick starts your resting metabolic rate. What this means, is that even while you’re doing absolutely nothing, your body will be at work, burning an extra 6 calories per pound of muscle mass daily, even on days that you don’t make it to the gym.
Pack Your Plate with Protein
Your body works harder and longer to digest lean protein than it does if you load up on fat or carbs, meaning you’ll torch far more calories in the long run with this smart food choice. Upping your protein intake will also work to maintain any lean muscle gym gains—helping to keep your metabolism working overtime, even at rest.
Eat Smart, Nosh Often
Fueling up with healthy food choices frequently throughout the day curbs hunger and keeps your metabolism running smoothly. By eating six small meals a day, or noshing every three to four hours, you’ll turn up the fat burn and keep your blood sugar steady. Slashing calories, or eating haphazardly—i.e. you skip breakfast, eat next to nothing for lunch and pig out at dinner—will only scare your body into slowing to a crawl and storing fat.
When it comes to getting the most out of your cardio workout, interval training takes the cake. By alternating short bursts of high intensity exercise with moderate or lower intensity moves (think sprinting followed by light jogging), you’ll get a much bigger burn than sweating it out at a static pace. Studies have shown that incorporating intervals into your workouts will skyrocket your metabolism into blasting three times as much flab than the slow and steady alternative. Another benefit to regularly getting your sweat on? Your bod will keep reaping the metabolism-revving rewards for hours post-workout.
Skip the Cocktails
Not to be a party pooper, but it turns out that alcohol may be one of the biggest offenders when it comes to maintaining a healthy metabolism. Just two glasses of your favourite vino can hit the brakes on any fat-burning power by over 70 percent. The reason? Since your body can’t store alcohol, it has to work hard to metabolize it, and that long process takes priority over everything else. To keep things running at full speed, try cutting back on the cocktails, or sober up altogether.