How to Speed Up Metabolism Naturally
Knowing how to speed up metabolism has been the objective of fitness buffs everywhere, but it’s not that easy because success depends on how quickly your body burns calories and how many calories you put in. While it’s true that metabolism slows down as you age, there are ways you can speed it up naturally. Here are some suggestions.
Muscle Building and Strength Training
One of the best ways to speed up metabolism is to build muscle. One fact that you may not know is that your body burns calories constantly even if you’re not doing anything, but burning is much faster in individuals that have more muscles. As it is, you use 6 calories per pound of muscle every day just to maintain the muscular shape, whereas a pound of fat burns only two calories daily.
This might not seem a lot but all the numbers add up and when you engage in muscle training, it will speed up metabolism naturally. A single strength training session increases your metabolic rate, and doing this on a consistent basis will increase your average metabolic rate significantly.
Intensify Your Cardio Workout
Aerobic exercises are also natural metabolism boosters, but for this to work you have to push yourself. You can’t just go through the motions, because the higher the intensity the longer and higher your resting metabolic rate will be. There will be increases in low and moderate workouts but it won’t be as effective.
If you’ve never worked out before, start by going on short, intense jogs as you go about your regular walks. Or better yet, enroll in a gym and work out with a personal trainer.
Any time you go swimming, walking or jogging, increase the intensity with intervals of 30 seconds. This strategy of combining high intensity movements with your normal speed helps your body receive more oxygen. The more oxygen your body has the more powerful your cell becomes and produces more energy.
To get started, work out for 5 minutes at 3.5 mph and then increase it to 4 mph for a full minute, and then go back to 3.5 mph for a minute and a half. Repeat the sequence five times at least twice weekly. As your body gets used to this, increase the duration of your runs as well as the number of times you do it in a week.
Drink Plenty of Water
Before you take any metabolism pills think about drinking more water first. The fact is your body requires water to burn fat, and dehydration slows down your metabolism. To stress this point, studies show that adults who drink at least 8 glasses of water a day burn more calories compared to those that that drink only 4 glasses.
Aside from drinking eight glasses a day, make it a point to drink prior to eating each snack or meal, and speaking of snacks, it’s better to snack on vegetables and fruits instead of potato chips.
What about Energy Drinks?
Some energy drinks do increase metabolism, and the fact that they’re rich in caffeine increases the amount of energy in your body. Some energy drinks also have taurine, an amino acid that burns fat and increases metabolism. However, you need to make sure there are no harmful ingredients, because some of them may lead to high blood pressure, sleep problems and anxiety.
How about Coffee and Tea?
Drinking coffee in moderation provides short term benefits in terms of increasing your metabolic rate, and there’s evidence to suggest that caffeine improves endurance while working out.
Green tea is even more beneficial because it has all the benefits of catechins and caffeine, and unlike caffeine, the metabolic surge lasts much longer. Based on the latest health studies, drinking 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day helps the body burn up to 20% more calories.
As pointed out earlier, fruits and vegetables are foods that speed up metabolism, but so does eating spicy foods because they possess natural chemicals that increase metabolism. You don’t need to consume a lot of spice either, as a tablespoon of chopped green or red chili pepper will be enough. The effect won’t be permanent if you don’t eat spicy foods on a regular basis, so you should add red pepper flakes, stews and pasta to your diet.
Aside from eating foods that boost metabolism you should eat snacks or small meals every three hours so your metabolism keeps going. Eating large meals spaced by several hours slows down metabolism, so it’s best to eat small meals with healthy snacks between them.
Don’t Forget the Protein
You can’t study how to speed up metabolism without mentioning protein, as the human body burns more calories during protein digestion compared to carbohydrates or fat. As one of the best ways to increase metabolism, you should include protein shakes in your diet and eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, meat, chicken, fish, lean beef and low-fat dairy products.
Say No to Crash Diets
When you start to research how to increase your metabolism you’ll probably run into crash diet programs, but they’re best avoided. Generally speaking, going on a diet that limits your calorie intake to less than 1800 for men and 1200 for women doesn’t help.
Crash diets do offer a temporary boost in that you shed pounds off, but you pay the price of lack of nutrition which leads to physical weakness. More importantly, crash diets rob your body of muscles which slows down metabolism, so the end result is you’ll put on more weight, lose fewer calories and end up where you started.
Take Omega 3 Fatty Acids
There are lots of metabolism booster supplements available, and one of the best is omega 3 fatty acids, which is also found in fish. The reason why omega 3 is so important is it balances blood sugar levels and is a natural anti-inflammatory, both essential for regulating metabolism.
Omega 3 also limits your body’s resistance to leptin, one of the hormones that determines how fast your body burns fat. To reap the benefits you’ll need to take 1000 to 2000 mg of omega 3 daily. If you can’t stand the taste you can go for eggs, walnuts or flaxseed that’s been enriched with omega 3 fatty acids. There are also plenty of omega 3 supplements available that don’t have that fishy taste.
Vitamins and Supplements for Boosting Metabolism
When it comes to vitamins to speed up metabolism one of the best is vitamin B complex as it metabolizes carbohydrates, proteins and fats, allowing your body to use stored energy in your body. Vitamin B1 in particular, is a major component of enzyme thiamine pyrophosphate, which is necessary to break down fats and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B2 is a part of the NADH molecule, which plays a major role in giving energy to cells, while vitamin B5 is essential for enzymes which metabolize fats, in particular coenzyme A. Coenzyme A plays a major part in breaking down and synthesizing fatty acids so you need it.
In addition, vitamin B6, niacin and iron boost metabolism by helping produce L-carnitine, one of the amino acids that encourages burning of body fats. In a study conducted at Vanderbilt University, it was established that L-carnitine is synthesized and stored in your muscle tissues and helps fatty acids get into the mitochondria, producing energy in the process. Furthermore, L-carnitine releases triglycerides in your blood, and from there it goes into your muscles and is converted into energy.
There are a few more supplements you’ll want to take:
- Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10 is involved in energy cell production, and because it increases the amount of cells in your body, your muscles become larger and efficient. Aside from boosting metabolism, Coenzyme Q10 enables people with a heart condition to work out and burn calories.
In the August 2012 issue of Journal of Applied Physiology, a report was published proving that CoQ10 enhances mitochondria functions and improves exercise endurance.
- Creatine: this is one of the most widely used compounds for building muscles. In a study published in the book Skeletal Muscle: Pathology, Diagnosis and Management of Disease, the researchers established that creatine increases muscle strength by at least 15%, findings which are supported by another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. According to the Journal, creatine supplements, when combined with a healthy diet and workouts, reduces body fat significantly.
- Iron: iron transports oxygen to the muscles and helps burn fat. If you’re lacking in iron your energy levels will be low and so will your metabolic rate. By increasing your iron intake, your aerobic capacity gets a boost, and there will be improvements in athletic performance and increased physical endurance.
Figuring out how to speed up metabolism isn’t that difficult as some people make it out to be. As you can see above, there’s no secret formula and the sources are naturally available. All it really takes is willingness on your part to go on a proper diet and exercise. The most difficult part is getting started but once you’ve taken the first steps, you’ll be on your way to getting rid of those extra pounds.