When someone says they want to “boost their metabolism,” what they usually mean is that they want to burn more calories as part of an effort to lose weight.
That line of thinking isn’t entirely wrong, but your metabolism actually does a lot more than just burn calories. In reality, it’s a complicated system that includes almost every chemical reaction that takes place within your cells and provides energy for most of your body’s vital processes. In other words, your metabolism encompasses way more than the process of burning up the calories from the food you eat, which means that its efficiency, or “speed,” is reliant on many different factors.
Your metabolism is dependent on everything from the types of foods you eat to the amount of sleep that you get each night. Thanks to genetics, some people have “speedier” metabolisms than others. However, there are some scientifically backed things you can do to make yours work a little more quickly. And, if you make these habits a part of your morning routine, chances are it will help to naturally boost your calorie burn all day long.
Wake Up With 16 Ounces of Water
One study led by German scientists found that drinking about 17 ounces of water immediately after waking up in the morning can boost your metabolism by about 30 percent for up to an hour or more. While the authors of the study told WebMD that this increase only adds up to a few calories per day, it’s still a good idea to start your morning with a glass of H2O and continue hydrating throughout the day. “Staying hydrated is important to maintaining overall health,” explained Brandon Cheeks, a NASM certified personal trainer at Balanced Fitness & Health in San Diego, Calif. “It helps the body to expel toxins, keeps skin clear and moisturized, and keeps muscles energized.”
Eat a Breakfast High in Fiber and Protein
Sarah Waybright, a registered dietitian and the founder of Why Food Works said that eating to prevent large spikes in insulin, which cause the body to store fat, is one of the most effective strategies for speeding up your metabolism. She suggested avoiding refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugary drinks (including fruit juices) and choosing nutrient-rich foods that are high in protein and fiber, like eggs oatmeal or fresh fruit. Not only will this help to keep your insulin levels stable, but it will also help you feel full and satiated for a longer period of time.
Never Skip Breakfast
Ditch the idea that you’ll “save calories” by skipping out on breakfast. A large body of research suggests that eating breakfast is essential to good health. One study from the Harvard University School of Public Health found that skipping breakfast even just once per week could increase your risk for type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. The study’s lead author, Rania Mekary, explained this is because our insulin levels are “flat” when we go to sleep, and if we don’t “break our fast” upon waking up, those levels can drop and are more likely to spike and then crash when we finally eat lunch. So, make sure to wake your body up right by eating a nutritious breakfast on a regular basis.
Work Out in the Morning
“Waking up an hour earlier to go for a jog or lift some weights might sound unappealing,” Cheeks said. “But taking this extra step can help improve metabolism and burn calories all day.” One study found that 45 minutes of cardio exercise helped to speed up energy expenditure for up to 14 hours afterwards. Thanks to an effect called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC), the more intensely you work out, the more calories you’ll continue to burn throughout the day. Plus, keeping a regular exercise routine can help maintain your body’s sensitivity to insulin. “Keeping the body sensitive to insulin is also crucial,” Waybright said. “If cells are not responsive to it, the pancreas produces more and more to achieve an effect, which over time leads to diabetes and facilitates weight gain.”
Incorporate Strength Training
Every balanced workout routine should include some strength training, and especially if it’s your goal to burn more calories. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means your body must expend energy to maintain it. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn even when your body is at rest. Plus, adding some high-intensity, bodyweight moves to your morning workout can elevate your heart rate and, as mentioned earlier, help you burn more calories throughout the day as a result of EPOC.
Published: 05/10/2015. By The Active Times
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