Who would say “no, thanks!” to a little bit of helping picking up the metabolism that nature and genetics have blessed you with? I’m thinking exactly no one! Self Magazine has some quick tips to help you do that. Focusing your energy on a combination of eating the right foods, exercising, sleeping and attempting to de-stress will help your metabolism rev to work better for you!
5 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism
1. Pick Protein: we mostly all know that protein is the building block of muscle – and the more muscle we have, the more energy we are burning ’round the clock. We want to make sure we fuel ourselves with what our body needs to help create and maintain our muscle, so when we do exercise we are burning fat stores, rather than muscle.
Interestingly, Self explains that your muscles can use only 30 grams of protein at any time, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Any more than that gets stored as fat, so pay attention to your serving sizes – shooting for no more than 30 grams of protein per meal, and to make sure you are getting enough, aim for a minimum of 46 g of protein per day.
2. Soothe your stress: Yes, please! In addition to making life simply more pleasant, reducing stress actually directly impacts your metabolism! Self tells us that constant anxiety can cause your adrenal gland to pump out too much cortisol. High levels of this stress hormone change how your metabolism stores fat, sending flab to the belly.
3. Exercise: Cardio and Strength training! Exercise raises your body’s internal temperature, creating inflammation and depleting your energy stores, says David C. Nieman, Ph.D., professor at Appalachian State University. “After (exercising), it takes extra energy for your body to bounce back to its normal resting state.”
In fact, just one 45-minute high-intensity workout can help increase your RMR by 37 percent for up to 14 hours post-exercise, a study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise indicates.
Strength training focuses on maintaining all-important lean muscle. Self tells us: “As you age, you start to lose some muscle mass,” says Geralyn Coopersmith, an exercise physiologist and national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. “Lifting weights helps you maintain and build on what you have, so your metabolism stays high.”
4. Snooze! Studies show that sleepless nights can actually mess with your metabolism…which is kind of like rubbing salt in a wound, right? No fair! Once again, it’s all in the hormones: interestingly (and painfully), not enough sleep increases the levels of the hormone gherkin in your body, which stimulates hunger, and decreasing levels of the hormone leptin, which tells you to stop munching—a study in Endocrine Development shows. Self also tells us that research also notes that sleep debt causes insulin resistance, interfering with how your metabolism processes fat and leading to weight gain.
In general, the sweet spot of sleep to aim for is 7-8 hours/night.
5. Eat your fruits and veggies! We’re talking both fruits and veggies here, both of which are packed with fiber and free-radical-fighting antioxidants. The fiber not only helps fill you up, but also helps maintain your blood sugar levels, ensuring your metabolism continues humming along.
Self recommends aiming for 25 g to 30 g of fiber per day. To get the most benefit for your calories, load up your plate with these 10 foods, which, in addition to having fiber, Norwegian researchers have found are high scorers when it comes to antioxidant capacity: