Wednesday, September 26, 2007
10 Ways to Rev Your Metabolism
10 Ways to Rev Your Metabolism
By Jason Knapfel eDiets Contributor
Your body is a lean, mean, fat-burning machine just waiting to happen! All you need is the knowledge and determination, and your extra weight will be gone in no time. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to make drastic changes. Try these 10 simple tweaks to your lifestyle, and you will
1. Lift weights. Muscle is the key to a high metabolism. Gals, that doesn’t mean you have to look like a female wrestler. Building lean, sleek muscles ups your calorie-burning. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) accounts for 60 to 70 percent of your daily calorie expenditure, and it’s closely linked to the amount of muscle you have. Muscle burns more calories than fat… even while you sleep!
2. Get moving with your cardiovascular exercise. When you perform cardio, enzymes are produced that break down fat and enable the body to use it as an energy resource. The average person has 100,000 calories worth of fat stored on their body -- roughly enough to run for 200 hours. For fat to be burned as energy, oxygen needs to be produced. People with a high cardio capacity are able to burn fat very easily because their bodies are efficient at delivering oxygen to muscle cells.
“There’s a fitness term called the ‘after burn’,” says eDiets Chief Fitness Pro Raphael Calzadilla. “This refers to the calories that you burn 24 to 48 hours after your exercise session. What that means to you is a faster metabolism that burns fat at an accelerated rate.”
3. Try interval training. Your body has an amazing ability to adjust to routine. If you don’t change things up, you can get stuck in a rut. Try interval training -- bursts of high-intensity moves -- to boost metabolism. Studies show that people who do interval training twice a week, in addition to cardio, lose twice as much weight as those who do just a regular cardio workout. Just insert a 30-second sprint into your jog every five minutes or add a one-minute incline walk to your treadmill routine.
4. Don't overdo calorie-cutting. If you ingest too many calories, you gain weight, but if you restrict your calorie intake too much, it’s a surefire way to keep the pounds on. That may sound strange, but what your body is doing is entering survival mode. Your body is programmed to defend itself. If you suddenly drop a bunch of calories from your diet, your resting metabolic rate will slow down, because your body makes the assumption that you are starving.
Depending on your level of activity, you can safely lose anywhere from half a pound to two pounds a week. The easiest way to figure out your needs is to multiply your current weight by 11. So, if you're 150 pounds, aim for around 1,650 calories a day. Unless you're less than five feet tall, don't let your daily calories dip below 1,200. Research shows that women who consume less than this amount see their resting metabolic rate plummet by as much as 45 percent!
5. Eat breakfast. Some of you out there just don’t have an appetite in the morning. Some just don’t have time. But breakfast may just be the most important meal of the day. Your metabolism slows when you’re asleep, and it doesn't rev back up until you eat again. If you skip breakfast, you’re talking upwards of 18-20 hours since your last meal! That’s a recipe for disaster. Start the day with a solid 300 to 400-calorie meal, preferably high in fiber.
6. Space your meals wisely. If you find that you get frequent snack attacks, kick-start your metabolism and curb your appetite by dividing your meals into five to six small, nutritious meals a day instead of three squares. Eat a 200-400 calorie mini-meal every three to four hours. Your body will expend more energy to digest the food and your metabolic rate will increase. If this is too much to handle, revert back to the three meals, but make them slightly smaller and add a couple snacks strategically placed mid-morning and afternoon.
7. Catch some zzz’s. According to studies, sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body’s metabolism, which may make it more difficult to lose weight. People who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake because sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. Make sure you get in your eight hours or more of shut-eye every night.
8. Drink water. Researchers in Germany have found that drinking water may increase the rate at which you burn calories. Study participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30 percent after consuming approximately 17 ounces of water. The energy-burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively. Water also fills you up, curbs your appetite, flushes out your system and rids the body of bloat. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses per day, even more if you’re active.
9. Skip alcohol. Thinking about throwing back a couple before dinner? Not so fast. Several studies show that having a drink before a meal causes people to eat around 200 more calories. Drinking with dinner isn't such a good idea either: Other research has found that the body burns off alcohol first, meaning that the calories in the rest of the meal are more likely to be stored as fat. If you do have a cocktail craving, stick to wine, which packs only 80 calories a glass -- or minimize the calories by drinking a white-wine spritzer (two ounces of wine mixed with two ounces of seltzer).
10. Drink milk. If you’re not lactose intolerant, don’t shy away from low-fat dairy. Women who consumed milk, yogurt and cheese, three to four times a day, lost 70 percent more body fat than women who didn't eat dairy in a study published in the American Society for Nutritional Sciences Journal of Nutrition. The reason: Calcium, along with other substances in dairy, actually revs up your metabolism, according to the study. Research shows that women reap the largest fat-burning benefit when they consume three servings of dairy and 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.