I’ve shared before a little bit about our fitness journey, and this past summer it seemed easier with hiking trails, canoe trips and exploring new cities on our #bluesummertour. And while I’m most definitely not an expert on the subject of fitness, I’m happy to have a friend who is, and thankfully we talked about six surefire ways to boost metabolism… and I’m happily sharing them with you!
One of the things I came to realize lately, and especially on our road trip, is that staying active isn’t always easy… and for me, I can accomplish so much more with accountability and structure! Now I’m not the type of person who can happily hop on a treadmill and run it out, and I don’t love pushing through at the gym (strangely, I used to be that person YEARS ago, and since kids, I just don’t enjoy it since I’d rather just be at home with my family), but what I do enjoy is time in the great outdoors exploring life around me, and yet I also enjoy (yes actually enjoy) a workout with others in a community fitness setting. There’s nothing like a challenge and then totally breaking through that challenge together with others.
Since that was one of the ways I wanted to keep myself moving, I turned to Becky Fox of Fox Fitness and her early morning group classes to push myself a little harder than I do at home (okay, a lot harder than I do at home, because I can get lazy on my own!). While chatting with her about ways to keep that metabolism burning the right things in my body, she shared some awesome tips! So if you’re looking for a few ways to keep the fat burning fire stoked, I’m going pass those tips to boost metabolism along to you.
As we get older it’s easy to blame weight gain on a slowed metabolism. Although our metabolism does slow down slightly with age, the slowing has more to do with lifestyle changes, such as reduced activity or an unhealthy diet, than it does to the actual aging process itself. These five tips can actually rev your metabolism so that you can start shedding unwanted pounds easily and effectively.
Eat more food.
Although, it is important to reduce calories slightly for weight loss, going too far with calorie restriction can actually be detrimental to your weight loss goals in the long run. Unfortunately, many diets can actually lower your metabolism, causing you to gain more weight in the long run, and thus the reason the yo-yo phenomenon is so common.
When you severely restrict calories your metabolism will slow down in order to conserve energy. The result is a slowed metabolism and increased fat storage which becomes a major reason for weight gain within just a few weeks after a calorie restricted diet.
Instead, reduce your calories by no more than 15-20% of your daily maintenance calorie level. For most females, reducing calories to 1500 to 1700 per day to lose weight is ideal. Eat enough so you’re not hungry throughout the day, because feeling hungry is a sign that you aren’t feeding your body what it needs to function properly and efficiently.
Add more muscle.
A large reason most people’s metabolism slows as they age is because they become less active and thus lose metabolically active muscle tissue. With desk jobs, time spent in a car commuting, and chilling on the couch to watch TV shows in the evening, it’s likely your activity level is much less than it was when you were younger.
One of the BIGGEST killers of your metabolism is lack of activity. While exercises is great, a 30 minute workout only makes up about 2% of your day so it’s important to get up and get moving throughout the day.
Adding just a few pounds of muscle can increase your metabolism. The best way to do this is with regular strength training sessions that are challenging as well as regular physical activity and movement. This may mean getting up regularly for “walk” breaks or getting a fitbit or other device to track your steps and set a goal of working up to 10,000 steps per day. You could even stand at your desk instead of sitting to burn more calories, and keep the blood flowing to those legs.
Avoid too much cardio.
The key with activity and exercise is too avoid TOO much cardio. Your body will actually start burning muscle when you do too much cardio. Less muscle = Lower metabolism. You want MORE muscle to boost your metabolism. Additionally, too much cardio can make you feel hungrier so you tend to overeat. Stick to 20-30 minutes of cardio at a quicker pace to get more out of the workout and preserve muscle.
Get more protein.
Your body burns twice as many calories to digest protein than it does fats or carbohydrates. This is known as the thermic effect of food. So essentially, just eating protein can boost your metabolism. Also, it can often leave you feeling full faster and longer, so you eat less in the long run.
Additionally, protein is important because your muscles are made up of protein and so your body needs it to build and maintain hard earned muscle. If you’re not getting enough protein it’s going to be difficult to build metabolically active muscle, so make sure you are getting in ample protein, especially around your workouts.
Ideally, aim to get a 3-5 ounce serving of protein at each meal. Great sources of protein include eggs, fish, grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, or pork. Additionally, nuts and nut butters, beans, and dairy are good sources of protein too.
Spice it up more often.
Yes, certainly there are ways to get in exercise more often (excuse the slight pun above), but right now we’re talking about food and research has shown that naturally spicy foods containing capsaicin (an antioxidant in chili peppers) can actually increase the bodies metabolic rate, though just slightly. While it may not quite be enough to burn extra calories, replacing some heavier creamier meals with spicy foods will save calories, and there is research that suggests capsaicin may stimulate your brain making you feel more satisfied, and that is a good thing.
Getting in smaller meals more often instead of fewer larger meals each day with also up your metabolism, since it revs up slightly each time we eat to process what we’ve consumed.
Turn it up with water.
Your body needs water to process calories. Since many of us are walking around slightly dehydrated, our metabolisms can slow down even when we’re doing everything else right. To stay hydrated and boost metabolism, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water. (Stay tuned for tips on drinking more water easily!).
Now that travel away from home is slowing (for the near future anyway), I’ve decided to carry our summer motto of “just keep moving” into the fall season in prep for the quickly upcoming holidays. Our motto sounds curiously familiar with Dori from Finding Nemo and her encouragement to “just keep swimming” right? We all find our own strokes and can make our fitness journey happen in different ways, for me, group challenges or enjoying a fitness boost in nature is what helps me reach my goals.
What about you, I’d love to hear any tips you have for boosting metabolism or challenging yourself in fitness! Share in the comments below so we can keep this conversation going. 🙂
If you’re in the Tampa area, definitely check out Fox Fitness and let Becky help you set up a health and wellness regimen for you… it may be a nutrition kick, some group fitness pals or some private sessions that you need, and she’s ready to help you reach your own goals.