5 Ways to Stoke Your Metabolism
Amanda C-P May 19, 2008
Simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. No earth-shattering breakthroughs that are impossible to implement here. Just easy ways to get your metabolic fire blazing. Make these five tips habit and you’ll burn more calories, boost energy, and look and perform better.
1. Don’t skip breakfast.
When you wake up in the morning, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the day. The second you eat something, your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. Not sure what to eat? Try a protein-packed breakfasts.
2. Eat every three hours.
When the body has to digest food, it has to work to break it down into a usable form. The fancy term for this is “the thermic effect.” It simply means that every time you eat, your body has to rev up the furnace to break that food down. That doesn’t mean you should eat huge meals every three hours. Simply eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats in portions that are correct for your size and activity level.
3. Include a lean protein source with every meal.
Eating protein is like throwing lighter fluid onto the fire in that wood burning stove. When choosing your protein, remember that fewer legs equals better protein. In other words, fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken—also healthy choices—have two legs. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the only way to go. Read our primer on protein for more.
4. Perform intervals.
For a period after training, the body burns more calories during what’s called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training. Weight training and circuit training will rev up the metabolism, as will interval training. Bottom line: All training will create EPOC, but these exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Try to do them four days per week and save the long easy sessions for your recovery days.
5. Drink green tea.
Green tea has a natural component that helps to speed up the metabolism. Not the box tea, but brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins that stimulate the body to burn calories (rev up the metabolic furnace). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that drinking four cups of green tea per day reduces body fat. Added bonus? Catechins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, and may help control cholesterol levels.