Your metabolism is the rate at which your body can burn calories to create heat and Renewable Energy. Changing your metabolism is most effective over time as it is hard to gauge short term metabolic changes. Often people say to be me that I’m blessed to have a high metabolism. I have to say that while I’m certainly grateful to have a high motabolism, I don’t feel blessed with it as metabolism is not strictly a factor of genetics or your heredity. Your metabolism is something that is shaped over time based on your lifestyle, your habits and activities you engage with in life. This means that your metabolism is largely a result of your choices and actions, regardless of how easy it is to put the blame elsewhere. There are certainly many ways to boost your metabolism and they come in groups that I believe are short term and others are long term so I’ve presented them in that way in this article.
You body automatically reacts to not having food when you wake and will go into a slow metabolic rate for its automatic response to starvation. This can only be eliminated by eating a decent breakfast every single day. Studies show eating a bigger breakfast and shifting your calorie intake earlier in the day helps to increase your metabolic burn rate, reduce weight gain and the risk of obesity (published in the American Journal of Epidemiology).
While I can’t stand coffee myself and prefer to avoid it for its negative side effects (particularly vein constriction from the brain), it is found in numerous studies (one published in the journal Physiology and Behavior) that coffee and other caffeinated drinks increase your metabolic rate and stimulate your breathing and heart rate. Its a quick action drug, highly addictive and can boost your metabolism by at about 10 percent.
Muscles burn calories, even while resting. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn in any given activity. So strength training does 2 things, it increases your body’s temperature, which raises your metabolic rate on its own, and it builds muscle which will then increase your metabolic rate since more muscles burn more calories.
Long Term Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
Changing your metabolism is most effective over time as it is hard to gauge short term metabolic changes. The more you improve or increase your metabolism the more energy you will have, more active you can be and the easier it will be to either loose weight or stay fit with an active lifestyle. Here are some of the ways to increase your metabolism over a longer time frame.
Both what you eat and how you eat have a big impact on your metabolism. There are numerous foods that improve your digestion and boost your metabolism. Ginger and fruit juices are high in enzymes that improve digestion. Honey is a great antiseptic and helpful to the digestive system as well. Lemon helps to cleanse the liver for more efficient fat processing. Cinnamon helps to metabolize sugars in the body. These are all great to add to your breakfast menu. Cayenne is another metabolic rate booster and could easily be added to a drink mix. Yogurt, nuts with high fatty acids and high energy foods like whole grains and fruits/vegetables are excellent additions to your regular diet. Avoid processed and refined sugars and replace them with simple carbohydrates. Spicy foods that increase your temperature (or cause a sweat) are also very good metabolism boosters.
Eat a large healthy breakfast (no, that doesn’t include 6 pieces of fatty bacon each day) and reduce the size of your lunch and dinner portions and replace that with eating small meals or healthy snacks more often throughout the day. Various supplements can also help to boost metabolism, the simplest being vitamin C which helps to produce carnitine, an amino acid needed to burn fat. Another nutrient that helps is calcium from dairy products as Calcium helps to increase the rate your body gets rid of fat as waste.
Simple exercise like walking can have a very positive effect on raising your metabolic rate. The extra muscle activity in large muscles increase your body temperature, burns calories and develops lean muscle to also help burn fat. Walking is also very good for digestion if done after meals. Additional exercise and workouts that build muscle continue to raise your metabolism for the next 48-72 hours as muscles recover and then future use of muscles enable higher calorie burn rates. The old myth of muscles burning a high amount calories even while resting is only true for a short time after training.
Weight training and high effort exercise are anaerobic and tend to burn more carbohydrates than fat during the exercise but they keep the muscles burning fat for several hours afterwards when high oxygen levels are available. Aerobic exercises maintain higher levels of oxygen during the muscle activity and can be even greater at improving your metabolism. They have the same after effects but during an aerobic workout, your muscles will still have higher oxygen levels, and since fat requires oxygen to burn completely, aerobic exercise will do more to burn fat directly. Any good cardio workout is aerobic and will burn more calories during the workout than strength training for the same duration.
Regardless of your choice of exercise, doing it regular will have very positive effects on your metabolism as well. Elevated heart rate exercise done with high intensity will even make you burn more calories for several hours after the activity. The more active you are, the more likely your cardiovascular system is to supplying enough oxygen for cells to burn fat for energy. This is also why an unfit person becomes out of breath so quickly when they engage in a new exercise. Iit quickly becomes anaerobic and the muscles do not get the oxygen they need so they burn carbs instead of fat.
Quality Sleep Habits
Sleep plays an important role in the health of our bodies and it is related to our metabolism directly as well. Sleep is not all about the amount of time you sleep for as so many people are led to believe. The real factor is sleep quality, which includes how well you sleep and how consistent your sleep patterns are to ensure a healthy, quality sleep. A quality sleep is when you get and feel well rested and your body has had the REM stage sleep time that it needs. There are ways to increase your REM stage and get to REM faster and that is what I mean by quality sleep. The biggest factor in quality sleep is the pattern of sleep that you have. Your body works with an internal biological clock and each person has natural tendencies for wakefulness. Following a pattern that is in line with your natural wakefulness and staying very consistent with it will ensure you have a quality sleep pattern.
Your wakefulness is directly tied to metabolism as your body will naturally reduce its metabolic rate as sleep onset approaches and your wakefulness levels decrease. Therefore any exercising or activities you do to benefit from for boosting your metabolism is best done when you already have high alert levels. If you are already fighting your biological clock and natural alert levels, it will take much more effort to activate and raise your metabolism. On the other hand, if you are most active when your alert level is highest as well, you will benefit from already active and easily raised metabolic levels. Your wakefulness levels and internal clock affect many of these other areas, such as diet as well. Unfortunately, most people never take the time to learn about their true natural wakefulness and leave themselves fooled by sleep deprivation or habits driven by their social environment to lead them into thinking they understand their sleep needs, when in reality, they do not. This impacts many things they do and can seriously hinder attempts to boost your metabolism.
Lots of Water
Water is not only a great appetite suppressant but also super at flushing our sodium and toxic from the body. Often people who do not drink enough water feel hungry as its the body’s signal to want food (and water from those foods) when not properly hydrated. Cold water also increases your metabolism since your body must do work to heat your core temperature back up and is great for flushing toxins. Water keeps you hydrated and it’s a lubricant for inside the body.
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