While it’s true that our metabolism naturally slows down as we get older, these tips can help people of all ages and sizes optimize their daily calorie burn.
Aerobic exercise is key!
You probably already know that aerobic exercise (like running, brisk walking, swimming, and bike riding), helps rev up your metabolism and thus burns calories while you’re doing it. But did you know that aerobic activities also cause your metabolism to stay revved up for a period of time after exercising? With that in mind, aim for 30-plus minutes of cardiovascular activity every day (or at least five days a week).
Strength training revs your engine.
It’s true what they say about muscle burning more calories than fat: The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn 24/7 — even when you’re sitting still! So when it comes to exercise, you’ll want to take a two prong approach: Aim for 30-plus minutes of cardiovascular activity every day (or at least five days a week) plus two to three days a week of strength-training exercise (like push ups, lunges, planks, and light weight lifting).
Eat at least 1,000 calories each day.
Dieting is a temporary fix. Period. And, often, fad diets slow down the very thing you’re trying to speed up when trying to lose weight — your metabolism. So, if you want to burn the pounds,make sure you keep your engine fired up with small, healthy meals throughout the day.
Your body and metabolism thrive on food. When you fast, crash diet, or restrict your intake to 1,000 calories or below, your metabolism will respond by slowing down to conserve energy. Imagine your metabolism as a blazing fire — feed the fire consistently with wood and it continues to burn at a good rate, but if you run out of wood the fire goes out. Even when you’re cutting calories to lose weight, it’s important to feed your fire and keep your metabolism at its optimal level by eating at least 1000 calories a day.
Use Coconut Oil
Yes, it’s true: We have to eat fat to lose fat. But not all fats are created equal — and not all fats are healthy. One of the best fats to boost a sluggish metabolism is non-hydrogenated coconut oil. This fat is a saturated fat, but don’t be alarmed — it’s actually good for you. A medium-chain saturated fat, it promotes healthy weight loss by encouraging fat burning. You can cook the oil (it’s highly heat stable) or you can add it to a smoothie or drink (take about two tablespoons per day).
Many are still in the dark about the profound implications of sleep — or lack thereof. Your biological rhythm of sleeping and waking, also known as your circadian rhythm, is intricately tied to your metabolism. Researchers have discovered proper sleep may help maintain or re-balance your calorie-burning fire — this could help explain why lack of rest or disruption of normal sleep patterns can increase hunger, leading to obesity-related illnesses and accelerated aging. If you deprive yourself of enough hours of sleep, you’re effectively disrupting metabolism. Try and hit the hay before 11 p.m. for optimal fat burning potential.
Include lean protein with every meal.
Eating all types of food creates a thermic effect and will raise metabolism after consumption. However, protein results in a greater metabolic boost than carbohydrates or fats. Plus, eating an appropriate amount of protein will ensure you’re able to maintain and build muscle mass (the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism). Make sure to incorporate lean protein into every meal and get the right amount each day. How much do you need? A simple rule of thumb is 50 percent of your ideal body weight in grams. So, for example, if you want to get down to 140 pounds, aim for 70 grams of protein each day. (Note: If you’re a serious athlete you’ll need more.) The best protein sources include skinless poultry, fish and seafood, lean meat, low-fat and nonfat dairy, beans, lentils, and soy.