So, this is the big week you’ve been waiting for… the very first week of 2012! Perhaps you’ve decided this is the year you will make significant health changes.
I sincerely wish you a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2012. I hope it really is your best year yet!
Most people think of making at least some changes at the beginning of a new year, and particularly with the aftermath of Christmas very fresh in their minds.
I recently asked my Facebook friends for any topics they’d like to see covered on Dietriffic this year.
Paul suggested an article on kickstarting metabolism following Christmas. That is something we’ve discussed in the past, but it’s definitely worthwhile looking at again.
Perhaps you know someone who is always eating, but they never seem to gain a single pound.
This person isn’t just “lucky,” it’s highly likely that their metabolism is simply higher, meaning they burn calories pretty quickly.
But, what exactly is metabolism?
Metabolism is basically a collection of chemical reactions, which take place in the body’s cells.
When we eat, it is our metabolism that converts food into the energy we need to power everything we do, from thinking to exercising.
It’s common knowledge that metabolism drops as you get older. This is due to muscle loss and hormonal changes.
However, you can halt this process with regular exercise and changes to your diet — a slow metabolism doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of growing older for you.
So, what can you do to boost metabolism?
This is actually the most important thing you can do to boost metabolism.
This is because a regular workout routine will increase your muscle mass, and that leads to a boost in metabolism.
1. Lift Weights
If you don’t currently do some form of strength training, it’s time to start. And, it’s never to late to begin, either, so don’t let age put you off.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about bulking up like a body builder. However, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn all day long.
So, you need to make sure you are lifting weights during two of your workouts each week.
If you don’t have your own dumbbells, for example, body weight exercises can be very effective, too.
2. Workout Harder
For your workouts to be effective you need to work hard. That’s the bad news!
However, the good news is that you don’t need to work out for a long time.
Your workouts could actually be more effective, if you focus on working harder for a shorter time.
So, if you run, rather than running at the same pace every day, add bursts of faster running, which last for about 60 seconds, throughout your workout.
This added intensity will increase your caloric after-burn, as your body recovers from the workout you have just put it through.
Here’s an article on interval training workouts, if you need more information.
1. Don’t Skip Meals
Nothing kills your metabolism like skipping meals.
When you skip meals, the body responds by immediately slowing your resting metabolic rate (RMR). So, if you skip meals regularly, your RMR may remain permanently low.
The solution is very simple… three meals, with snacks between (as appropriate), every single day.
2. Eat Enough
You should also check that your calorie intake isn’t below 1,200 calories, since a very low calorie intake can lead to a slower metabolism.
If you’re not sure how many calories you consume, keep a food diary for a few days, then enter the data into a calorie counter like Calorie Count.
In some cases actually increasing your calorie intake can help to get your metabolism going again, if you haven’t been eating enough.
An additional 250 to 450 extra calories can make all the difference, encouraging your body to stop holding onto fat, and allow weight loss to take place.
3. Include Protein
Slightly increasing your protein intake, and slightly decreasing your carbohydrate intake, may also help.
As a general rule, you should eat a small amount of lean protein at every meal to keep your metabolism working hard.
4. Add Spices
Adding a little spice to your daily diet is also thought to be useful.
This is because spices increase the amount of calories your body burns during digestion. So, try adding some spice, such as jalapeno peppers, to your meals for an extra boost.
5. Drink Plenty
Staying properly hydrated can also help to keep your metabolism going.
When you become dehydrated, cellular functions slow down. This is why drinking enough water may help to keep your metabolism high, and can even give it a slight boost.
Drink lots of water, first and foremost, but green tea may also be beneficial. Try to have around 3 cups each day.
What are your tips to help boost metabolism?