The 17 Best Ways to Fire up Your Metabolism | Nick Rana

The 17 Best Ways to Fire up Your Metabolism | Nick Rana

When you’re looking to give your body a boost, you know turning to a solid weightlifting session, afternoon bike ride, even a a quick 30-minute HIIT session will get your metabolism cranked up. Metabolism is simple. It’s a series of chemical processes by which your cells produce the energy needed to sustain life—and the higher it revs, the more energy your body burns.

Some things, though, aren’t that simple. For instance, someone with a higher metabolism burns more calories at rest than someone with a lower metabolism, and can therefore get away with eating more food—even junk food. But a high metabolism isn’t a privilege reserved for a select few lucky enough to be born with it. You can raise yours and reap the benefits, too.
But what are the absolute, surefire ways to not only fire up your metabolism, but keep it in the red all day long? The tips below are designed to do just that. They’ll help you develop and maintain a better body composition.

1. Pump iron

Strength training tears down muscle tissue, which “costs” calories as your body recovers and rebuilds in the following hours. Better still, hitting the iron elevates powerful anabolic hormones in your body that stimulate both recovery and fat burning.

2. Move around more

Most guys spend 45 minutes to an hour in the gym, then spend the rest of their day sitting at work, on the subway, and couch. Not that it negates your workout, but you could be doing your body a huge favor by getting up frequently. 
If you have a desk job, take the stairs and park at the end of the parking lot. Get up from your desk and move around the office every 15 minutes. Go for walk breaks instead of coffee runs. Even stretching and fidgeting can help burn more calories and coax your metabolism along.

3. Eat a variety of whole foods

Whole foods contain an assortment of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that act as metabolic spark plugs, giving you the energy to get up and move around. That’s the theory behind increasingly popular diets like Paleo, which eschews processed foods in favor of lean meat and vegetables. Without preservatives and unnecessary crap in your food, your body will burn clean, and that translates to a faster-moving metabolic engine.

4. Don’t go too low in calories or carbs

Diets lower in carbs or total calories may be helpful in losing body fat, but they come at a metabolic cost. Over time, your body catches on to the fact you’re restricting energy and decreases production of certain hormones as a result, causing you to burn fewer calories.
It’s part of your body’s survival instinct—it doesn’t want you to waste away. The problem is when you eventually return to normal eating. Your metabolism will still be suppressed, making rebound weight gain an even greater concern.
Lower your carbs and calories gradually over time, make time for cheat meals once a week, and consume the right kind of nutrients by cutting out junk foods and prioritizing clean ones.

5. Use cheat meals strategically

Bodybuilders have known for years that strategically placed ‘cheat meals’ can help prevent the metabolic slowdown mentioned above. One meal every five to seven days that contains as many carbs and calories as desired can work. Just make sure not to make a habit out of cheat meals. In fact, you could also just as easily eat clean each day and meet your calorie needs, rather than consistently depriving yourself, then occasionally indulging. 

6. Make sure you're not starving yourself

If intermittent cheat meals fail to give your metabolism a boost, it’s usually a sign you should increase your intake. If your body feels like it’s chronically underfed, it’ll naturally try to reduce metabolism speed, and you’ll just end up sabotaging your efforts. Instead, try one or two weeks of eating the calories you need every day, which will allow a suppressed metabolism to recover.
Note: ‘Normal’ eating means about an extra 500 calories a day, or one additional healthy meal, not a daily trip to the drive-thru. So make sure those extra calories are clean, because a pile of sodium, sugar, and fat won’t make your body look any better, even if you have a slightly faster metabolism.

7. Do the right kind of cardio

Too much steady-state aerobic exercise like jogging or cycling can lead to a depressed metabolism, especially when combined with a calorie-restricted diet. Along with focusing on strength training, switching from steady-state cardio to more high-intensity work like sprinting, strongman circuits, or martial arts training can burn considerable body fat while stimulating your metabolism. Better yet, this high-intensity work encourages your body to keep burning calories after you’re done working out, which speeds up your metabolism in the long run.

8. Load up on water

Chronic dehydration has been associated with a suppressed metabolic rate. Up your water intake to at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day of fresh water. The water you consume in coffee or tea counts too, but make sure you get in the eight glasses of the plain stuff. You’ll also enjoy clearer skin and more energy.

9. Maintain lean muscle mass

Without a doubt, the most effective way to jack up your metabolism is to put on and maintain slabs of lean muscle mass. Muscle is made up of what’s called metabolically active tissue, which means it requires energy to be built, used, and maintained. Compare this to fat tissue, which pretty much sits there like a blob not burning up any calories at all. The best way to develop muscle mass is by, you guessed it, weight training. Which means even if fat loss is your main goal, you should always keep weight training as part of your plan.

10. Utilize HIIT training

A leisurely run through your neighborhood may be a great way to de-stress on a Sunday afternoon, but, unfortunately, it’s not the optimal way to stoke your metabolism.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which combines repeated near all-out efforts with periods of recovery burns a similar amount of calories to slow, distance cardio sessions that last twice as long. But efficiency isn’t the biggest reason to include HIIT in your training. Once you step off the treadmill from your steady-state cardio session, the calorie burn also comes to an end. However with HIIT, you’ll continue to burn calories for 36 hours after you take your running sneakers off. Start HIIT by running, rowing, or biking almost all out (think an 8 out of 10 on the effort scale) for 30 seconds followed by a recovery period (3 out of 10) of 90 seconds.
Repeat these 2 minute intervals nine more times (for a total of 10). In just 20 minutes you’ll have stoked your metabolism for the next day and a half.

11. Eat protein, especially at breakfast

Don’t let a cartoon toucan or the guy who runs the corner donut shop fool you—eating cereals, donuts, waffles and other sugary, carb-laden foods at breakfast is a great way to spike and crash your blood sugar and bring your metabolism to a screeching halt. Instead, try a protein-rich breakfast that includes eggs, lean steak or Greek yogurt. Protein (whether eaten at breakfast or at other times) requires a lot of energy to break down and digest.
So just the act of eating protein can crank up your metabolism. Plus, people who eat protein at breakfast tend to ingest less calories throughout the remainder of the day. So not only are you burning more calories by eating protein, you’re also likely to take fewer calories in overall.

12. Consider supplements

Many compounds, whether found naturally in food or concentrated into supplements and energy drinks, have a thermogenic effect. All that really means is they drive up heat in your body which, in turn, drives up your metabolism. Caffeine, taurine, and ephedrine are all potent and popular thermogenics. However, of course, there’s a downside to stimulating your metabolism this way.
These supplements can overtax your adrenal glands and drive stress responses in the body. So proceed with caution and be sure not to overdo it when adding in these stimulants.

13. Eat, then sweat

You must eat to get lean. Digesting food and absorbing and storing nutrients requires energy. Severely restricting calories dials back your metabolic rate. Plus, starving yourself eventually drives your body to break down muscle tissue to satisfy energy needs, further lowering calorie-burning. Boost the burn by working out just after eating a meal or substantial snacks.

14. Eat frequently

Divide daily calories into three meals and two snacks. Research suggests men who eat more frequently throughout the day are leaner than those who consume meals at irregular times.

15. Consider drinking coffee

A Harvard study of more than 19,000 men found those who got 200 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in 8oz of coffee) were less likely to gain weight over a 12-year period than those who didn’t. Caffeine helps stimulate fat use, especially during exercise.

16. Spice things up

Is it possible to add flavor without piling on too many calories? Canadian researchers discovered adding red pepper to your meal simulates thermogenesis, surging your metabolism. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on your favorite dishes and you’ll immediately please your taste buds while boosting your metabolism. 

17. Get quality sleep

Quality sleep can be a huge factor when it comes to metabolism. When you sleep, your body rests and repairs itself. This process is especially crucial in a muscle-building phase. A North Carolina study revealed sleep deprivation creates increased ghrelin levels, thereby sending signals to your brain that you’re hungry. Maintain proper sleeping habits by getting to bed at the same time each night, and creating a dark, comfortable atmosphere in your bedroom. Aim for eight hours—you’ll not only feel reenergized, but it’ll also positively impact on your metabolism too. 

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