Did you know there is a personal trainer at work in your body right now? It’s called your metabolism, and unlike a trainer who you coordinate schedules with, your metabolism works around the clock. Each time you eat, enzymes in your body’s cells break down the food and turn it into energy that keeps your heart beating, your mind thinking and your legs churning during an awesome workout. The faster your metabolism runs, the more calories you burn. The more you burn, the easier it is to drop pounds. And get this—you can make your metabolism work harder, a lot harder, 24 hours a day. While we can’t change how many calories it takes to keep our heart beating, we can burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day by exercising and eating properly.
In the Morning
- Eat right out of bed- If you don’t body will go into starvation mode so your body slows to conserve energy.
- Drink coffee- It stimulates central nervous system and increases heart rate and breathing.
- Drink cold water (or with lemon)- Body burns a few extra calories heating up water to core temperature.
- Protein for lunch- Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat).
- Drink green tea- Let tea seep for 3 minutes and drink while it’s hot.
- Dairy in the after-mooo-n- Calcium helps body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste (poop).
At the Market
- Go organic as much as possible- You wouldn’t put dirty oil in your car would you?
- It’s getting hot in here- Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Think salsa and red pepper flakes for topping pizza, stir fry, and pasta.
- Metal head- Women lose iron during their period every month; iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don’t get enough O2, your energy tanks, and your metabolism slows. Stock up on iron (fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, and broccoli)
- Intervals- Bursts of speed may stimulate a fat-burning response within the muscles.
- Slow down- Count to three as you lower the weight back to the start position. Slowing things down increases the breakdown of muscle tissue. The repair process (building muscle) pumps up your metabolism for as long as 72 hours after your session. Note- use heavy weights if you want this to work 😉
- Somethings fishy- Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes.
- Eat more fish- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines are loaded with hunger-quashing omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help trigger the rapid transfer of “I’m full” signals to your brain.
- Limit your alcohol- Did you know that 2 drinks in one sitting slows down your metabolism by 73%?! That’s because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate and starts using that as fuel instead of your fat stores.
- Go to bed- early. When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin (sleep and appetite hormones) that your body produces.
Race Against Time
With each passing decade, a woman’s metabolism slows down by about 5%. Hormones play a role, but mostly it’s because as you get older, you typically become less active. As a result, you lose muscle mass, a major consumer of all those calories you scarf down. So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25; by age 65 you’ll burn 500 fewer, etc.