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Boost Your Metabolism

Before and After BMI

May 14, 2010

Boost Your Metabolism

Your metabolism is the sum of everything your body does. 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 working, and your body going through a workout. It is pretty much your own personal trainer always working to help you shed fat and burn calories. A fast metabolism means more calories burned and the more your burn, the more weight you lose. There are some things you can do to help increase your metabolism and get it to work harder all day long. I have compiled some tips from recent studies to help amp your fat burning potential.

When you roll out of bed

Eat breakfast

When you don’t eat breakfast, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Studies are showing the hardier you can make breakfast, the better also.   A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over four years. Those who ate only zero to 11 percent of their calories in the morning gained about 3 pounds. In a different study in the same journal, volunteers who reported they regularly skipped breakfast had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those that took the time to have breakfast. For your breakfast meal, you should have something that will keep you full longer and is slower to digest. You want a mix of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. An example would be an omelet made from one egg and two egg whites with half a cup of mixed peppers and onions cooked in a tsp of olive oil with half a cup of berries.

Drink Cold Water

Researchers at the University of Utah found that volunteers who drank eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who drank only four glasses a day. It is thought that your body burns a few more calories heating the cold water to your core temperature. Though the extra calories you burn drinking a single glass doesn’t amount to much, making it a habit can add up to pounds lost with essentially minimal extra effort on your part.

While You are at Work

Make Some Green Tea

Green tea contains a plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning. In the book, Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever, it brings up a study in which people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups of green tea a day for 12 weeks decreased their body weight by 4.6 percent. According to other studies, consuming two to four cups of green tea per day may torch an extra 50 calories, which would translate to about 5 pounds a year. Again, not a bad deal for something that requires minimal work from you.

Have Protein at lunch

When you have protein at every meal it helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest. Aim to eat about 30 grams of protein, the equivalent of about 4 ounces of chicken breast or 1 cup of cottage cheese, at every meal.

Have a serving of dairy

Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste a study from the University of Copenhagen reports. Have eight ounces of skim milk or eight ounces of Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack.

When You go Grocery Shopping

Look for Heat

Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili pepper its hot quality, can also fire up metabolism. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology eating about one tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response). The result is a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chilies to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red pepper flakes on hand for stir-fries, pizza topping, or pastas.

Get your Iron

Women lose iron during their period every month. That can throw a wrench into your metabolic machine because iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don’t get enough oxygen, your energy tanks, and your metabolism sputters. Stock up on good iron sources like beans and dark leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli. Make sure you take your multivitamins and iron as well!

Choose Organic Produce

Researchers in Canada found that dieters with the most organochlorides (chemicals found in pesticides) stored in their fat cells were the most susceptible to disruptions on mitochondrial activity and thyroid function. This means their metabolism stalled. If you can’t afford a full organic swap, go to for the most (and the least) contaminated foods, then adjust your shopping list accordingly.

When You Work Out

Mix it up with Intervals

If you step up the intensity of your workout you can burn the same number of calories or more in less time. In one Australian study, female volunteers either rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes at a steady pace or for 20 minutes of intervals, alternating 8 seconds of sprints and 12 seconds of easy pedaling. After 15 weeks, those who incorporated the sprints into their cardio workouts had lost three times as much body fat compared to those who exercised at a steady pace. The thought is that bursts of speed may stimulate a fat-burning response within the muscles. Whatever you do for cardio, start adding intervals. Men’s Health recommends you start by doing three eight-second all-out, can’t talk sprints (running, biking, etc) with 12 seconds at an easy pace between each effort. Work your way up until you can do 10 sprints over 20 minutes.

Take it Slow

When you strength train, count to 3 as you lower the weight back to the start position. Slowing things down increases the breakdown of muscle tissue. This is a good thing because the repair process pumps up your metabolism for as long as 72 hours after your session, according to researchers at Wayne State University. You need to use weights that are heavy enough that you struggle to complete the final few reps.

Pop Fish Oil

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes. Volunteers in the study took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times a week. After 12 weeks, they’d lost an average of 3-4 pounds, while those who exercised exclusively saw minimal shrinkage. Look for brands that contain at least 300 milligrams of the fatty acid EPA and 200 milligrams of the fatty acid DHA per capsule. Take two of these two hours before you workout.

When You Get Home

Skip the Second Round of Drinks

A recent Men’s Health discussed how researchers from the University of California, Berkeley found that knocking back the equivalent of just two alcoholic beverages put the brakes on fat burning by a whopping 73 percent. They stated it was because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate and starts using that as fuel instead of your fat stores.

Eat Some Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which quell hunger. This is because these healthy fats trigger the rapid transfer of “I’m full” signals to the brain according to the National Institutes of Health. Also a 3.5 ounce serving of salmon nets you about 90% of your daily recommended value of vitamin D and Vitamin D helps to preserve your muscle tissue, which helps keep your metabolism revved.

Go To bed Early

When you don’t get enough sleep, you throw off the amount of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that help regulate appetite and energy use, that your body produces. Stanford University researchers found that people, who slept fewer than 7.5 hours a night, experienced an increase in their body mass index. Aim for eight hours of sleep per night.

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