How to Increase Metabolism Naturally
December 12, 2012
Have you ever thought of food as energy? The words “salty,” “sweet,” “crunchy,” and “juicy” frequently come to mind, but I admit “energy” never has.
Every time you bite into a burger or slurp a smoothie, nutrients are shuttled into your body. Within these nutrients is latent energy (a.k.a. calories), which can only be released after being metabolized.
“The process of metabolism establishes the rate at which we burn our calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain weight or how easily we lose it,” says Robert Yanagisawa, MD. Fast metabolism translates to weight loss and high energy. Slow metabolism encourages weight gain.
Do you want to boost metabolism? Well guess what? You can! I’ll show you how to increase metabolism naturally with 4 tips, so you can have more energy and lose weight faster.
1. Do Cardio Workouts
Over and over, you move one leg in front of the other. Your feet pound the pavement and your arms, heart, and lungs pump air, blood, and oxygen. Whether you’re running or doing some other cardio exercise, your body needs lots of energy.
As cardio exercise increases energy demand, metabolism kicks into high gear. Calories from the food you’ve eaten or calories from stored fats and carbs start burning. And voila! Your muscles and organs receive fuel.
And it gets even better: not only does metabolism work faster during exercise, it stays in high gear for hours afterwards. New research proves this:
Study participants pedaled a bike as hard as they could for 47 minutes. During the workout, the cyclists burned an average 519 calories. For 14 hours after the workout, they burned another 190 calories above their resting metabolic rate.
“If you do just two to three vigorous bouts of exercise per week for 45 minutes, you could lose a pound of fat every two weeks from the combination of calories expended during exercise plus what you burn afterward,” says David Nieman, PhD, the study author.
2. Build Muscle
Cardio boosts metabolism in the short-run, but muscles keep metabolism high day after day.
“Since muscle burns more calories than fat — even while at rest — the more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, which means the more calories your body will be burning just to sustain you,” Molly Kimball, RD, sports and lifestyle nutritionist.
According to personal fitness trainer Kelli Calabrese, MS, CSCS, ACE, one pound of muscle burns about 35 calories a day. So, want to know how to increase metabolism naturally? Build muscle. If you gain just 5 pounds of muscles, you could burn an extra 175 calories a day.
Make time for strength-training exercise during the week; preferably 2-3 workouts. You can use exercise bands, free weights, machines, or household objects. Basically, use anything that strengthens and builds muscle without injuring you. If you need help, find a fitness-savvy friend, take a class, buy a book, or hire a trainer.
And ladies, don’t worry about getting bulky like a man. “Women don’t have the hormones necessary to develop those huge muscles, so you can feel good about doing weight training,” Calabrese says.
3. Eat Metabolism-Boosting Foods
If your metabolism is plodding along in slow gear, high-calorie burgers and smoothies won’t help the situation. But there are foods that can help. Here are a few clinically proven options:
- Green Tea: Studies shows catechins (antioxidants) and caffeine give green tea significant metabolism-boosting power. Either drink 4 cups a day or take 250 mg of green tea extract.
- African Mango: This fruit is a little deceiving, because it doesn’t actually increase metabolism. The seeds do. Researchers recommend taking 300 mg of the seed extract daily.
- Raspberries: Sure, eating raspberries could boost metabolism. But you’d have to eat 90 pounds a day! How about 100 mg instead? Raspberry ketone is a compound in raspberries, which regulates metabolism and breaks down fat. Research shows 100 mg of raspberry ketone (the amount found in 90 pounds of raspberries) is an effective dosage.
4. Get Enough Sleep
What increases metabolism more: exercise or sleep? According to John Berardi, PhD, author of The Metabolism Advantage, the calories you burn while sleeping make up about 60% to 75% of your total daily burn. So, if you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism slows down.
In one study, people went without sleep for one night. The next day, their metabolism was decreased 5% and they burned 20% fewer calories during the morning.
Why does sleep make such a difference? Well, it all comes down to two hormones:
Ghrelin increases feelings of hunger and leptin tells your body when it’s full. “When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat,” says Michael Breus, PhD. “Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food.”
Want an easy way to increase metabolism naturally? Sleep at least 7 hours every night.
Banish Fat with a Fast Metabolism!
Food is delicious, satisfying, and soothing. It’s also full of the energy you need to think, move, function, and survive. But this energy–if unused–can turn into fat and cause weight gain.
However, you don’t have to worry about gaining fat when you have a fast metabolism. So, want to know how to increase metabolism naturally? Do cardio, build muscle, eat metabolism-boosting foods, and get enough sleep. Experts and researchers agree: these tips really work!
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-  Nieman, DC, SR McAnulty, et al. “Effects of n-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants on Oxidative Stress After Exercise.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 42.9 (2010): 1704-11.
-  Dulloo, Abdul, Claudette Duret, et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 70.6 (1999)
-  Ngondi, Judith, Blanche Etoundi, et al. “IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia Gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight individuals in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation.” Lipids in Health and Disease. 8.7 (2009).
-  Morimoto, C, Y Satoh, et al. “Raspberry ketone has been shown to prevent high-fat-diet-induced elevations in body weight.” Life Science. 77.2 (2004): 194-204.
-  Kovacs, Jenny Stamos. “Increase Your Metabolism — And Start Losing Fat.” WebMD. WebMD, LLC. Feb 2007.
-  Nedeltcheva, Arlet V, Jennifer M Kilkus, et al. “Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 89.1 (2009): 126-33.