14 October 2008

5 ways to speed up your metabolism

squeezing in exercise where you can helps to speed up metabolism
Losing weight is all about one thing - your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn, the slower your metabolism, the less calories you burn. So the question is how do you speed it up and what tricks and fitness tips can help you reach your weight loss goal in the shortest time. Hint - skipping meals and fasting is the fastest way to slow it down.

The lean tissue in our bodies burns calories and so our end goal should always be to have more lean tissue. When you skip meals repeatedly in an attempt to lose weight or go on fasts / crash diets, the problem is that the initial weight you lose is mostly lean tissue and so you are actually slowing down your metabolism. That's why after a crash diet, the weight comes back fast and hard and it seems even tougher to lose. So what can you do to speed it up:

1. Interval training
When you are running, walking, cycling or on the stairmaster, don't just go at one speed. Start moderately and then do 60 second sprints periodically so you are working at your maximum. Even if you are walking, try and squeeze in a one minute print every 2 minutes and you'll be amazed at the difference this makes to your body.

2. Regular meal times and habits
If nothing else, please stop skipping breakfast. Its slows down your metabolism and makes your morning so much harder than it needs to be. If you can, though a modern lifestyle can make this difficult, try to eat your dinner by 7pm. It simply gives your body more time to burn the calories you've consumed all day. If you're having carbs, try to eat them earlier in the day as well - breakfast or lunch and leave the lighter choices for your evening meal.

3. Strength training
The more muscle tissue that you have, the higher your metabolism is and the less muscle that you have, the slower your calorie burn. So try to do strength training when you can - light weights, push ups, squats etc. This will mean that when you are not working out, your body is burning more calories and that's your end goal after all - to become a mean, calorie burning machine.

4. Regular movement
Stay on the move if you can. For those with a sedentary job, try to walk around at least once an hour - more if you can. Walk to the water cooler, the photocopier, walk up the stairs. The more constant motion you have, the higher your metabolism.

5. Get Spicy
Add spice to your food. Whether its a curry or hot sauce on the side or even chilli flakes added to vegetables, they all contribute to helping raise your metabolism. Add it to your routine to give your body a helping hand.

Photograph by pierre lascott (flickr)

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