Who else has a New Year’s resolution to get fit and boost metabolism? I do! I do! And I know I’m not alone. I also know I’m not alone in wondering what the heck do I do to accomplish this goal? Where do I even begin this journey to better health and a faster metabolism?
The answer is simpler than you might think!
3 Essential Steps You Need to Boost Metabolism – Even for Beginners!
Speeding up your metabolism is one of the key components you need to incorporate into your daily life in order to lose weight and keep it off. A revved-up metabolism burns more calories even while at rest which is more than enough reason to get me started!
In order to start this metabolic fire, you need to do the following:
1. Eat High Quality Protein, Complex Carbs, and Healthy Fats at Every Meal
Protein is found in every tissue of the body, especially in our muscles. During exercise, your body builds muscle by adding additional protein to your muscle fibers. Doing this requires amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which you get from consuming protein in your meals. When you lift weights, these proteins are broken down and used for building muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be.
Consuming high quality protein also creates what is known as the thermic effect of food – the calories your body burns in order to break down food into energy. Protein in particular stimulates the body to burn more energy in order to process it, more so than it does while processing carbs or fats. Your metabolism can increase by 15-30% processing protein compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats. One study found that people whose diets were composed of 30% protein actually ate 441 fewer calories per day. This is because protein helps you feel satiated and you end up eating less!
Of course, protein rich foods are often rich in calories. Knowing the right sources as well as the right amount of protein you should be consuming with each meal, along with proper daily exercise is really important.
What you want to reach for are lean high quality sources of protein like:
• Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
• Kale and collard greens
• Legumes (beans, lentils, hummus, etc.)
• Nuts and seeds
• Oatmeal and other healthy grains
• Plain Greek yogurt
• Salmon (not farmed)
• Tofu and tempeh
• Wild rice
The next thing you want to incorporate into your diet are complex carbs in order to give muscles the glucose they need to create fat burning energy.
Complex carbs include foods like:
These carbs offer slower burning energy and will not spike your insulin levels. In case you didn’t know, these spikes in insulin actually turn off fat burning. This is why avoiding processed sugar and other simple carbs in order to control insulin levels and keep fat burning elevated is key to boosting metabolism.
Lastly, you want to include healthy fats because believe or not, healthy fats help you burn fat! Have you ever heard of the book Eat Fat, Get Thin? Fat (i.e. HEALTHY fats) isn’t the enemy we’ve led to believe. In fact, once the energy has been obtained from carbs after the first 20 minutes of exercise, the body turns to fat for calories. This is where the body begins to burn fat as its primary energy source.
Coconut oil in particular is known to boost metabolism because it contains fats called MCTs. These fats have an unusual structure which allows the body to digest them quickly and easily turning them into energy instead of fat.
Healthy fats include:
• Cacao butter
• Coconut meat
• Coconut oil
• Extra virgin olive oil (be wary of adulterated sources)
• Full fat kefir
• Grass fed butter
• Nuts and seeds
• Plain Greek yogurt
Body Type Matters – Macro-Morphing
Believe it or not, your body type has a lot to do with how you react to macronutrients like protein, carbs, and fats. Knowing which type you are will greatly help your body’s ability to boost metabolism and lose weight.
Ectomorph – If you’re an ectomorph, your body is naturally thin with skinny limbs, lean muscle mass, and a high tolerance for carbs. Your metabolic rate is fast and it seems like you can eat anything without gaining a pound. A good macronutrient ratio for this body type is 25% protein, 55% carbs, and 20% healthy fats. To get this ratio of protein you would need 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Endomorph – If you’re naturally big boned, broad, solid, and thick in stature, you’re probably an endomorph body type. Endomorphs have a low tolerance for carbs and a sluggish metabolism. The best macronutrient ratio to start with is 35% protein, 25% carbs, and 40% healthy fats. You would need to eat 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily to meet this requirement.
Mesomorph – Mesomorphs are naturally fit, muscular, and athletic. They can easily gain weight or lose it, have a lot of strength, and are marked by a greater than average ability to gain muscle mass. They have a moderate tolerance for carbs and a moderate metabolism. The macronutrient ratio for mesomorphs is 30% protein, 25% carbs, and 30% healthy fats. To get this ratio of protein you would need to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
You can read more about body types and relevant nutrition for each here.
2. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Weight Lifting
There’s no better way to boost metabolism than High Intensity Interval Training, an exercise technique that uses 100% effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods. This type of training raises heart rate and burns more fat in less time, causing your body to require more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why HIIT burns more fat than regular cardio. EPOC boosts metabolism up to 48 hours after you complete a HIIT routine meaning increased fat burn even after you’ve left the gym.
Lifting weights is another way to harness an elevated metabolism for up to 39 hours after a good session because your body needs extra time to recover. Not only that, weight lifting helps build muscle and we’ve already established that more muscle burns more calories. It is estimated that for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 30-50 calories per day.
You can try to incorporate these routines weekly by doing HIIT 2-3 times a week and weight training 2-3 times a week. Do what feels right for you and stick with it! For me, I generally just alternate days. One week I’ll be doing HIIT Mon, Wed, and Fri and then weight lifting Tues and Thurs and rest over the weekend. The next week, it will be the alternate days. Keep in mind though that I’m past the beginner’s stage, so you may very well need to start out MUCH slower. Don’t feel discouraged about starting at square one. You will get there!
3. Reduce Stress and Sleep Better
One of the most common culprits for preventing weight loss and decreasing metabolism is elevated stress and poor quality sleep. Stress increases cortisol levels which then causes your body to release glucose into your blood stream because it thinks it’s in “Fight or Flight” mode. This then triggers an insulin response and if you remember from earlier, insulin halts fat burning which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
In time, stress will make every hormone in your body work against you including your melatonin. With so much cortisol floating around in your system your body’s natural circadian rhythm begins to suffer. The imbalance that ensues between cortisol and melatonin leads to poor sleep. Without at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night your body is unable to reverse the metabolic damage caused by stress. In essence, you’re unable to burn fat effectively and your metabolism may either decline or stay the same.
Some simple ways to reduce stress and improve sleep include:
• Doing a joyful activity
• Gentle exercise
• Giving yourself more time for relaxation
• Going for walks
• Listening to music
• Pouring yourself a cup of tea
• Reading a book before bedtime instead of looking at the news
• Self-love practices like meditation, positive thought work, or self-care rituals like soaking in a bath with candles
• Spirituality practices
• Taking Magnesium like Natural Calm
• Taking stress relieving herbs like rholiola, holy basil, or ashwagandha
• Using essential oils like lavender, cedarwood, lemon, sweet orange etc. to relax or uplift your mood
Things NOT to do that will hamper your results:
• Bottling up emotions
• Consuming processed sugar
• Drinking alcohol
• Eating unhealthy meals
• Feeling perpetually negative
• High caffeine intake
• Lacking confidence
• Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber
• Not moving your body
• Staying up too late
• Stress eating
Once you have mastered these 3 major steps for an amazing metabolism you’re well on your way to the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.
Best of luck!
What have been your best methods to boost metabolism? Please share in the comments below!
Don’t miss out on my other fitness articles below:
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