Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Great Tips for Boosting Metabolism
You can partly thank your parents for the speed of your metabolism. Genes contribute to the levels of appetite-control hormones we have floating around in our bodies, Goldsmith explains. "Some people are genetically programmed to be active; they're
naturally restless and use more energy," she says.Those are the lucky high-metabolism types.
Gender also plays a role. "The average man's metabolism is about 10 (percent) to 15% higher than a woman's," Goldsmith notes. That's mainly because men have more muscle mass than women do, which means they burn more calories. "Muscle does the work to help you move, while fat just sits there," says John Porcari, a Fitness advisory board member and director of the clinical exercise physiology program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Not only that, but women's bodies are designed to
hold on to body fat in case of pregnancy. Talk about unfair.
The good news is, you can make your metabolism faster, experts say, despite genetics and gender.These are some simple secrets to boosting it big-time.
1. Exercise more often.
Working out is the No. 1 way to keep your furnace burning at a high level.The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn all day. That's because muscle
uses energy even when you're resting. Exercise enough and you can help prevent the natural metabolic slowdown that can begin as early as your late 20s, according to Goldsmith.
2. Kick up your cardio.
Aerobic intervals will help you maximize your burn, doubling the number of calories you torch during a workout, studies show. Intervals also keep your metabolic rate higher than a steady-pace routine does for as long as an hour after you stop exercising, according to Michele Olson, a Fitness advisory board member and professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. That means you could blast as many as 65 additional calories after your sweat session. The ideal metabolism-boosting interval routine is to "go hard for a couple of minutes, then take it down to an easier pace for a minute or two, and keep alternating like that throughout your workout," Talbott says.
3. Put some muscle behind it.
Too many women steer clear of weight machines, fearing that they'll bulk up. Or they work only their legs and skip their arms. Don't make this mistake. A head-to-toe strength routine will turbocharge your calorie-blasting quotient. Add five pounds of
muscle to your body and you can zap as many as 600 calories an hour during your workout, Olson says. Be sure to choose a weight-lifting routine that targets your core, legs, arms, chest and shoulders; challenging numerous muscles will help your body function like a calorie-burning machine, Goldsmith says. Find some great total-body strength workouts at www.fitnessmagazine.com/totalbody.
4. Don't skip meals.
We know you're superbusy, but make sure you grab lunch. "Simply chewing, digesting and absorbing food kicks your metabolism into gear," says Jim White, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "The more frequently you eat, the more often it revs up." Conversely, missing a meal, or going too long
between meals, brings your metabolism to a crawl. "Your body switches into starvation mode and your system slows down to conserve energy," White
explains. Keep your engine humming by having three healthy meals of 300 to 400 calories and two snacks of 200 to 300 calories every day, he advises.
5. Fill up on smart foods.
Start by serving yourself protein at every sitting, says Dr. Darwin Deen, medical professor in the department of community health and social medicine at City College of New York and a co-author of Nutrition for Life. Not only does your body need it to help build lean muscle mass, but protein also takes more calories to digest. To get your fix, have low-fat yogurt at breakfast, chicken in your salad at lunch and salmon for dinner. Between meals, snack on protein-rich walnuts. They contain
Advertisement omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote weight loss by increasing your feelings of fullness, according to a recent study in the journal Appetite.
6. Eat breakfast.
It will switch your metabolism from idle to high speed. That's because your level of cortisol, a hormone that helps you use calories to build muscle, is highest just before you get up in the morning. When you eat an a.m. meal, your body is primed to turn those calories into muscle pronto — the only time during the day this happens. Take advantage of the natural torching process by havinga healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs, low-fat turkey bacon and a piece of whole-grain toast.
7. Go to bed earlier.
Deprive yourself of sleep and your body starts to respond as if it were under siege. "When you get two hours less shut-eye than you normally do, your system becomes stressed and produces about 50%more cortisol," Talbott says. "That in turn triggers your appetite."
At the same time, lack of zzz's throws the body's hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin out of whack, making you more likely to overeat. Skimp on pillowtime for too long and you could be facing a serious weight problem, says Michael Breus, author of Good
Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. In a 16-year study of sleep-deprived women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that those who slept seven to eight hours a night had the lowest risk for major weight gain, while women who got six hours a night were 12% more likely to pile on a significant number of pounds, and those who logged five hours or less were 32% more likely to gain weight.
Source:July/August 2010 issue of Fitness magazine.