Exercise goes along way to controlling your metabolism. The more active calories we can burn the less we have to worry about enjoying our favourite delights. Not only that but the more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn constantly, even when we are chilling out watching Bake Off or getting a good nights sleep.
But there’s still plenty of wiggle room. In fact, you increase your metabolism to burn an extra 500 calories every day simply by making a few lifestyle swaps.
Here's 4 metabolism-stoking tips to help you fire up your body’s internal inferno and scorch through fat.
HOW TO INCREASE METABOLISM: THROUGH MORNING, DAY AND NIGHT
1. First thing in the morning
Eat a decent breakfast, every single day. If you don’t, your metabolism goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that) and slows to a crawl. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found testers who ate no less than 22% and up to 55% of their total daily calories at breakfast gained only 1.7lb on average over four years. But those who ate less than 11% of their calories first thing gained nearly 3lb. See the pattern?
Crank it up: Go for healthy breakfasts that are slow to digest. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. An omelette made with one egg and two egg whites, plus a handful of sliced mixed peppers and onions. Or try a porridge recipe and top with a handful of frozen berries and 3tbsp of omega-3-loaded flaxseed.
2. At the office
Rejoice, caffeine addicts. According to a study in the US journal Physiology & Behaviour, the metabolic rate of people who regularly drank caffeinated coffee was an average of 16% higher than those who drank decaf. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing. Just wait till mid-morning to have your first cup. Cortisol levels are naturally higher first thing in the morning. Cranking levels up further with caffeine can have the opposite effect and encourage fat storage.
Crank it up: Follow your mid-morning cup of the black stuff with an ice-cold glass of water. Researchers at the University of Utah found just drinking one glassful can raise your body’s metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent and keep it raised for around 10 minutes. The theory is your body has to burn extra calories to maintain its core temperature.
3. At the gym
Swap hours of steady state cardio for interval training. Studies have shown working out this way is as effective at boosting your metabolism as much longer lower-intensity sweat sessions. An interval training workout involves alternating periods of high-intensity effort with periods of low-intensity effort.
Crank it up: During the high-intensity phase, your body burns mainly carbs for energy, but during the recovery, your body burns mainly fat to produce the energy needed to help your body recover from the intense effort. This process can continue for hours after training, which can help you lose weight, as long as you're also eating healthily.
Great news - All of UpFit's Fitness Classes are interval Training based!
4. At meal times
To slim down, pile your plate with protein. Regular large helpings will help you build and maintain lean muscle. And we all know muscle burns more than fat by now, right? Aim for 20-30g of protein – that’s 250g of low-fat cottage cheese or 100g of chicken breast – at each meal.
Crank it up: Chase your meal with a cup of green tea. In tests, people who consumed three to five cups a day for 12 weeks shed an average of 4.6% of their total body weight.
Another study found having two to five cups a day torched an extra 50 calories a day. Not bad. To really go for the burn, down it two hours after eating. Research shows it can increase breakdown of fat by a third. Now go forth and burn.
A race against time?
Beat the downshift in metabolism that creeps up along with those laughter lines. With each passing decade, your metabolism slows down by about 5%. Ouch.
Hormones are partly to blame, but so is the typical drop-off in physical activity. As a result you lose muscle mass, a major calorie consumer. So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn about 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25, and by age 65, it’s a hefty 500 fewer. But don’t panic. You can outsmart Mother Nature with the tips above. A warning: here’s what happens if you don’t.
· 20s: Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak and your metabolism should be firing on all cylinders. Enjoy it while you can.
· 30s: Your body’s cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria, start to get less effective at turning food into energy for your muscles to burn.
· 40s: The decline continues as your oestrogen levels go into free fall, further slowing your metabolism and causing belly fat.