27 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism and Torch Fat Today
If you're looking for a way to burn more calories with little effort, you've come to the right place. We've got over 27 simple ways you can boost your body's fat-burning potential, all day, the easy way.
— Additional reporting by Michele Foley, Lizzie Fuhr, and Jenny Sugar
Cardio is crucial for keeping your metabolism running smoothly. In one study, researchers found that after a tough 45-minute cycling workout the subjects slashed 190 calories above their resting metabolic rate for 14 hours after their workout! According to the study author Dr. David Nieman, a professor of exercise science at Appalachian State University, "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."
After a long night of fasting, your body needs fuel to rev up its metabolism. Skipping breakfast can slow down your body's ability to burn fat as it tries to conserve energy, so make sure you eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up in order to help keep your metabolism running on high. These healthy breakfast recipes can be made the night before if you find you are skipping breakfast because you are too rushed to prep in the morning.
Schedule in Exercise
Exercise doesn't just melt away fat because of the amount of energy you're expending — it actually changes your DNA to boost your metabolism immediately. Experts recommend up to an hour to see the DNA-changing benefits, so keep it up by scheduling your workout throughout the week to ensure you don't miss it.
Don't Skip Meals
You might think that passing on dinner would translate to a slimmer waistline, but it's doing just the opposite. Skipping meals can trick the body into thinking it's not getting enough food, which causes it to hold on to extra calories once it's fed. Keeping blood-sugar levels consistent will keep metabolism functionally properly, so be sure to eat six small meals a day to keep hunger at bay.
Stress can do more than make you feel crazy — it can actually slow down your metabolism. The stress hormone cortisol is the culprit: when levels are too high, it inhibits your body's ability to burn fat. Take a few moments to breathe deeply or flow through a calming yoga sequence to keep your metabolism in check.
Get an Afterburn
Short on time? You can still fit in enough exercise to burn 200 calories. A recent study showed that a very short burst of intense exercise (2.5 minutes worth) can lead to an afterburn of 200 calories throughout the day. So even if you don't have time for a full workout, working up a sweat for a just few minutes is a lot better than nothing!
Snack Before Bed
This isn't a joke. Having a light bite before bed can actually boost your metabolism. Low blood sugar leaves you with less muscle, which makes your metabolism drag, so keep your metabolism cranking with a 100- to 200-calorie bedtime snack, so you can burn calories while you sleep!
Eat Whole Grains
Packed with fiber, whole grains take up more room in your belly (compared to other foods with the same number of calories) and leave less room for second helpings. They also take more work to chew, literally making your mouth work harder (ramping up calorie burn by 10 percent!). This increases the thermic effect of food — the calorie-burn bump we get from eating and digesting any given type of food. So be sure to include brown rice, barley, quinoa, oats, and millet in your diet.
If you're just logging in cardio at the same pace every day, you're not using your time as well as you could. Adding high-intensity intervals into your cardio will help burn more calories during each sweat session, so make the most of your 45 minutes on the treadmill and ramp up your workout. This pyramid treadmill interval workout is a great place to start.
Cayenne pepper is known for its pungent flavor and healthy healing powers, but the spice can also boost your metabolism by kicking up your body's temperature. Don't worry about covering your food in this spicy stuff! Just a small amount goes a long way.
Indulge With Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate makes for a healthy dessert for many reasons, and its metabolism-boosting potential is one of them. Dark chocolate includes two ingredients that are known to boost metabolism: caffeine and the antioxidant catechin. Just make sure you stick to a small square a day so the sugar and calories don't outweigh dark chocolate's fat-burning potential.
This warming spice is easy to add to foods and a delicious way to pep up your metabolism. Sprinkle some on a slice of whole wheat toast, on your bowl of oatmeal, and even in your soup.
Drink More Water
Not drinking enough water can leave you feeling fatigued and unwell, which is reason enough to make sure you get in those ounces. A study also showed that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more fat than those who only drank four, so make sure you gulp in order to burn.
There seems to be an unending list of benefits that come from getting a good night's sleep, and boosting metabolism is no exception: multiple studies have linked weight gain to a lack of quality sleep. If you're not already getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, be sure to follow these tips for getting quality z's.
Quick tip: make sure to power down electronic devices at least 30 minutes before hitting the hay. The light these gadgets emit make it hard for the body to get into a restful state of mind.
While salty chips may be off the table, not all crunchy snacks should be seen as off-limits. Nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts are excellent sources of magnesium: the nutrient is not only good for a healthy heart, but it also gives a metabolism a nice little boost. Watch the pounds fly off with these belly-blasting nut recipes.
Slurp This Soup
This creamy vegan broccoli soup will detoxify and satisfy. The high-fiber content helps moves things along, while the spices cayenne and nutmeg add flavor and a calorie-burning boost. Get the recipe for vegan nutmeg broccoli soup here.
Limit Processed Carbs
We know that there's something so alluring about salty chips, crusty French bread, and candy bars, but they're doing nothing for your weight-loss aspirations. Besides adding empty calories to your diet, all the sugar in processed carbs can cause the body to hold on to extra calories as fat. Keep your metabolism moving by eating healthy meals and snacks that always include protein since it triggers the body to burn more calories.
Ginger is another warming food that can add heat to your meals, temporarily revving up your metabolism. Add fresh minced ginger to stir-fries, soups, grains, and dips, or try these fresh ideas.
Calcium along with other substances in dairy may actually raise your metabolism, telling your body to burn excess fat faster. The best results come from dairy products such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk instead of calcium-fortified products like orange juice and supplements. Get the fat-burning benefits by eating three servings of dairy and 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.
Choose Lean Proteins
What's a little extra effort if it means a few more calories get burned in the process? You've probably noticed that it takes a bit longer to eat a chicken breast than to wolf down a bowl of ice cream or bag of chips — all that extra chewing can translate to a 30 percent higher calorie burn! Lean proteins also require more energy to digest while still keeping you feeling full and satisfied. The harder the body works, the more calories you burn.
Make a Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie
Eating breakfast is one way to get your metabolism fires burning strong, but what you eat can boost your metabolism even more. Give your blender a quick whir and try this smoothie recipe loaded with metabolism-boosting ingredients including Greek yogurt, green tea, and cinnamon.
Snack on Sweet Potatoes
Portable and nutritious, sweet potatoes are a good healthy snack option. Not only are they high in many nutrients, like vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, but they also contain blood-sugar-regulating hormone adiponectin that can help rev up your metabolism. Remember to boil or steam your sweet potato to retain the most nutrients.
Take a Walk
Getting up and moving around not only can help you digest after a big meal, but it also may boost your fat burn. Studies have shown that sitting for an hour or more reduces the fat-burning enzymes in your body by as much as 90 percent. Keep your metabolism revved up by making sure you get up from your desk chair and get into a habit of taking a walk before or after your lunch to up your fat-burning levels.
Drink Green Tea
According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks. Green tea contains catechins, an antioxidant that raises resting metabolism by four percent (about 80 calories a day).
Make This Salad Dressing
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Chewing foods takes energy, which is why eating fruits and veggies is one way to boost your metabolism. To maximize their metabolism-boosting benefits, enjoy produce in its whole, natural state — munch on an apple instead of applesauce and make a salad with big chunks instead of smaller, diced pieces. Taking more time to chew means your brain has more time to register that it's full, so you consume fewer calories. Aside from raw fruits and veggies, these filing veggie meals will boost your metabolism.