Everyone talks about how important keeping your metabolism running properly is for slimming down. But what is your metabolism, anyway? Simply put, your metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories. And how well it’s working determines whether you drop pounds or pack them on!
The good news is, your body does all of this burning naturally. The not so good news is that this built-in calorie-burning system slows down much earlier in life than you may think. When you’re just 25, it starts its inevitable decline—as much as 2–4% each year. But this doesn’t mean there’s no hope! In fact, there are a lot of theories out there on how to speed up metabolism—so, let’s look at 5 simple things you can do every day to keep it moving.
1. Eat enough!
When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be tempting to skip a meal here and there or restrict your calories drastically. However, when your body is hungry, it actually stops burning calories because it’s trying to conserve! When you’re not eating enough, your body doesn’t burn through your excess fat like you think it might—instead, it does the opposite. Your metabolism slows way down and your body starts breaking down metabolism-boosting muscle for energy (yikes)!
For most women, this happens when your calorie intake dips below about 1,200 calories a day. Now, this certainly doesn’t give you free reign to eat continuously all day; however, for some reasonable guidelines, be sure to have a good breakfast within an hour from waking to get your metabolism going and eat small, healthy meals or snacks every 3-4 hours until about 7pm.
Sleep deprivation appears to have a negative impact on carbohydrate metabolism and can also create an imbalance of certain hormones. When carbohydrates are not metabolized properly, your blood sugar levels increase. High blood sugar levels spike insulin levels, signaling your body to store unused energy as fat.
A lack of sleep can also cause cortisol levels to rise, which can contribute to unwanted belly fat. Everyone’s sleep needs are different but as a general rule, be sure you’re getting at least 6-8 hours per night.
Speaking of cortisol… Emotional stress causes levels of the hormone cortisol to rise, which can negatively impact your metabolism. Increased cortisol levels can cause increased belly fat as well as overeating. Believe it or not, taking at least 10 minutes out of your day for some quiet meditation can decrease stress dramatically and in turn, increase metabolism!
Taking this quiet time to clear your mind upon waking, before bed, or even in the middle of the day as a quick break from work or the kids is all you need. Often, this can be done while taking a quick walk, helping to release endorphins as well.
4. Ditch the crash diets!
This may sound surprising, but crash diets can slow your metabolism down even more! This is why they are generally only a temporary fix and usually don’t yield long-term results. Crash diets cause you to lose muscle and water mass instead of fat, slowing down your metabolism.
In addition, people that don’t eat a balanced diet may have a deficiency of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. The deficit of these macronutrients and micronutrients can also negatively affect the metabolism. Clean diets generally high in fruits, vegetables, and protein along with a handful of good fats like nuts and avocados are generally your best bet for weight loss results and a well-functioning metabolism. This means keeping processed foods and sugars to an absolute minimum!
The best way to keep your metabolism working properly as you age is by preserving and gaining lean muscle mass through exercise. Between the ages of 25 and 65, you actually lose at least five pounds of muscle every 10 years. But you can prevent this muscle loss with consistent anaerobic training. When you’re working out, your muscles are burning calories and your metabolism increases. Regular exercise, especially high intensity interval training, can boost your metabolism for the duration.
So, there you have it! Incorporate these 5 tips into your life to keep your metabolism running optimally. And for a little extra boost, try supplementing with 310 Metaboost. In one study, participants who took this metabolism booster one hour before exercise burned a total of 278 more calories before, during, and after their workouts! For more information, visit 310Nutrition.com or join the 310 Community on Facebook.