The term “metabolism” refers to a series of chemical reactions in your cells that convert what you eat into fuel for your body. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. Although genetics influences your metabolism speed, you can help rev it up with certain exercises and lifestyle changes. With the help of fitness writer and nutritionist SJ McShane, here are six easy ways to burn calories so you can achieve your weight loss goals.
1 Build Lean Muscle
The human body naturally burns more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does to maintain a pound of fat. Therefore, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will naturally burn each day at rest (breathing, sleeping, daily tasks). This means that just by building more lean muscle, you’ll significantly increase your metabolic rate and cause your body to burn more calories per day. In fact, “10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories” states Christopher Wharton, Ph.D., a certified personal trainer, and researcher at Yale University.
2 Try Interval Training
Interval training consists of alternating bouts of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods. You can incorporate high-intensity intervals into many kinds of exercises, such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, dance classes, skipping rope and weightlifting. The great thing about HIIT is that it’s short on time but tough on calorie burning, both during the workout and after! This is called the “afterburn effect”, which is officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Several studies suggest there’s a strong correlation between the number of calories burned post exercise and the activity’s intensity. In short, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward, causing more calories to be burned at rest.
3 Drink More Water
Our bodies need water to live and thrive. With a host of benefits like filtering your organs and keeping hunger at bay, it’s also has been said that drinking more water can burn more calories. According to Jamie Pope, MS, RD, LDN, and a nutrition lecturer at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, drinking almost eight cups of water (two liters) may help burn nearly 100 extra calories a day. Although that may not sound super impressive, this could add up to 600-700 calories a week!
4 Enjoy a Cup of Tea
An ancient remedy for many ailments, teas are packed with health benefits. From providing healing antioxidants to aiding in digestion, some teas are pretty powerful. So powerful that they may help the body burn extra calories and as some studies point out, may lead to weight loss. “Even older studies have suggested that 250 milligrams of caffeine consumed with a meal can increase the calories spent metabolizing the meal by 10 percent,” says Pope.
5 Cook with Herbs and Spice
Everyone appreciates having different flavors in their food but there are even more reasons to add some spice to your plate. Not only do certain herbs and spices contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and unique medicinal properties, they can also have a positive effect on your metabolism. The capsaicin in cayenne increases your body’s ability to burn fat and calories by stimulating certain receptors. Other spices, like ginger, black or white pepper, and garlic, have similar effects, potentially increasing metabolism speed. Herbs and spices such as ginseng, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger may all support your weight loss goals when added generously to your meals.
6 Get More Sleep
Sleep is not only important for your overall health and sanity but it also plays an important role in metabolism speed too. In fact, when you get two hours less shut-eye than you normally do, your system becomes stressed and produces about 50 percent more cortisol, a hormone that can cause weight gain when it’s out of normal range. Our body is controlled by a host of hormones that help regulate bodily functions. Sleep is a time of rest and a time to give the nervous system a much-needed break. Sleeping is also the best way to help recover from the gym – a time when our muscles repair and strengthen. While you snooze, you can build more lean muscle which will then help you burn more calories at rest.