Your metabolism is one of the key differences between feeling okay, feeling good, and feeling great. When it’s slowed down, you’re sluggish and out of sorts. But when it’s revved up—and at optimum levels of performance—your mind and body will feel great, you’ll be sharp, focused and even shed unwanted pounds. So, how do you tap into the power of your most powerful metabolism? We went to the experts for 25 tried and true tips and tricks–all of which can be applied to any time of day and any type of lifestyle! And then keep the smart strategies going with these 25 Overnight Oats Recipes That Boost Your Metabolism in the Morning.
Make Your First Drink of the Day Count
Iris Lami, an Ayurvedic therapist, recommends squeezing half of a lemon into warm water in the morning. She says it increases metabolism while cleansing your digestive system before you add anything else into your system for the day. Lemon is one of the 20 Natural Diuretics to Add to Your Diet.
Move While Sitting at Your Desk
According to Tim Blake, owner and founder of superdads.com, the single biggest thing you can do to get your metabolism firing is to increase Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). “Basically, that means adding movement to everything you do, whenever and wherever possible,” he explains. This includes simple things like adding fidgeting hands and feet to five hours of desk work. “That racks up an additional caloric expenditure equivalent to running 1.5 miles! Fundamentally, this should be your mantra: Never walk when you can run, never stand when you can walk, never sit when you can stand, never lie down when you can sit.” If you have a desk job or other lifestyle in which you’re sitting a lot, don’t miss these 21 Tricks to Lose Weight While Sitting Down.
Turn Your Surroundings into The Gym
"Interval training" simply means you alternate between periods of intense work and periods of recovery. “This places a high metabolic demand on the body, burns lots of calories in a short amount of time, produces a high post-workout calorie burn, and helps to improve one's fitness level,” explains Kathleen Trotter, personal trainer and author of Finding Your Fit. “Plus, intervals are a fantastic workout regardless of your fitness level; you adapt the interval intensity to fit your current capacity.”
Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet—which is rich in fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—is the best way to jumpstart your metabolism according to Dr. Barry Sears, president of the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation. “Harvard Medical School demonstrated [years ago] that one anti-inflammatory meal stabilized blood sugar levels and the two anti-inflammatory meals back-to-back decrease calorie intake by 46 percent.” Turn to these 20 Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Weight Loss so you know what to pile onto your plate!
Rev Up Your Cardio
Get your cardio done first thing in the morning to rev up your metabolism, suggests Reggie Chambers, an NYC-based fitness specialist. “Do it before eating breakfast,” he says. “It can even be a low-intensity walk on the treadmill.”
Drink Green Tea
When you’re looking for a caffeine burst or way to stay hydrated throughout the day, Chambers says to drink green tea. “The caffeine provides a stimulant and the catechins burn fat,” he says.
Plus, a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea extract increases metabolism by four percent over a 24-hour period. Three to five cups a day can help you burn an extra 70 calories a day, which adds up to seven pounds a year. Is there any wonder that test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week when they did the The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse?!
Get In Your Supplements
Jeff Miller is a certified personal trainer with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry and says he takes the following supplements to boost his metabolism as needed: “First thing in the morning, I take cayenne to increase circulation. After a big meal, I take some vegetarian digestive enzymes. Before bed, I take plant-based vitamin D, magnesium, and some liquid herbs such as astragalus and echinacea. After I've been sick, I'll take a bulb of organic garlic and eat it by itself. When I'm done training, I like to drink wheatgrass or spirulina.”
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Ease Into Things
“In the long run, it’s better to get into shape and be genuinely prepared [for high-intensity activity],” says Robert S. Herbst personal trainer, coach, and powerlifter. “For example, first your body may not be ready for a big workout first thing in the morning since its core temperature is low and muscles and tendons are stiff. It’s better to do some stretching—and perhaps even eat a breakfast of protein and carbohydrates—so that the metabolism is on an even footing.”
Wrap Up Your Activity Early
“It’s better to do intense exercise or weight training four hours before going to sleep so that the metabolism will be revved up repairing from the workout—rather than interfering with sleep,” suggests Herbst. While you’re thinking about your ZZZs, be mindful of these 30 Best and Worst Foods To Eat Before Sleep.
Save Your Working Out for BEFORE a Big Meal
It may seem counter-intuitive to workout before a big meal. Wouldn’t you want to get in the exercise afterward so you can undo all those calories? No, says Herbst, because it will interfere with digestion. “Do your exercise before the meal so that the metabolism will be high.”
Don’t Stress If You Haven’t Been Exercising
If you’ve taken a long break from your regular workouts, it’s best to go slow when getting back into it. “You want to acclimatize back into the exercise by having a low volume and intensity until your body gets back into shape,” explains Herbst. “You are not worried about metabolism here as much as regaining strength and stamina; when you're in training, do high intensity and weight training to compliment your training.”
Always Take the Stairs
“Taking the stairs is the best metabolism-boosting tip,” suggests Shari Portnoy of foodlabelnutrition.com. “Even when you’re on the escalator, move! People ask why I am skinny and it’s because I don't sit still. Anytime you can, just move, take the stairs, walk somewhere, and avoid elevators unless you’re carrying a lot.” If you’re feeling ambitious about it and are alone, do some squats while you’re on that elevator! For more inspiration, check out these 30 Most Effective 30-Second Workout Moves.
Never Skip Breakfast
Ideally, you should have a meal within 30 minutes of waking up. “This will replenish your body from the night’s sleep and allow it to function properly throughout the day,” says Dr. Matt Tanneberg of Arcadia Health and Wellness Chiropractic. “When you are hungry, your body stops burning calories. That means that your metabolism will dramatically slow down. You need to constantly be replenishing your body’s stores to allow it to burn normally.” (Psst! These are the 26 Breakfasts That Celebrities Love!)
While exercise, in general, keeps your metabolism higher, recent studies show that lifting weights does a better job than simply cardio. “When you lift weights, you build muscle. Having more muscle makes you burn more fat,” says Tanneberg. “If you work out in the morning, your metabolism will be higher all throughout the day. Your metabolism stays revved up after a workout for multiple hours. Instead of going to the gym mid-day or in the evening, try going in the morning and adding more weight lifting.” Not a morning person? We understand—which is why we came up with this list of 18 Ways to Motivate Yourself for a Morning Workout.
Eat Protein at Every Meal
“Add protein to all of your meals,” Tanneberg suggests. “Have eggs in the morning, a protein shake for a snack, healthy nuts or avocado throughout the day and lean meat for dinner. Protein will help to boost your metabolism, especially in the morning. Make sure to have healthy protein such as eggs and stay away from excess red meat since it’s high in inflammatory properties.”
Magnesium is required for the body to produce and store energy—and yet 75 percent of Americans do not get their RDA of this important metabolism boosting mineral. “Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body, and our soils and food supplies have been depleted due to modern farming methods and food processing,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, health and nutrition expert. "A powder, which can be mixed with hot or cold water, can be sipped throughout the day.”
Kiss Your Sugar Highs Goodbye
Repeat after us: Stay away from sugar! “Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost the instant you ingest it,” says Dean. “Sugar requires magnesium in order to metabolize it–therefore the more sugar you consume the more magnesium you waste.” Scope out these other 19 Magnesium Tips You Didn't Know You Needed.
Get Those ZZZs
Sleep is another overlooked metabolism booster. “If your body is very tired, it will be harder for it to create energy or fight off disease and lose weight,” says Dean. “Consistent rest will keep you strong and ensure that your body has the strength to be productive and boost weight loss.”
Say Buh-Bye to Stress
Yes, it may be easier said than done but avoid stress whenever you can. The ways it can affect your health just makes it not worth the hassle. “Up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related. Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness in lowering anxiety and reducing stress levels,” says Dean. “Serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, depends on magnesium as well.” Stress has been proven to essentially undo your healthy eating habits, too; find out more—and what to do about it—with these 10 Ways to Destress So Healthy Eating Works.
Spice it Up
"Spice up your life! Adding spices to your diet and eating hot vegetables like peppers can rev your metabolism by 20 to 25 percent,” recommends Cara Walsh, RD of Medifast California. Jalapeno, habanero, cayenne and other forms of spicy peppers directly boost metabolism and circulation. In fact, eating hot peppers not only speeds up your metabolism, it also reduces cravings—so it’s a win-win all around!
Water, Water, Water
A simple metabolism booster is just to drink in that H2O! “Most Americans are dehydrated. This can be a result of illness, overtraining, or just not drinking enough water,” says Dr. Scott Schreiber, a chiropractic physician in Newark, Delaware. “Simply increasing your consumption of water will rev up your metabolism, in addition to keeping your full, fighting off cravings.” If you know you’re not drinking enough water and haven’t gotten in a good water bottle habit yet, then also try employing these 17 Ways to Eat Your Water.
Most Americans are actually deficient in vitamin D, which the body desperately needs to function properly. (Bonus: Vitamin D has been proven to beat bloat!) The best method to generate more is exposure to the sun. “Being active outside will increase metabolism, burn calories and increase mood,” says Dr. Schreiber.
Get Your Snack On
Be sure to pack a snack to throw in your bag for later on in the day to keep your metabolism revving. A surefire way to hit a roadblock is to find yourself so ravenous that you make poor choices. If you bring along some fruit or string cheese, you’ll curb your hunger with a balanced option before things get out of control! Being prepared with a snack is one of the 27 Favorite Healthy Eating Tips from Food Writers; it’s so simple but so true!
Eat More Healthy Fats
One of the tips in 12 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism as You Age that can’t be missed is to eat more monounsaturated fats, which come from healthy sources like avocados, seeds, nuts, fish, and olive oil. It’s particularly important to consume healthy fats if you’re eating something high in sugar, whether it’s dark chocolate or a banana; the fat slows the sugar into your bloodstream so your blood sugar levels are more stable and your metabolism can keep humming along as need be. No wonder a peanut butter and banana sandwich is so satisfying!
Stop with the Yo-Yo Dieting
Although some people think metabolism is genetic or can be boosted by doing things like mentioned above, many people are sabotaging their metabolism as well. One of the worst culprits is yo-yo dieting. A study published in the journal Obesity explained that not only does dieting slow down your metabolism, but sometimes it never fully recovers to a normal state, which makes it harder and harder to lose weight or maintain weight loss. It’s one of the 12 Realities of Yo-Yo Dieting You Need to Hear.