There's a way to boost your metabolism that doesn't involve the gym? Where can I sign up? While getting in exercise regularly is still important for your health, you can only spend so much time at the gym in a day. Finding ways to boost your metabolism without exercise is awesome, as you can then keep your levels high throughout the day and burn more calories overall. By using your body more efficiently, you'll be closer to reaching your fitness and health goals.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling more energized in the day, and often a faster metabolism can provide stamina, confidence, and greater fitness performance. When your body is functioning as well as it can and you have more energy, you're bound to feel happier and lighter, which can contribute to a more positive outlook and behavior. While we find ways to include fitness into the daily regimen, we also figure out sneaky ways to keep the metabolism revved, effortlessly. Being in the gym is great in the moment, but it's better to keep your body running high for hours after. Here are 15 ways to instantly boost your metabolism, without worrying about getting in a long sweat session. It's a major win-win.
1. Spice Up Your Meals
Instead of downing your food in heavy sauces, dressings, fats, and oils, take a lighter and spicier approach with all natural spices to boost flavor and metabolic burn, without the addition of unwanted calories, advises Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT over email with Bustle. "Though it's a combination of factors, adding capsaicin to your foods may have a mild effect on your metabolic burn," Shaw recommends. Capsaicin is found in hot chili peppers and sauces.
2. Drink Water
"Even mild dehydration can effect and slow down your metabolism," advises Shaw. Shaw recommends having a reusable bottle on hand so that you can keep it filled throughout the day, and carry it around with you for easy accessibility when on the go. Drinking water is also calorie-free, so it's great as a health drink.
3. Eat Small Meals Frequently
"Going too long without fuel can slow down your metabolism. So, instead of three large meals, try going for six small, frequent meals throughout the day," advises Shaw. When you overwhelm your body with excess food, it can slow the metabolism; likewise, eating too little can cause the body to go into starvation mode and not burn as efficiently, Shaw explains.
4. Eat Breakfast
According to Pamela Nisevich Bede, MS, RD of Abbott over email with Bustle, eating breakfast is a great way to rev the metabolism, outside the gym. "No matter your age, you should eat breakfast every morning. Eating a meal in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism for the day, and eating a protein-rich breakfast food (like eggs) will keep you feeling full throughout the day," says Bede.
5. Eat Vitamin B Foods
"Your body needs help to convert carbs, protein and fats from food into energy. Eating foods high in B vitamins facilitates this process – foods rich in vitamin-B include beans, lentils, whole grains, and most deeply colored produce," explains Bede. Make sure you're getting enough in your meals, and consider taking a daily supplement if you're struggling to get your fill.
6. Drink Green Tea & Coffee
Bede suggests drinking green tea in the day, as it "contains compounds that may support a healthy metabolism or even reduce appetite." Additionally, Lauren Blake, RD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center explains over email with Bustle that "research has shown that a plant compound called ECCG in green tea may contribute to fat burning temporarily after drinking it. Those who drink 24 ounces of green tea per day may burn 70-100 more calories each day due to this antioxidant." Coffee is also a great choice. "Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee that when used in moderation can rev up your metabolic rate and also promote the use of fat as energy during exercise," says Blake.
7. Skip Weird Supplements
"Skip the supplements that promise 'metabolism boost' or 'fat burning' without even lifting a finger, let alone a barbell. Many of these supplements may carry dangerous side effects," cautions Bede. Instead, Bede recommends looking to whole foods to fill your nutrient quotas for the day. You can also add seasonings and other delicious garnishes to flavor rather bland foods.
8. Eat Omega 3 Foods
According to Tricia Williams, executive chef and founder of Food Matters NYC, over email with Bustle, eating omega 3 foods can help boost the metabolism outside the gym. Williams recommends getting intake from sources, such as, "wild salmon, walnuts or eggs because they help stabilize blood sugar." Plus, they're incredibly filling and delicious.
9. Avoid Processed & Sugary Foods
"You don’t want to spike and crash your blood sugar. Once your blood sugar crashes you are more likely to reach for more sugar," advises Williams. Eating processed and high sugar foods (even fruit, which contains natural sugar, and is healthy, should be eaten in moderate portion sizes in the day), will be easy to break down in the body and won't help keep your metabolism at steady, elevated levels.
"When we become stressed, our bodies releases cortisol, 'the stress hormone.' Too much cortisol slows down our metabolism and increases our ability to conserve fat," advises Blake. "Try taking some time out of your busy day to unwind and your metabolism will thank you," recommends Blake. Perhaps a warm bath, Netflix, a glass of red wine, meditation, or yoga?
11. Eat Lots Of Protein
"Protein has a high thermogenic effect, meaning your body burns more calories to break it down compared to carbohydrates or fat. Good sources of protein include turkey, fish, white mean chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low fat dairy," says Blake. Eating these foods will also fill you up, which will prevent you from snacking or giving into the munchies during the day.
12. Turn Down The Thermostat
"Research has shown that when we spend time in cooler temperatures, we can boost our calorie burn by up to 30 percent. According to a recent study, people who spent two hours a day in mildly cold temperatures (around 63° F) for a period of six weeks burned more energy than people who spent the time in warmer temperatures," says Blake. "Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain a balanced temperature of 98.6 ° F. Reducing your thermostat revs up our metabolism to burn more calories in order to maintain our body temperature," Blake explains.
13. Stand More
"Sitting for a long time burns few calories, can lead to excess weight gain and has adverse side effect on our health. When compared with sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories per day," says Blake. "Try to stand up regularly at work, or invest in a workstation that allows you to stand and sit throughout the work day," Blake recommends.
14. Get Some Sleep
"Studies have shown that even just one week of sleep deprivation can alter our metabolism and the hormones involved in regulating our metabolism. Without a solid 7-8 hours of sleep per night, our hunger and satiety hormones stop functioning properly, creating decreased satiety and increased hunger throughout the day, leading to an increase of calories consumed," says Blake. Make sleep a priority for a faster metabolism.
15. Cook With Coconut Oil
"Coconut oil is made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which have been shown to increase your metabolism greater than oils and fats made up of long chain triglycerides (LCTs), like butter and canola oil. Researchers have found that when individuals consumed meals with coconut oil, their metabolism increased by 12 percent, when compared to LCTs, which only raised their metabolism by 4 percent," says Blake. Plus, it tastes great.
If you notice any of these tweaks making a difference in your fitness, health goals, and metabolism, you're probably not imagining it. Embrace these lifestyle hacks for a speedier metabolism, so you can keep burning calories more efficiently even outside the gym.
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