In case you are completely in the dark, metabolism is a fancy word used to describe the amount of calories your body burns during the day. It is often referred to as resting metabolic rate (RMR). I like to keep things in grade-two mentality so everyone can play in the sandbox.

One with a high metabolism often appears really thin, but that’s not always the case. As part of one of my jobs in the fitness industry, I test people to see what their RMR is. You may be surprised to find out that heavier people often have a higher RMR than thinner people. If you really think about it, it does kind of make sense. They have to carry more weight around so their body works harder; thus leading to a higher metabolism.

All science aside, there are actually ways that you can boost your metabolism. The obvious benefit to this is that you’ll be more apt to lose weight. I know that sounds tricky, given the information I mentioned above, but the world of weight loss does tend to be abstract at times. On that note, let’s get down to business.


Lift weights.
Did you know that muscle is a metabolically active tissue? Did you also know that stored fat is not? Well you do now because I just told you.

Take that advice to the gym and add some layers of muscle to your frame!

To gain the most mass, perform compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once like clean and presses, squats, deadlifts, step-ups, back rows and Turkish get-ups.

Perform high-intensity cardio.
Working out aerobically will get you a decent caloric expenditure and modest boost in metabolism. But if you really want to turn the volume up, go for broke in your workouts. Think of something that is making you mad and put that energy into your training.

Unlike slow and steady cardio, high-intensity will boost your metabolism for 24 to 48 hours after you are done. THAT is where the REAL money is hidden!

You are best served doing sprint intervals. Start out with a light warm-up, and then alternate back and forth from a burst of high intensity to a period of low intensity or complete rest. A mere 20 minutes of this training modality is all you really need.

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Eat frequently.
There is this “thing” called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It states that your body burns calories to break down meals through the digestive process. That’s good news, but I have even better news. There is a way to lobby this in your favor to get an even better effect. Eat small meals every two to three hours throughout the day.

Make sure to include foods in these meals that have a high nutrient density but are low in calories, such as celery, cucumbers, all forms of greens, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. You will often hear these foods referred to as zero-calorie or negative-calorie foods!

The theory is that your body burns more calories to break them down than the amount of calories they contain. The verdict still isn’t completely out on that in my opinion, but they definitely make good additions to your diet.

Add cayenne pepper to your meals.
A growing body of research has been done on the active component in hot peppers called capsaicin. The buzz on the streets is that it has the potential to naturally boost metabolism. It may not be a huge boost, but something is always better than nothing.
If you have the tolerance, add some spice to your diet. Any type of hot pepper or hot sauce will work in this case.

Drink ice cold water.
Here’s a little twist of irony. When you drink ice cold water, your internal temperature has to rise to heat it up. This causes a small residual effect on your metabolism.

Personally, I hate ice water. It hurts my teeth and mouth, and is just plain uncomfortable to drink. But I know a lot of people who love it. Hey, by all means, if you can hack it, fill up a glass of cold water with ice cubes and have at it.

OK, now you have a good set of guidelines to follow to help boost your metabolism. Ironically, the tips above will promote weight loss anyway because they revolve around eating healthy and being more active.

When you strip away all the layers, it really comes down to the basics in the end.

If you need any more advice or information, give me a holler. Otherwise, good luck and always be led by your faith instead of doubts!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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