There are literally dozens of theories about how you can boost your metabolism and these concepts have been perpetuated throughout the fitness magazine and nutrition supplement industries for a long time now.
People sort of just started repeating information they read or heard somewhere because if it’s in a fitness magazine then it has to be true, right? (Enter eye roll here).
Ah, just think, if we could all rev up our fat burning furnaces so that we could be blasting away our ugly body fat at every second of the day! Wouldn’t life be great??!!
There are very good reasons these things are controversial. Some sound good in theory but don’t have the scientific research to back them up. Others are controversial because there are numerous research studies that have been conducted that actually show conflicting results.
So, I want to share with you a list of possible ways to boost your metabolism but I want you to keep in mind that any or all of them could have no scientific basis whatsoever and just be a bunch of crap.
However, I still want to share this list with you because I really feel that some can work, even if it is just a little, and none of these metabolism boosters will hurt you at all.
So, it is my opinion that not all things will work for all people and that some people might see a boost in metabolism using any of these methods while another person may not.
So go ahead and give all of these tips a shot, all you have to lose is a little fat.
1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals starting with breakfast – This is actually a tip that has been around for while now. The theory is that there is a thermogenic effect in our bodies from the process of digesting our foods.
So, if we eat a little more frequently (5-6 times per day) then it is assumed that we could naturally maintain an elevated metabolism throughout the day right from the time we wake up and eat breakfast.
However, it has been theorized lately that perhaps the thermogenic effect of food is not great enough to make a significant difference in our metabolisms. Just like new information has been released that by not eating consistently throughout the day or intermittent fasting will NOT slow our metabolism down.
According to Brad Pilon and Eat Stop Eat, you can actually go for 72 hours without eating food before there is a significant decrease in our metabolism.
So, at this point I think there may not be enough scientific evidence that eating small and more frequent meals throughout the day will result in an increase in your metabolism – at least not one enough to blast the fat off your body.
However, the personal evidence I have to support this theory is convincing. I have personally lost 20 lbs in the past (gained as a result of an injury) by using a sound exercise program and eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day. I have also had Scott and clients switch to this way of eating and they are also convinced it works.
In fact, Scott, my boyfriend Contractor who knows very little about physiology, would actually argue with me if I ever told him that eating small more frequent meals throughout the day doesn’t speed up metabolism. It’s so funny to watch because he’s convinced by what he experienced when he lost a ton of weight when we first met.
Eating breakfast and then eating 4-5 more small meals each day may or may not work to boost your metabolism, but it also won’t hurt to try it, that’s for sure.
2. Do metabolic resistance training – Exercise is really one of the best methods that will truly increase your metabolism, and I don’t think there is one fitness pro out there that will argue that fact.
Metabolic resistance training, essentially cardio with weights, is the best form of exercise you can do to boost your metabolism. That we have seen in the scientific literature.
Doing an intense strength training session such as this creates a serious metabolic disturbance in your body and has been shown to boost your metabolism for up to 38 hours post workout! Even while you sleep!
Why wouldn’t anyone spend the majority of their time dedicated to exercise lifting heavy things?
For more information on how you can do a metabolic resistance training workout please check out an earlier blog post I did –> Metabolic Resistance Training An Important Part Of Your Fat Burning Workouts
3. Do high intensity interval training – Ah, high intensity interval training; the second best exercise for boosting your metabolism and my personal favorite. As with metabolic resistance training, high intensity interval training not only boosts your metabolism while you are performing the activity but it is reported to keep your metabolism elevated for 24-36 hours even after you stop exercising!
For all the different ways to do high intensity interval training you can review an earlier blog post I did by clicking here—> Alternative Fat Burning Exercises To The Treadmill
My absolute favorite exercise to do with high intensity interval training are kettlebell swings with a 24 second active interval with a 36 second recovery interval. Try that for 15 minutes and try to deny that it’s a killer workout! Your metabolism will be elevated for weeks! OK, not weeks but a really long time!
4. Consume metabolism boosting foods – There are several research proven foods that have been reported to fire up your metabolism more than others. These include green tea, capsacin (a substance found in chili peppers), cinnamon, and coffee. But again, is the amount that they increase our metabolisms really significant enough to help you drop body weight?
This is another one that you will have to experiment with yourself to see if and how much it works for you. You could go to the grocery store and buy the peppers, green tea, coffee, and cinnamon and try to figure out how to consume enough of each of these foods each day to obtain the desired effect.
5. Add / maintain lean muscle -There have been some SERIOUS exaggeration as to the amount of calories you can burn if you had more muscle. I’ve seen unofficial reports of up to 500%. That’s just kooky talk.
In reality, muscle does burn more calories than fat. But the amount has been misunderstood. It now looks most likely that muscle only burns 4 more calories per pound than fat does. That’s sort of crappy. And a bit of a let down.
The other things in your body that also burns calories are your organs – at a pretty high rate too. But unfortunately, our organs make up ony a small percentage of our overall weight. The only other factors left are fat and muscle.
So, if you added 10 pounds of muscle to your body you would essentially only burn 60 more calories per day because of it.
Like I said before, it’s a let down when you do the math.
However, there are a slew of other reasons why you should work to increase or even just maintain your lean muscle levels so I don’t want you to discount this method.
Who wouldn’t want an extra 60 calories per day gone?
OK, so I have laid it all out on the line for you. In the end, exercise is really the BEST way to boost your metabolism. If you work hard at metabolic resistance training and high intensity interval training then that will certainly pay off for you.
But what if you went the extra mile and did the other things too just in case the amounted to something? It wouldn’t hurt. And eating smaller more frequent meals, eating particular metabolism boosting foods, and working to increase lean muscle are all good, healthy things.
And they may boost your metabolism yet.
Your Friend and Coach,
Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS