Your metabolism is the rate at which your body expends energy. This process is measured in units of calories.
Everyone’s metabolic rate varies dependent on numerous factors, including age; daily exercise duration/intensity; the food you consume and genetics.
When looking to lose weight, a crucial factor is increasing your metabolic rate. This is because you must be in a caloric deficit – on a consistent basis – to get those weight loss result you want.
There are numerous lifestyle changes that you are in control of that can increase the speed of your metabolism and consequently increase your chances of putting yourself in a caloric deficit and losing weight:
High intensity interval training
Also known as HIIT high intensity interval training is a training method that requires maximal outbursts of energy, seperated by intervals of either active or passive recovery.
Although HIIT is a very fashionable means of training at the moment, it’s certainly not new. Long distance runners were utilise HIIT type training back in the early 1900s to help break through performance plateaus.
The efficient nature of HIIT means you can get a good training session done within a 15 minute window or less.
Not only does HIIT expend lots of calories whilst you are participating in the training session, but also LaForgia, Withers and Gore (2006) review indicates HIIT creates a higher excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) when compared to steady state aerobic workouts, meaning caloric expenditure is higher for longer post-exercise.
Don’t skip meals
The common thought of many when it comes to weight loss, is often based on starvation tactics.
If you deprive your body of food, the body conserves calories by reducing your natural metabolic rate, which ultimately leads to a weight loss plateau, along with lean muscle waste. Instead aim to feed the body at least 4 times a day with smaller, healthy meals to keep the metabolism engaged throughout the day.
Muscle mass is the body’s engine to burn calories – it’s active tissue! It’s important to consider preserving muscle whenever you’re dieting and getting frequent, high protein meals will go a long way towards achieving this.
Cut down on sugars
Consuming high glycaemic sugars in excessive doses is a quick way to acquire undesirable body composition.
This is because this type of food spikes the hormone insulin: which prevents the body breaking down fats and instead puts the body into ‘storage mode’, a contradictory outcome to your goal.
Instead aim to get your carbohydrates from low glycaemic foods such as sweet potato, yams or brown rice and moderate the amounts of carbohydrates with meals.
The American journal of nutrition found that insufficient sleep can cause an increased caloric intake of around 300 cals per day. This is because lack of sleep can disrupt the metabolic hormone ghrelin.
Ghrelin is a hormone responsible for increasing appetite, the effects of ghrelin and the secretion of which are amplified when sleep is sacrificed, thus leading to a greater amount of calories consumed within the day.
Ensure you are getting 8 hours of sleep per night as a minimum, although the amount of sleep necessary can differ from person to personal; keep an eye on key signs, such as mood, food cravings and feeling lethargic.
Drink plain coffee or tea
The natural levels of caffeine present in both tea and coffee increase adrenaline and up regulate the body’s central nervous system and the body’s metabolism.
Furthermore, caffeine is also very effective at reducing appetite; therefore can be a great vice for preventing those daily cravings. More on the benefits of coffee can be found here.
LaForgia, J et al 2006. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Science, 24 (12), 1247-64.