You may feel like you have the metabolism of a tortoise, but, fortunately, you can get yourself out of the slow lane—and burn calories like crazy—just by doing these six simple things:
1. Never Skip Meals
You may think that you’ll accelerate your weight loss by eating less than you should. The truth is, the opposite happens. Cutting too many calories tricks your body into thinking it’s starving so instead of burning calories, it starts storing them as fat for the prolonged famine it’s sure is coming. Eating actually stimulates your metabolism, which is why eating three meals and several snacks a day can help you boost the calorie burn.
2. Build Muscle
Your muscles are fat-burning machines. One pound of muscle uses six calories a day just to keep on going, while fat only uses two calories. That means the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Don’t go gangbusters on a strength-training regime if you’ve never done it before. Start with smaller weights and find exercises that work all your body parts, but particularly the large muscle groups—your legs, back, abdominals, and chest—which give you more burn for your buck.
3. Do it at “Intervals”
It turns out that when you exercise going flat out for a long period of time may not boost your metabolism as well or as quickly as going at full speed for a minute then ratcheting it down for a minute. So called “high intensity interval training” requires that you exercise at 80-90 percent of your maximum heart rate which varies based on your age. Calculate yours by subtracting your age from 220. Check with your doctor to see if interval training is right for you before you start a program.
4. Sip Green Tea
While caffeine can boost your metabolic rate and green tea has it, there’s something else in that delicate beverage at work. Green tea contains antioxidant catechins which have been shown in studies to boost metabolism by about four percent, which can amount to as much as 80 calories a day.
5. Stick to Veggies, Fruit, Whole Grains and Lean Meat
These foods are simply more work to eat, and we’re not just talking the extra chewing which can boost your calorie burn by almost a third. Your body takes longer to digest high fiber and hig-protein foods. One Japanese study found that people who ate a diet replete with foods that took longer to digest tended to be slimmer than those who didn’t.
6. Stand Up
When you’re on your feet, research at the University of Missouri suggests, your body is more likely to burn calories. (Conversely, it’s more likely to store them as fat when you’re sitting.) How does it work? Studies also show that your muscles will be use calories in the effort to just keep you upright. Also, the enzymes your body uses to burn fat are more active when you’re on your feet. If you have a sedentary job, get up as frequently as you can or use a standing desk occasionally. In one study, people who used a standing desk burned 7.2 more calories an hour than when they were sitting. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you add movement, it goes up even higher. Unless you’re a guard at Buckingham Palace, when you stand you’re likely to move around or “fidget.” That adds an additional 30 calories to the 7. If you do that for half your work day, you’ve killed an extra 120 calories just standing there.