Give Your Metabolism a Boost!

Winter is nearly over, but is your metabolism still in hibernation? Even if your metabolic rate is slower than a snail climbing a hill of molasses, there are ways to ignite your calorie-burning machine. The key to a supercharged metabolism is stoking the metabolic engine with exercise, food and lifestyle habits that boost energy expenditure.

Metabolism, the process of converting food into fuel, is a complex interplay of hormones and enzymes that work in harmony 24/7 to produce the energy we need to function. The rate of calorie burn depends on static factors like age, gender and genetics and modifiable ones like lifestyle and body composition.

As we age, our metabolism plummets 5% each decade after 40. Men burn more calories than women due to higher lean body mass. People from metabolically challenged families find weight is easy to put on but harder to take off thanks to genes that trigger glacier-paced combustion.

To make the most of your calorie-burning capacity, include these metabolism-boosting strategies in your daily routine:

Exercise–build it up: Aerobic exercise encourages immediate calorie burning, but weight training builds long-term, calorie-demanding lean body mass. So pump up muscles and consider beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate (HMB) to further enhance muscle mass (Wilson, Wilson & Manninen 2008).

Eat often: Small, frequent meals keep metabolism on track. Skipping meals or starvation diets only quash metabolism. So rev up your fuel burning with healthy meals throughout the day. Metabolism jumps a tick after eating because of the thermic effect of food, which keeps your metabolism buzzing (Van Baak 2008).
Sleep well: Sleep deprivation disrupts appetite hormones and slows metabolism. Strive for seven hours of shut-eye each night to preserve metabolic harmony (Shlisky et al. 2012).
Sit smart: Sitting on a therapy ball or standing may be a great way to burn calories at the office. Clerical workers can expend more energy by ditching the office chair for a therapy ball or standing (Beers et al. 2008)
Try thermogenic-boosting edibles: Caffeine, capsaicin and green, white and oolong teas may increase energy expenditure 4%-5% (Hursel & Westerterp-Plantenga 2010).
Drink tea: Green tea comes from the non-oxidized and non-fermented leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Potent polyphenolic compounds like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and a host of other catechins inhibit the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, thus stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and triggering a rise in energy expenditure. Green tea has been shown to promote dose-dependent weight loss and weight maintenance, especially if combined with caffeine (Hursel et al. 2011.
Catechin-caffeine combo: Caffeine stimulates thermogenesis via the sympathetic nervous system. Green tea contains both catechins and caffeine. This dynamic duo causes a dose-dependent increase in energy expenditure, particularly in some ethic groups.  Be careful if you are caffeine sensitive. You may feel a rapid heart rate from this. (Hursel & Westerterp-Plantenga 2010)
Hot stuff: Capsaicin puts the hot in chili peppers and boosts thermogenesis via catecholamines. Significant increases in metabolism have been reported in Asian populations consuming this hot commodity, but results are mixed in other ethnic groups (Hursel & Westerterp-Plantenga 2010).

About Lisa Goldberg

Hello! And Welcome to my blog, Health News From Your HealthCoach. Having been in the health and fitness industry for the last 16 years, I know that diet and nutrition information can be overwhelming and ever-changing. Over the years I have been asked many of the same questions. “How can I lose weight?” “How can I maintain my weight loss?” “What kind of vitamins should I take?” ” What’s the best alcohol to drink when I’m dieting?” I will address these questions and many others in Health News From Your HealthCoach. My Bio I am a nutritionist with a Masters degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. I am a Certified Nutrition Specialist through the American College of Nutrition, and a Certified Dietician/Nutritionist through New York State. I am also a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. My company, HealthCoach, has been delivering healthy lunches to trading desks at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and JPMorgan amongst others, since 2004. I counsel my HealthCoach clients and private clients on weight loss, behavior/lifestyle modification and overall health and wellbeing.
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