Hey Obi, I read a lot about the link between weight gain and slow metabolism. How do I make my metabolism Ferrari fast, rather than having it plod along like my high school football coach's dented-up powder-blue van?
Ah, metabolism? Now you're talking my language.
The speed at which the metabolic processes occur is called the metabolic rate. This rate is influenced by many factors, including what you eat (and don't), how (and if) you train, and the health of your digestive and nervous systems and thyroid gland.
The faster your metabolic rate, the more easily your body can burn fat.
So how can you speed up your metabolism? Follow these 10 tips to metabolic Ferrari-dom:
Eat a high-quality breakfast upon waking
This puts your body to work immediately - your metabolic drive needs to rev-up to break down the food. Bypass breakfast and your metabolism won't receive this jumpstart until lunchtime.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
The digestive enzymes they contain will help your body digest food properly throughout the day. Green vegetables are particularly beneficial. Chlorophyll (the green pigment which performs photosynthesis in plants) helps rid the body of toxins.
Consume 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of lean muscle per day
So if your fat-free weight is 113 pounds, consume 113 grams of protein. Whey is ideal because of how quickly your body digests it. Research shows that consuming plenty of protein can speed up your metabolism enough to burn an extra 150 to 200 calories per day.
Drink tea or coffee
Caffeine does more than jolt you awake: It gives your metabolism an incredible jumpstart. Stop at three cups of Joe per day - any more can lead to insomnia. Drinking green tea is an important tool and catalyst to weight loss and speeding up your metabolism; it contains a potent antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate.
Take a daily Vitamin B complex
B helps the body metabolize protein, carbs and fats, as well as supporting the function of a healthy nervous system.
A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories than a pound of fat. Building lean mass increases your metabolic rate and helps burn calories faster, even while at rest! Regular weight training can increase your resting metabolic rate by nearly 10 percent. This means that if you weigh 120 pounds, you can burn around 100 calories more a day just playing video games or watching television (not that I'm recommending either).
HIIT helps burn fat at an accelerated rate. Because of the intensity, cap your session at 25 minutes, max. Try it on an empty stomach to further stoke the fat-burning furnace. I've not only implemented HIIT with my clients but also used it when preparing for photo shoots and competitions. Trust me, it works.
Studies have found that if you drink alcohol, you're also prone to eat 200 additional calories, so ... yikes! The body tends to process alcohol preferentially, which makes it more likely that food calories will be stored as fat. If you must imbibe, stick to wine, which only dings you 70-80 calories per glass.
Don't skip sleep
A University of Chicago study found that people who slept four hours per night or less had difficulties processing carbohydrates. An exhausted body doesn't burn calories as efficiently as a rested one. The net result: slower metabolism.
Stress hormones, like cortisol, stimulate fat cells deep in the abdomen to increase in size, encouraging storage of abdominal fat. Those hormones also can spark your appetite, leading to overeating. So chill out - and your metabolism will increase its rate of revolutions!