Burn that bad fat!
"What do you eat?" asked a woman in my aqua Zumba class to our instructor, Victoria. It was a fair question because Victoria seems to have the perfect body.
"What do I eat? I eat everything," Victoria responded. She's probably one of those people who don't have to watch everything they put in their mouth because clearly she exercises a lot. You don't get abs like that without exercising.
There are also those people who don't exercise but still are in great shape — the people with fantastic metabolisms, whose bodies burn calories at an accelerated rate. I envy them, but luckily there are ways everyone can boost their metabolisms.
1. Make sure you're eating enough.
It's tempting, especially when you're trying to lose weight, to skip meals and cut back on calories, but when you go too low it can have a very negative affect on your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body slows down the rate at which it burns calories so it can conserve the fuel it has.
"Under-fueling is just as risky as over-fueling," says Carolyn Brown, MS RD at Foodtrainers in Manhattan. If you don't eat enough, your body will start to break down precious calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy.
"Eat just enough so you're not hungry — a 150-calorie snack midmorning and midafternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) will keep your metabolism humming," suggests Dan Benardot, PhD., RD, an associate professor of nutrition and kinesiology at Georgia State University.
2. Drink water when you first wake up.
A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking a large, cool glass of water shortly after waking is a good way to fire up your metabolism. During sleep, your body's metabolic function slows and you get a bit dehydrated. You want to rehydrate before you eat or drink anything.
3. Drink coffee or tea.
Coffee is one of the best drinks for weight loss because it boosts your metabolism. The average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than those who drank decaf, according to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior.
Coffee also is a good choice as a pre-workout drink because you'll find working out more enjoyable, you'll feel less pain, and you won't be as hungry during the day. Green tea, oolong, Kola Nut, Goji, Yerba Mate and Matcha teas will all rev up your metabolism. Researchers believe the antioxidant catechins in tea provide a boost.
4. Do interval training.
The best workouts for weight loss and increasing your metabolism isn't cardio or weights; rather, it's interval training.
5. Stand for three hours a day while you work.
We spend much of our work day sitting at our desks, and being that sedentary isn't good for our bodies. A British study found that standing at work burned 50 more calories per hour than sitting. If that doesn't sound like a lot, do the math: if you stand for just three hours of your workday, in one year you'd burn more than 30,000 extra calories, which works out to approximately eight pounds of fat.
6. Add mustard to your food.
Researchers at England's Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that by eating one teaspoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after eating.
7. Keep it cool in the bedroom.
A study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that turning up the AC may subtly transform a person's stores of brown fat — the good fat, stimulated by cold temperatures that work to keep us warm by burning through bad fat.
8. Eat spicy food.
9. Stop with the stress.
Stress can actually cause the body to metabolize food more slowly, according to research published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Researchers say that the combination of the high-calorie cravings we have when we're stressed out, and a stress-induced, slow metabolic rate can result in significant weight gain.