Boosting your metabolism doesn't have to feel out of reach and oh-so elusive. We tapped nutrition and fitness experts for their top straightforward tips that can help you up your metabolic rate, burn more fat, and see real results.
#1. Lift Weights
When trainer Tia Falcone helped Miss America Nina Davuluri shed 50 pounds, weight training was essential to her success. Tia says, "all women need to gain as much muscle as humanly possible; that's what's going to make you smaller, and it raises your base metabolism permanently." The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism.
In addition to making you strong and toned, lifting heavy weights affects your hormone levels, offering your body the natural ability to burn fat for a full 24 hours after your workout. Let's let the after-burn effect work in your metabolism's favor, shall we?
#2. Eat More Protein
To burn more fat, it's time to put the focus off solely counting calories and on to protein. According to Esther Blum, MS, RD, high-protein foods take more work to "digest, metabolize and use, which means you burn more calories processing them." Eating adequate protein also ensures that you keep your precious muscle tissue — something that is often lost with a low-calorie or low-protein diet.
#3. Get to Bed
According to Jennifer Cohen, trainer and author of "Strong Is the New Skinny," people seriously underestimate the power of sleep. "If you're not sleeping enough or properly, your whole system and circadian rhythms are off," which negatively affects your metabolism.
Beyond your body's fat-burning power, lack of sleep leaves you sluggish all day long and can even lead to belly fat. Be sure to get (at least) seven hours a night to give your body ample rest to function at its top potential.
#4. Sip on Water
For trainer Valerie Walters, drinking plenty of water is an absolute must for a robust metabolism — even when the weather cools off! "People start forgetting when it's cold and they are dashing around, but this is always an important fitness advice," says Valerie.
One study shows that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more fat than those who only drank four, so make sure you gulp in order to burn.
#5. Start the Day Right
Yumi Lee, co-owner of Reebok CrossFit Lab and Jessica Alba's trainer, offers a helpful either-or strategy when it comes to kick-starting your metabolism. "Either start off with a good breakfast or a good workout," she says. "If you're going to work out within an hour of waking up, then don't eat. But if you can't work out within an hour of waking up, then eat. Either your workout or eating a healthy breakfast is going to jump-start your metabolism."
If you are a morning exerciser, Yumi recommends not eating anything before a workout, especially if you normally experience stomach discomfort while you exercise. If you do need fuel before a workout, she suggests a small protein shake, a piece of toast with a protein, or a small bowl of oatmeal, but "not too much; if you can burn off what's in store from the day before, then you're better off than just burning off what you ate for breakfast."