Do you feel like you’re not burning calories efficiently or losing weight as fast as you’d like? One way to help reach your goals is to boost your metabolism. Your metabolism is the process of converting food and drinks into energy, and having an efficient metabolism maximizes calorie and fat burning.
Implementing metabolism-boosting strategies takes consistency and patience, but it can be worthwhile if weight loss or maintenance is your goal. Here are 8 effective ways to naturally give your metabolism a lift.
1. Build Muscle
Building muscle mass directly correlates with metabolism over the long term. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat at rest, so putting on more muscle through weight training means you’re increasing the number of calories your body burns daily. This helps boost your overall metabolic rate. Focus on large muscle groups like legs, back, chest, and abs with body weight, resistance bands, weight machines, or free weights.
2. Eat More Protein
Protein is the most metabolically active of the macronutrients. Your body burns more calories breaking it down and using it for energy, tissue growth, and repair. Getting enough protein ensures you maintain and build calorie-burning lean muscle mass, while reducing fat. Aim for 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily from foods like meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Whey protein supplements can help you meet protein needs.
3. Drink Green Tea
Thanks to antioxidants called catechins, studies show green tea boosts fat burning, particularly during exercise. Drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day for metabolism benefits. Consider taking green tea extract supplements for concentrated catechin antioxidant effects. You can also find pills to help burn fat that contain green tea among other ingredients like caffeine and cayenne pepper.
4. Up Your Cardio
Cardio exercise like running, biking and interval training require large amounts of energy over extended time periods, so your metabolism has to work harder during and after the activity. The more strenuous and longer-lasting the cardio, the bigger the metabolic boost. Work your way up to 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity cardio or 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly.
5. Lift Weights Faster
Reducing rest periods between sets of the same exercise to 30 seconds or less adds a metabolism-lifting dimension to weightlifting workouts. It transforms regular strength training into a type of interval training, where your heart rate stays up and your body has to work harder—and burn more calories—to provide muscles with the constant energy they need.
6. Try HIIT Workouts
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines intense bursts of exercise followed by brief rest periods. These short, extremely high-exertion intervals rev metabolism higher than less intense traditional workouts. They also continue burning calories for hours afterward—what’s known as the “afterburn effect”. Aim for 2-3 HIIT sessions weekly for maximal calorie and fat burning.
7. Increase NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This involves calories you burn from daily movement and activities other than dedicated exercise. Simple habits like taking the stairs, pacing while on the phone, tapping your feet, getting up to grab items instead of reaching, fidgeting and taking brief walk breaks add up significantly over the course of a day. The more active you are outside of exercise, the more calories you’ll burn.
8. Get More Sleep
Operating in a calorie deficit via diet and exercise can sometimes backfire by causing hormone changes that negatively impact metabolism. Not getting enough sleep has similar effects in disrupting hormone levels in ways that compromise metabolic rate. Scientists believe eight hours per night is best for allowing hormones to stabilize and maximize fat-burning potential. Address sleep issues to support your hard work toward weight loss goals.
Implementing even a few of these science-backed habits can make daily calorie burning easier and more efficient over time. Support dietary, exercise, sleep, and lifestyle efforts to boost metabolism using healthy supplements under the guidance of your doctor or nutritionist. Consistency is key, so choose realistic strategies to promote a steady, lifelong metabolism and fat-burning enhancement.