METABOLISM SECRETS THAT HELP YOU BLAST CALORIES.
Discover how to torch more calories every day and boost your metabolism in this complete guide to your body’s fat burning engine.
It’s no wonder metabolism is a subject of fascination and speculation: The process that turns food into fuel powers all that we do. Even when you’re sleeping, your body requires energy for things like breathing and repairing cell damage. The number of calories you need to perform such basic functions is called your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and it can affect everything from your waistline to your energy level. Read on to learn how to keep your metabolism revved so your body is operating at just the right speed.
Dieting can lower your metabolism.
Whenever you cut calories, your metabolism slows down, often by more than you expect. Studies have found that formerly obese people have a 3 to 5 percent lower RMR than people who’ve never had to lose weight. But such a drastic slowdown isn’t inevitable. Other research has shown that regular exercise can counteract the effect. And a gradual weight-loss strategy can help keep your metabolism humming. A good rule of thumb: Reduce caloric intake by no more than 500 calories a day, and torch roughly the same number through exercise. A 1,000-calorie daily deficit should help you lose about 2 pounds a week.
Chronic stress slows your burn
Wigged-out and gaining weight? No, it’s not in your head (unfortunately). Research suggests that when you’re totally frazzled, your metabolism stalls. One reason: Chronic stress stimulates the production of betatrophin, a protein that inhibits an enzyme needed to break down fat, per a University of Florida study. Other research found that women who experienced a stressful event the day before eating a single high-fat meal burned 104 fewer calories over the seven hours following the meal than their more chillaxed counterparts. The stressed women also had higher insulin levels, which contributes to fat storage. These effects could lead to a gain of 11 pounds a year.
Intermittent fasting may help
For the most part, experts have advised against cleanses and other trendy fasts. But research now shows that alternate-day fasting—which entails eating without restriction one day, then consuming about 500 calories the next—can trigger weight loss without mucking up your metabolism. Women who followed this plan for eight weeks lost an average of 13 pounds, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Lift weights the right way
There’s no question that strength training is a good way to combat the drop in metabolism that comes with age. But new research suggests that when you’re lifting weights, the ideal strategy is to go slowly. Resting for two to three minutes between sets may actually promote more muscle growth than a shorter rest interval, according to a U.K. study published this year. The most important thing is to just do it, two or three times a week. To reap the most benefits, add your strength training to a HIIT workout.
Protein is key
You’ve probably heard that the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. And you know protein is essential for muscle growth; it helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue that happens as you get older and when you cut calories. But the trick, is to divide your intake evenly throughout the day. You can utilise only 4 to 6 ounces of protein at a time. If you consume more than that at one sitting, it will get stored as fat.
Research backs up our advice: A 2014 study found that people who took in 30 grams of protein at each meal had 25 percent better muscle protein synthesis than those who ate 90 grams in a day in irregular portions (10 at breakfast, 15 at lunch and 65 at dinner). As for the best sources of the nutrient, we suggest lean meats, seafood, legumes, eggs, dairy and nuts.