You’ve heard it before, your metabolism slows as you age, and unfortunately it’s true.
If you don’t take action to combat this you will fall victim to it.
It freaking stinks, plain and simple, but all is not lost!
The main reason for the age related drop in metabolism seems to be the overall decrease in lean muscle tissue and activity levels that tend to occur with aging.
However, the good news is regardless of your age, there are NUMEROUS ways that you can speed up that metabolism of yours to help combat any age related drops!
You can get as crazy with it as you want depending on how much effort you want to put in, but I’ll discuss a few options that I love, that you can use to get started in the right direction.
These are my top 5 secrets to help you jack up your metabolism and turn your body into a fat burning furnace!
Keep in mind that your hormones are the key players when it comes to how your body utilizes energy and stores fat, and depending on what your lifestyle looks like altering your metabolic system/ hormone regulation may take some time and various methods to find what works best for you.
But if you stay consistent and have compassion with yourself along the way you will get there!
Try these simple strategies to get you started…
#1. Work That Back End
Oh yes, I’m talking about those beautiful posterior chain muscles involved in hip extension- your glutes and hamstrings!
These bad boys are among your largest muscle groups and therefore offer the highest potential to increase in size- aka muscle tissue.
Why is this important?
Because more muscle= increased calorie utilization to build/maintain muscle tissue= increased total daily energy expenditure.
Daily energy expenditure consists of three components: basal metabolic rate (BMR), diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) and the energy cost of physical activity, with BMR contributing the most.
By strength training your posterior chain with adequate resistance you have the potential to build muscle tissue and therefore increase two of those factors- BMR and energy spent doing the workout!
As an extra bonus while your body recovers after a workout your metabolism is increased for up to 48 hours!
But I want you to know that I’m not saying you have to get shredded like the hulk, in fact that’s a pretty difficult feat despite what you may think.
What I am saying is that you can increase your lean muscle mass with simple tools, (without looking bulky) to elevate your basal metabolic rate, and pump up your fat burning capabilities, not to mention give your back end some sweet curves!
You don’t have to lift super heavy weights or train 5 days a week to reap these benefits.
All it takes is using the right exercises to consistently produce a level of stress beyond your current threshold to induce muscular adaptations, and coupling that with an adequate amount of protein in your diet. (This plays into the third factor DIT but you can check out my >>article<< of mine for more information on all of that).
This can mean starting out with your own body weight and only working on one or two exercises involving the posterior chain, like squats, lunges, step ups, or deadlifts; for 15-30 minutes 3x a week (more or less depending on your training level).
Keep an eye out for my next blog on my top 3 bang for your buck exercises (complete with video’s) to give you some more help in this area.
So as you can see this sweet little cycle starts with working that back end, and ultimately results in you cranking up that metabolism on multiple levels.
- Make the bulk of your workouts consist of the compound exercises mentioned above. Even if it’s just doing one, start somewhere and work your way up.
- Start with your body weight if you’re a beginner, and increase the intensity once you’re doing up to 15 reps no problem.
- Increase intensity by adding external weight (dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands), preforming the lowering (eccentric) portion of the moves slower (more time under tension), increasing your number of sets, or by doing plyometrics (jumping or pushing off ground).
- Make sure to always be pushing yourself and changing things up every 4 weeks or so.
- Supplement with adequate protein.
- Read my >>blog <<about protein, seriously!
#2. Prioritize Sleep
Don’t hate me for saying this, but you need to make getting enough sleep a priority.
If you are not doing this you are 100% hindering your metabolism and fat loss capabilities.
I understand that some circumstances don’t allow for a full 8 hour nights sleep, but do your best to prioritize it as much as possible when you can, it’s worth it!
There are A TON of reasons to do this, but as far as metabolism goes this is why it is so important…
Sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, causing sympathetic overdrive as well as inflammation.
Basically, your natural regulation of the hunger hormones (leptin and ghrenlin) and stress hormone (cortisol) can be altered leading to increased calorie consumption and fat storage.
Oh but there’s more.
When your body is in a constant state of stress it will inhibit your bodies growth and repair mechanisms, diminishing your lean muscle gains- going back to #1, this is the last thing that you want to happen!
- Determine an ideal bedtime to give you 8 hours of sleep (or as close to that as possible) and set a reminder to wind down 30 minutes to an hour before hand.
- Turn off your electronics and bright lights and do some reading, meditation, or plan out your next day’s schedule/ to do’s. This will reduce cortisol stimulation and allow your body to start producing more melatonin to help you fall asleep.
- Try taking 0.2 mg to 20.0 mg of melatonin for a short period of time to help facilitate a sleep schedule (consult your doctor if pregnant and for individual dosages).
- Be consistent and don’t give up. Keep trying to do this for up to a month to allow your body’s circadian rhythm to adjust and balance out.
- Take an epsom salt bath for 30 minutes or a magnesium supplement (no ore than 350 mg/day, again consult your doctor for exact dosage amounts) to help your body relax.
- Designate your bedroom only for sleeping and winding down (no TV or computers) so when you go to bed your mind is ready to relax.
- Charge your phone away from your bed to eliminate electromagnetic frequencies that can disrupt sleep.
#3. Carry A Water Bottle With You EVERYWHERE
Oh yes ladies, this isn’t just about reducing calories and sugary drinks (which is great), but multiple studies have shown that drinking water can actually speed up your metabolism by 30%!
A study done by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicated that the mechanisms behind this are related to sympathetic activation and increased stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors- the science side in case you were curious. 😉
Now this study only used 17 ounces of water to produce results with a 30% metabolic increase.
The actual amount of water that I recommend to drink daily is closer to 1/2 your body weight in ounces or about 2-3 times more then the study involved, depending on your weight.
So image what the possibilities are in that case!
To keep things simple, the main idea is just to constantly remain hydrated as water makes up every cell in your body, and effects brain function, physical performance, headaches, constipation, and as we just saw, metabolism.
*Side not: The verdict is still out on whether or not drinking your water cold contributes to this effect, but I personally like to think so. 😉
- Drink a glass of water in the morning right when you get up (I do this every day with some lemon).
- Get a refillable water bottle that’s at least 24 oz., make a point to take it with you everywhere you go, and sip a little here and there.
- Aim to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces a day, and calculate how many times you will have to re-fill your designated water bottle to reach this.
- Set a goal each week to drink one extra bottle every day.
- If you drink sodas or juices try subbing out one drink a day for a glass of water.
- If you have a hard time drinking water because of the lack of flavor, try adding some fruit, mint, or cucumber to spice it up naturally. You can actually buy fruit infuser water bottles specifically for this!
#4 Cycle Your Carbohydrate Intake
What I mean by this is waking up your metabolism by not eating the same amount of carbohydrates or calories every day (carb cycling).
Your body adapts to the amount and quality of the food you intake, and will adjust your metabolic processes as a result.
Therefore, if you constantly remain on a low calorie or low carb intake, it can reduce your metabolic rate, sympathetic nervous system activity, leptin levels, and reproductive and thyroid hormone output just to name a few.
Not only will you feel like poop, but this can result in a fat loss plateau.
The trick is to keep your body guessing while ensuring that you are supplying it with adequate nutrition and fueling it to function optimally.
You can get super crazy when it comes to carb cycling, but unless you’re a competitive athlete it really isn’t necessary.
However, the average gal can still benefit greatly from doing a much more lenient version of this every so often, and that’s what I’m all about.
So no need to make it super complicated or crazy, just start by giving the tips below a try if you feel like you need a little metabolism boost.
- Do your best to have a balanced diet that includes protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, and veggies. This is very basic but the point is not to completely avoid any of these groups.
- Have a lower carb (not carb free) intake (1-2 servings/fist fulls a day) for 1-2 weeks and pick one or two days the following week to increase your carb intake to a higher level by adding an extra 1-3 servings a day.
- You can do the same process as above every 3-4 days instead of 1-2 weeks, depending on your preference.
- I do not recommend cutting out carbs completely at all, but I definitely do not recommend doing so for an extended period of time.
- Make your main carb choices from healthy fiber and nutrient rich based options such as quinoa, rice, fruit, starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and squash, etc.
- Make sure to get your carbs in after workouts, high activity days, at lunch and the night before a workout day.
#5. Drink That Java and Green Tea
This one you might actually be happy to hear!
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who drank up to 100 mg of caffeine during a 12 day period increased their resting energy expenditure by 8-11%, or ~150 calories!
Researchers believe this is due to central nervous system stimulation resulting in an increase in heart rate and breathing.
However, not everyone metabolizes coffee well, so green tea is another excellent option for any caffeine sensitive individuals.
The research journal Obesity reported that women taking green tea reduced body weight, waist, respiratory quotient and body fat, whereas resting energy expenditure was increased!
The secret: the brew contains a plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning.
So drink up lady!
- Opt for organic coffee if possible (non organic beans are heavily sprayed with pesticides).
- Brew your own coffee so you can limit/control the amount of added sugars from creamers and such.
- Get your coffee intake in before 12 pm to avoid any sleep disturbances.
- Add almond milk or a bit of almond milk creamer to a cup of green tea for a yummy green tea latte.
- Make sure to drink your coffee before exercising, and if necessary opt for green tea after exercise.
Okay there you have it. Those are 5 of my secrets to becoming a master of your metabolism!
Of course there is so much more that you can do including increasing your gut health and using higher intensity interval training (HIIT), but these five tips provide a good range of smaller changes you can start making right away.
So give it a try and leave a comment below to let me know what you think!