Your metabolism is the speed at which you burn calories per day. If you have a fast metabolism, you’ll burn more calories per day and, if your diet is good, burn fat and lose weight faster. In contrast, if your metabolism is as slow as cold molasses, weight loss can be frustratingly slow.
While your personal metabolic rate is mostly a matter of genetics, there are several things you can do to optimize it for faster fat loss. These interventions work best when employed first thing in the morning. But, if time is against you, some of them can also be used later in the day.
Follow this morning ritual to boost your metabolism for faster fat loss.
1. Get up early
If you are going to put these strategies into action and boost your metabolism, you need to get up early. While it might be tempting just to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock and go back to sleep, that’s not going to help. Instead, don’t just set your alarm earlier than usual, place it on the other side of your bedroom so that, when it sounds, you have no choice but to get up and shut it off. Now you are up, you might as well get on with step two!
Exercise has a big impact on your metabolism, both while you are working out and for several hours afterward. It’s a bit like a car engine; your body takes time to cool down after it’s been used. Keep your engine hotter for longer by doing a short but sharp interval training workout. 15-30 minutes is all you need. Good options include:
- Bike sprints – 30 seconds fast, 60 seconds slow, repeated 10 times.
- Jump rope intervals – jump rope for three minutes, rest a minute and repeat five times to total 20 minutes.
- Alternate between a minute of walking, jogging, running, and sprinting for 30 minutes.
Make things easy on yourself by choosing workouts you can do at or from home. That will save you from having to commute to a gym.
3. Drink coffee
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that speeds up your metabolism. As an added benefit, caffeine also makes your fat cells more mobile and easier to burn. Coffee and tea both contain caffeine and hardly any calories. Don’t add milk or sugar to your caffeinated beverage, that just increases the calorie content and may even negate the benefits. Instead, have your tea or coffee black and without sugar. Don’t like the taste? Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it!
4. Eat protein
Most traditional breakfast foods are carbohydrates. Breakfast cereals, toast, bagels, donuts, toaster pastries, muffins – they are all carbs. There is nothing inherently wrong with these foods (apart from all the sugar that is!) but protein is your best breakfast choice. Protein has a high thermic effect, which means eating, digesting, and utilizing protein uses more energy than carbs and fats. Eating protein gives your morning metabolism a healthy boost that lasts for several hours.
Good high-protein breakfast foods include:
- Greek yogurt
- Protein shakes and smoothies
- Smoked salmon or mackerel
- Bacon or turkey bacon
- Quinoa-based breakfast cereal
Eating protein for breakfast can take some getting used to, but it’s not just good for your metabolism, it’ll help keep you feeling fuller for longer too. Protein digests and releases its energy slowly. With a full belly and more stable energy levels, you should have no problem powering through until lunchtime.
Make your protein-rich breakfast even better for your metabolism by adding hot spices such as chili, cumin, curry, or paprika. Hot spices rev up your metabolism, which is why you may feel warmer after eating spicy food.
5. Have a cold shower
Your body operates best at a steady 36.5–37.5 °C (97.7–99.5 °F). If you cool your body down, it will have to expend energy to get it back into its normal temperature range. Make the most of this by hopping in the shower and turning the setting to low. This won’t be comfortable, but it will wake you up and boost your metabolism. Focus the spray on your chest, back, and thighs – large areas that have a high blood flow. This will cool you down faster.
6. Drink iced water
Your body absorbs water best when it’s at the right temperature, typically the same as your internal temperature. Drinking ice water means your body will have to increase blood flow to your stomach to warm the water up. This process increases your metabolism, albeit only slightly. Sip ice water as you get ready for your day. This will increase your calorific expenditure and also make sure you start your day well hydrated.
Yes, putting these strategies into action does mean getting up a little earlier and being more organized in the morning, but you’ll be rewarded with faster fat loss. Remember though, none of these actions is a replacement for an otherwise healthy diet and regular workout routine. Consider them as the metabolism boosting icing on your weight loss cake!