Who wants to burn more calories sitting still? Um, just about everybody, right? There are some lifestyle tweaks you can do to boost your metabolism so you’re getting more benefits out of eating healthy foods and squeezing in a workout here and there.
- High intensity interval training: Are you groaning? I started out with the most difficult one first, and it will make you sweat. A lot. Do this in place of your usual steady-pace cardio routine. Warm up, then for 20 minutes (or 30, if you’re ambitious), alternate a minute of high intensity cardio (like running as fast as you can) with a slower jog or walk for two minutes. You can adjust the times, but I usually try to take the amount of time I survived running at a fast pace and double it for the “rest” period afterward, then alternate for the length of my workout. Don’t forget to cool down for five to ten minutes when you’re done. This is one thing I’ve found that will burn off the belly fat like nothing else.
- Apple cider vinegar: Okay, so this one might be the hardest if you really can’t stand the taste of it. Dilute it with juice and/or water, throw some in your food–do what it takes to get one or two tablespoons down every day. Play around with the amount of water or juice you need and eventually you’ll stop doing that cringing, shaking, jumping around the kitchen dance after you chug it.
- Cayenne pepper: No, this doesn’t mean you can go out and eat all the Mexican food you want and lose weight just because it’s spicy. (I wish!) You can, however, add cayenne pepper to some of your favorite meals to get that extra boost. It works because when you eat spicy foods, your body temperature rises. Then your body has to burn more calories to cool itself off again. Some like it hot, but some don’t. If you just can’t tolerate cayenne pepper in your food for some reason, try a cayenne powder capsule.
- Lift heavier weights: If you’re already a fan of strength training, try adding some more weight. The more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn. If you’re currently a huge fan of cardio, but you haven’t ventured into strength training yet, you’re missing out! For workouts you can do at home, pick up a copy of Shape, Self, or Women’s Health. They tend to have dumbbell and body weight workouts that can be done practically anywhere. YouTube is also packed with quick workout videos. Browse and find the combination of instructor personality and level of difficulty you can handle. If you have absolutely no workout equipment at home, dumbbells are some of the least expensive things you can purchase. You can also use water bottles if you’re a beginner. You don’t have to commit an hour of strength training to your day. Ease in with a few moves. Keep dumbbells somewhere handy and just pick them up while you’re watching television, waiting for your kids to put on their shoes, etc.
Always check with your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet or starting a new exercise program. These are things that have a lot of research behind them when it comes to boosting metabolism, and I’ve had good luck with them, but they may not be for everyone.
Photo credit: Bragg