You have surely noticed that some people seem to eat anything and never gain weight while others are always dieting and never seem to lose a pound. What’s the difference?
It usually boils down to a difference in their metabolic rate, i.e. how fast and efficiently their body burns calories. It is a proven fact that if you increase your metabolism, you will lose weight faster. Moreover, with a faster metabolism, you will find it much easier to keep the weight off once you lose it. Unfortunately, most over the counter pills that promise to speed up your metabolism contain ingredients such as caffeine that can be dangerous to your health, especially in higher than normal doses. For most people, one or two cups of coffee a day doesn’t hurt their heart. But if they ingest more caffeine, this can often cause heart palpitations, irregular heart beat, and impaired mental ability.
Having said the above, there ARE some natural ways you can increase your metabolism safely and thus lose weight faster. Here are 5 of the best:
1. Exercise To Build Muscle Mass
Building muscle mass is the most reliable way to increase your metabolism and do so permanently. This works well for both men and women. Men, you do not need to become a bodybuilder to make this work. Ladies, you do not need to build masculine-looking muscles to make this work. You just need to increase your muscle mass some.
There are many simple muscle building exercises you can do at home without having to hit the gym. Bicep curls are one of the easiest. With a can of food in each hand (or small dumbbells if you have them), lift and lower your forearm and hand. Keep your elbow tucked and don’t move your upper arm. Breathe out as you lower your hand and breathe in as you raise your hand.
Squats are an excellent choice to build lower body muscle. Doing them faster will build muscle mass faster. Also, running in place vigorously for one minute followed by two minutes of walking or marching in place is also an excellent muscle builder. If you are not in shape, start out with just three to six minutes of this alternating exercise and work your way up to thirty minutes.
2. Eat the Right Foods To Build Muscle Mass
When you want to build muscle mass, you want to eat foods that are nutrient-dense and high in protein and micronutrients. Salmon, pasture raised roasted chicken, crab, shrimp, avocados, nuts, seeds, pasture raised eggs, protein shakes, and green leafy vegetables like kale and mustard greens are all excellent choices.
You also want to avoid as much as possible foods that serve up “empty calories,” i.e. foods high in calories but low in nutrients. These include any foods high in any form of sugar or white flour. Avoid foods like white bread, pasta, pancakes, and condiments/sauces loaded with sugar
3. Eat More Often
This may sound counter-intuitive at first. However, building muscle takes a constant supply of calories. Instead of three meals a day, increase this to five or six meals a day. While you don’t want to “pig out” at each meal, you do want to eat healthy portions of nutrient dense foods like those described above.
Right after a workout, a good choice is always a protein shake or a green smoothie as these take less time to digest and your muscles will need the calories fast after a workout. Other times, whole foods are a better option. Keep in mind that in some cases, a person may gain a bit of weight initially as they begin to put on more muscle but this is muscle weight, not fat weight, and there’s a big different. First, muscle weight takes up far less volume than does fat weight. In other words, you shouldn’t see much gain in inches even if you do gain a little weight overall initially by gaining muscle weight. Second, and most importantly, once your muscle mass starts to build up, it makes the fat melt off much faster and you’ll see your volume very quickly get smaller.
4. Reducing and Avoiding Stress
When you are stressed, the hormone cortisol skyrockets. This sends a message to your body to burn muscle and store fat! You want just the opposite of course. Therefore, you need to work on reducing and avoiding stress. One of the best ways to do this is make sure you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Not only does sleep reduce cortisol, growth hormone is produced at its peak during deep sleep. Beyond sleeping more, you will need to do a self-evaluation of your life to determine sources of stress. You’ll also need to figure out activities that make you happiest and do those things more. You may need to resolve conflicts with family that have been nagging at you. You may need to work less. You may need to take more time to visit beautiful places, do more gardening, listen to music more, play more video games, or whatever other activities decrease your stress levels.
5. Drink Plenty Of Water
For optimal muscle building and weight loss, you need to stay fully hydrated at all times. Take a water bottle with you at all times and don’t forget to drink! Many people put lots of effort into building muscle and losing weight but then forget the very simple, yet extremely important, step of drinking plenty of water!