You’ve probably heard at some point that you need to boost your metabolism, but what exactly is your metabolism? In a nutshell, metabolism refers to all the chemical processes your body employs to convert food, water, and fat stores into energy so that your body can run properly and maintain health.
Imagine what a metabolism fed a steady diet of over-processed carbs, fatty foods, and minimal water would do? Kind of like putting sludge in your car’s gas tank, right? You wouldn’t do that because you’d be off to the mechanic in a hurry! For your car engine to run smoothly, you have to put quality fuel in it at all times.
To keep your metabolism in tip-top shape means providing your body with the best nutrients and making sure it burns its own fat stores for energy as well. And, you have to stay hydrated. Not only will your body’s systems run smoother, but you’ll be healthier, have more energy, and – for those who have been naughty to their bodies for too long – you will shed weight, too.
If you are feeling sluggish and you’ve noticed the pounds packing on, especially after the holiday season, here are some nutritional tips from the experts on how to optimize your metabolism.
1. Start Your Day with Lemon Water. Erin Clifford, a Chicago-based Holistic Wellness Coach, said, by doing this you will “ignite” your metabolism immediately. “Lemons help to increase your metabolic rate, which allows you to burn more calories and store less fat,” she said. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and Himalayan salt to power up the fat-burning processes even more.
2. Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast within the First Hour of Waking. This basically jump-starts your metabolism by sparking thermogenesis (the metabolic process of digesting and transporting food). “By including a protein-rich source, such as eggs, protein powder, plain Greek yogurt, or raw nut butter, your energy levels will stay up and you will be satisfied until it is time for your next meal or snack,” Clifford said.
3. Drink Cold Water Through-out the Day. According to Rene Ficek, a registered dietician based in Seattle, “Drinking enough cold water throughout the day can actually raise a metabolism by around 50 calories per day,” she said. Researchers believe the increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. Another reason to drink more H2O? A University of Utah study found that those who drank eight to 12 glasses a day burned more calories than those who only had four.
4. Don’t Go Below 1,200 Calories. Cutting calories too much can actually have the opposite effect of weight loss. “Cutting calories to below 1,200 calories per day can put the brakes on your metabolism as the body slows down its processes in order to conserve energy,” Ficek warned. “It is necessary to eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate (RBM).” To discover your resting metabolic rate, find a Max Muscle Nutrition store near you that has an InBody Scan machine. It will accurately tell you your RBM, as well as your body composition (fat vs. lean muscle mass), and much more! Also, keep in mind: if you’re restricting calories, make sure you have a cheat meal once a week to boost your metabolism and your happiness factor!