11 Small Daily Habits That’ll Seriously Speed Up Your Metabolism
Photography by Freepik
These easy actions ensure you’ll burn fat 24/7…
1. When You First Wake Up
Eating breakfast helps jump-start your metabolism – especially if you do it within one hour of waking up. “Your metabolism went into rest mode over night, so your first meal of the day revs it up again,” says Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. To work the kick-start effect to the max, choose foods high in fibre and protein, like whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and berries.
2. During Your Commute
Parking further away from your office may sound like a small step, but it can actually boost your metabolism in a big way because it forces you to move more. “Getting your heart rate up for a short period of time keeps it elevated afterward, which boosts your metabolism overall,” says Doug Barsanti, a strength and conditioning specialist. Another good idea? Take the stairs to get to your floor.
3. When You First Get to the Office
Go ahead and grab a cup of coffee. Research shows that caffeine boosts your metabolic rate, albeit mildly, says David Katz, author of Disease Proof. Just watch all the caramel-cream-whatever concoctions – those are so sugary that they’ll negate coffee’s benefits.
4. At Work
We hereby grant you permission to schmooze with your colleagues – as long as you don’t do it over Whatsapp. “Moving more at every opportunity, even if it’s just to get up to go to the bathroom, keeps your heart rate going and therefore boosts your metabolism,” says fitness instructor Shirley Archer. Try walking across the office to talk to colleagues rather than emailing them.
5. When You’re Buying Lunch
Pick the right foods and you’ll stoke your metabolism. “Nothing beats a chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce, tomato and mustard and a piece of fruit on the side,” says Gans. “The protein-carb combo will give you energy to get through your day without dragging.”
6. At the Water Cooler
When it comes to water, colder is better. “Your body burns more kilojoules in colder temperatures because it has to work harder to keep you warm – so by drinking cold water, you end up burning more than if you guzzled room-temp H20,” says evolutionary biologist Lisa Gain. (Sadly, the same does not hold true for ice cream, which is too high-kilojoule to get the effect.)
7. During Your Workout
It’s all too easy to get into a cardio routine and stay at the same pace for your entire workout, but don’t! Intervals are your friend, says Barsanti. “Short, high-intensity exercise boosts your metabolism. So when you’re on the treadmill or elliptical, sprint for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, and repeat this pattern for 10 minutes.” Pro tip: Make a playlist with fast and slow songs to help you vary your rhythm without even thinking about it.
Good news for chocolate lovers! Drinking chocolate milk post-workout helps keep your metabolism going strong. “When you exercise, your body loses glucose,” says Gans. “You need to restore it right away to keep your metabolism on track.” Chocolate milk is ideal because it has the perfect combo of carbs and protein. Sweet!
9. At Dinner
Some studies suggest that eating spicy foods may boost your metabolism – so top your meals with chilli peppers and Tabasco. Bonus: Spices are naturally fat-free, so there’s no need to stress about kilojoule counts.
10. In the Evening
Take a minute to relax and your metabolism will thank you. Why? “When you get stressed, your body releases cortisol, and too much cortisol slows down your metabolism,” says Archer. To prevent this, do whatever relaxes you most, like yoga, talking to a soothing friend or meditating.
11. At Bedtime
Sleep is key to boosting your metabolism. “Your body needs it to fully restore and recover from the day and keep your muscle mass and hormones circulating properly,” says Archer. Aim for seven to eight hours a night to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.