Crank Up Your Metabolism

How fast your body burns calories is dependent on many things, among them; genetics, your sex, and your age. Resistance training is the best thing you can do to reverse the inevitable age-related slowdown. If you have signed up for a Tiger Athletic Strength & Conditioning Program, then you’re already heading in the right direction!

Whey protein increases calorie burn and fat utilization, helps the body maintain muscle, and triggers the brain to feel full, protein has a thermogenic effect, meaning it makes your body produce more heat and, in turn, burn more calories, but whey may be the most effective non-animal protein. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that fat oxidation and the thermic effect was greater with whey than with soy or casein.

Drinking two glasses of water before every meal helped dieters lose an average of 7 kilograms (2.2kilograms more than the non-water drinkers) over three months in a study presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference. Taking quick hydration breaks throughout the day also boosts your metabolic machinery and research shows staying properly hydrated keeps you feeling energized.

When your annoyed co-worker tells you you’re bouncing your leg, perhaps you can explain that you’re just doing some non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)—the expert term for fidgeting. Research shows that NEAT may help you burn an additional 350 calories a day. Small bursts of activity, like running upstairs, pacing while you’re on the phone, or shifting around in your seat all count. It adds up quickly, so take advantage of any chance to move more throughout your day.

Caffeine’s ability to speed up the central nervous system makes it a powerful metabolism booster; coffee beans provide antioxidants and real health value. Provided your cup is not laden with cream and syrup, coffee can be a great way to give you energy as well as some antioxidants. Coffee has been shown to improve energy levels during exercise, especially endurance activity, and help people work harder longer, which therefore burns more calories. Drinking coffee after a workout can also be beneficial. Consuming caffeine after exercise increased muscle glycogen by 66% in endurance athletes, enabling them to more quickly replenish energy stores used through exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

If you drink three cups of coffee a day, consider swapping in green tea for one of them. In addition to giving you the metabolism-boosting caffeine jolt you crave, green tea is a rich source of antioxidants called catechins. And, in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking green tea combined with a total of three hours of moderate exercise a week reduced abdominal fat in subjects over a three-month period. Unsweetened, brewed green tea was shown to increase calorie burn by about 100 calories per day brew your own and avoid added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Probiotics, the healthy bacteria found in yogurt, pickles, and other fermented foods like sauerkraut, may help you lose weight, if you’re a woman, shows a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Overweight men and women followed a 12-week weight loss diet; half of the volunteers also took a probiotic pill every day. Women in the probiotic group lost more weight than those in the placebo group and continued to lose weight during the 12-week maintenance period afterward (the probiotic didn’t make any difference for men). Consuming probiotics in food form has other waist-friendly benefits: Yogurt, like other full-fat dairy, also has a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that studies show can improve fat burning. Avoid fruit-on-the-bottom varieties, which can have as much sugar as a candy bar.

Taking a quick break to look at funny cat videos on YouTube or take a Buzzfeed quiz doesn’t just feel good, you’re also burning calories in the process. A study from the International Journal of Obesity showed a 10 to 20% increase in energy expenditure (calories burned) and heart rate during genuine laughter. This translated to an increase of 10 to 40 calories burned within 10 to 15 minutes of laughter.

When you want to add flavour to your food, reach for hot sauce or chilli powder. Chilli peppers contain the chemical capsaicin. The capsaicin in the chili peppers has a thermogenic effect, causing the body to burn up to an additional 90 calories immediately following a meal. One study shows capsaicin activates brown fat, which increases calorie burning.

Eating a small mid-afternoon meal will prevent over eating at dinner time and it will also keep your metabolism stoked. Eating small meals raises your metabolism every time you eat. The key is to include a lean protein and complex carb each time, not processed or junk food. A few no-effort options: cottage cheese and fruit, peanut butter and an apple, or Greek yogurt with berries.

Having a salad for lunch or dinner fills you up with belly-flattening fibre and nutrients, and adding one more ingredient will really stoke your metabolism: salmon. You already learned the metabolism-boosting effects of protein, but with salmon you’ll also get a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, supplementing diets with fish oil for six weeks increased lean muscle and decreased fat. Other studies have shown similar effects. Scientists speculate this reaction may be due to fish oil’s ability to reduce levels of fat-storage enzymes in the body.

Do you really need to stay seated while you listen in on a conference call or wait on hold with the internet company? This super-easy tweak nearly doubles the number of calories your body will burn. A 68 kilogram person, for example, burns 72 calories an hour sitting and 129 calories an hour standing. Walking around an office slowly increases the burn to 143 calories an hour. You recruit more muscle fibres and must use your postural muscles to stabilize yourself, which burns more calories. Make it a habit to stand and walk around each time the phone rings and get up out of your chair at least once every hour.

Pick organic produce. Pesticides found on conventionally grown produce, called “obesogens,” are blamed for slowing metabolism and predisposing some people to gain weight. One of the biggest hidden causes of weight loss resistance is toxicity. Buy organic whenever possible and choose the cleanest, highest-quality cuts of meat.

Take one bite at a time. Wolfing down your food makes it more likely you’ll eat more, says a study published by the American Dietetic Association. Another study found even among women who didn’t diet, reducing stress and practicing mindfulness can prevent fat gain. It takes about 20 minutes before a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) tells your brain to stop eating. When you engulf a burger and fries, you don’t give CCK enough time to relay the message to your brain, and you eat too much, speed eating also raises fat-storing insulin levels. Just as important as eating the right diet is slowing down and becoming mindful when you eat.

Exposure to the type of blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and tablets immediately before and after dinner increased hunger and impacted glucose metabolism in people who participated in a small North-western University study. The study authors aren’t sure of the reasons for the link, and say more research is needed—but even if the link between blue light and appetite doesn’t hold up in later studies, other research shows that limiting mealtime distractions helps control portions.

Tiger Athletic is a private, appointment only strength & conditioning gym in the heart of Sandton. We offer tailor made, goal oriented  fitness programs based on an individualised approach to health and fitness assessment, motivation and goal setting, coaching science and client education.

Your personal trainer Aubrey, is a Coaching Science graduate and holds a 6th degree black belt in Karate with 25 years experience as a high performance athlete and coach. He designs safe and effective exercise programs and provides the guidance to help clients achieve their personal goals through one on one’ or small group training.

Let’s chat about your health.

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