Metabolism 101: Never skip breakfast— we all know a little food in the a.m. kick-starts the day’s calorie burn. And don’t crash diet, either, because that leads your body to hang on to every last calorie. But what else from there? We did research and found out what real people with high metabolisms are doing right. Let’s adopt their ways to shrink your waist and get in peak shape.
Eat the correct number of calories. Science time! Metabolism is the chemical process in the body that converts the food you eat into fuel. The result: You get the energy that keeps you going each day. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories per day your body naturally burns at rest. Knowing your two numbers is key because it means you’ll be aware of exactly how many calories to consume to maintain your weight (or lose or gain, if need be).
Calculate your calorie burn. Of course, you don’t just sit around all day—even a couch potato has to lift the remote once in a while. So in order to get a more accurate figure, factor in how active you are by using this calculator. Your result is the number of calories per day you need to maintain your current weight. Want to lose? Shave 500 extra calories a day by eating less, working out more or, ideally, doing a combo. You’ll drop 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Make workouts a regular thing. Doing cardio exercise three to five times a week is associated with a higher metabolic rate at rest. That means that even when out of the gym, your body is burning above and beyond what it would have had you never hauled butt over there. And there’s new research to show how you can boost your rate while you’re exercising such as Tabata. It's a workout in which, for four minutes, you alternate 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest.
Don’t blow off lifting. A pound of muscle tissue burns more calories than a pound of fat. Up to nine times the amount, in fact.
Never yo-yo diet. Yet another reason not to let your weight seesaw: You’ll hamstring your metabolism. When you lose weight, you lose muscle and fat, but when you gain it back, it’s mostly fat, which burns fewer calories.
Have a bedtime snack (gasp!). Forget what you think you know about not eating after 8 p.m. For best results, your p.m. snack should be protein (we like low-fat milk or cottage cheese). The one caveat is that this applies only if you’re exercising regularly. But you are... aren’t you?