It only takes minor changes to your diet or lifestyle to kick-start your metabolism and increase your basal metabolic rate. Both are great for weight loss.
Muscles are lean body mass. One kilo of muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate by up to 100 calories per day. Physical activity requires your muscles to burn even more calories. A high-intensity strength training session may cause basal metabolic rate to speed up for up to four days (afterburn effect). As a result, the body will continue to burn additional calories even after completing a workout (Williamson & Kirwan 1997; Dolezal et al. 2000). By building muscle mass on the one hand and activating the afterburn effect on the other, consistent strength training increases the body’s energy requirements continually.
Aerobic endurance training has a significantly lower effect on basal metabolic rates than strength training. Working out for an hour at 65% of your maximum heart rate burns around 300–400 calories. That means you have to do 3 hours of endurance training per week just to offset a single heavy meal. The endurance training afterburn effect is less significant than with strength training as well. A study of the effect showed that metabolism rate spikes following high-intensity tempo runs lasted 9 hours at the most (LaForgia et al. 2006). How strong the afterburn effect depends mainly on the intensity and partly on the duration of a workout.
More Physical Activity in Your Daily Routine
Being more active in your daily life is a great way to get your circulation going and keep your metabolism humming. Regular physical activity is actually a great way to speed up your metabolism long term. Working out solely on the weekends will only have a negligible effect on your metabolism during the rest of the week, no matter how intense the session.
Go To the Sauna
The sauna increases your metabolism and promotes recovery. It can even increase your maximal oxygen consumption, VO2max (Scoon et al., 2007). Going to the sauna exposes you to extreme conditions. Although your skin can reach temperatures of around 40ºC, your core body temperature “only” increases by about 1–2ºC. Of course, the temporary increase in body heat is part of the objective. This temperature jump accelerates your metabolism, having an effect similar to an artificially induced fever. The body expends a lot of energy, in general, to maintain its temperature.
When you take a contrast shower, each sudden change in temperature requires the body to spend energy trying to “get used to” the new conditions. That boosts your metabolism and can help with low blood pressure. The cycle of stretching and contracting the muscles accelerates recovery by “squeezing” out all of the toxins (Cochrane, 2004). In general, it’s best to turn up the temperature as high as you can without scalding yourself. Try to get the water as cold as possible as well. You should start hot and finish off cold. Experts say one minute each is a good cycle when you use contrast showers
Hot Drinks in the Morning and Cold Drinks the Rest of the Day
Drinking a glass of hot water or a cup of unsweetened tea immediately after you wake up will jump-start your metabolism. During the day, consuming cold meals and drinks can increase your metabolism. Try sipping ice water slowly or sucking ice cubes, for example.
There is a whole slew of academic studies showing that sleep-deprived people tend to be overweight. Well-rested individuals stay leaner than people who aren’t despite having the same caloric intake. Scientists suspect that a lack of sleep slows down the metabolism and that sleep-deprived people simply have less energy to move around in general.
Eat Regular Meals
Frequent small meals sustain your metabolism working at a higher rate than a few large meals do. However, skipping too many meals will cause your metabolism to slow down as the body adjusts to food scarcity. Part of this adjustment is an increased readiness to store energy in the form of fat.
Drink Plenty of Water
Being well hydrated is essential for high performance as well as for a high metabolic rate (Thornton et al., 2009; Judelson et al., 2007). It’s recommended that you drink about 2 liters of water per day. Considering how high today’s diets are in meat, sausage, sweets, heavily seasoned prepackaged meals, and pasta and baked goods made with refined flour, it would be advisable to drink even more if you really want to get your metabolism going. There really is no limit on how much water you can safely drink.
Spice Up Your Life
Food containing chili peppers also promotes fat burn via a compound called “capsaicin”. The capsaicin’s thermogenic properties convert energy into heat – by burning calories – thereby raising body temperature. That means “hot” food making you sweat is a sign of your metabolism having been given a little boost. The overall effect is only slight, however, and may cause some discomfort.