These Habits Are Slowing Down Your Metabolism. Here’s How to Increase It
By: Mary Squillace
- In addition to its other perks, your morning cup of coffee or green tea delivers the metabolism-boosting benefits of caffeine.
- Resistance training can help boost your metabolic rate, in part because muscle mass helps improve fat oxidation and energy expenditure (aka fat- and calorie-burning).
- Your gut bacteria are your friends when it comes to increasing your metabolism — so feed them with fiber- and polyphenol-rich foods.
- Not getting enough or high-quality sleep can interfere with your metabolism and slow it down.
- Restricting your calorie intake can lower your body’s resting metabolic rate — a negative effect on your metabolism which can last beyond your calorie-cutting days.
In terms of universally coveted things, a lightning-fast metabolism has to be right up there with the fountain of youth. After all, a fully functioning metabolism makes losing weight and staying in shape a lot easier. However, even if you’re conscious about your health, it’s possible you’re unintentionally slowing your metabolism down — or overlooking metabolism-boosting opportunities. Here, five metabolism mistakes you might be making, plus five ways to increase your metabolism.
You’re skipping your morning coffee
Need another reason to start your day with Bulletproof in your cup? Caffeine can help fire up your metabolism. According to a 2016 review of research published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, as little as one cup of coffee consumed in the morning can have a positive effect on resting metabolic rate. Other literature reviewed in the study found that consuming caffeine before exercising can also boost the fat- and calorie-burning effects of your workout. Of course, while the benefits of coffee are far-reaching, green tea can also do the trick. Research indicates it’s a metabolism booster in its own right, thanks in part to the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Do this: To increase your metabolism, drink Bulletproof Coffee each morning. Switch to green tea in the afternoon.
Your go-to workout is running, biking, or some other form of cardio
Even if you’re sweating on the reg, if your primary form of exercise is cardio, you’re missing out on the opportunity to rev up your metabolism. Instead, reach for those dumbbells (or resistance bands, or body-weight exercises). Strength training could be your ticket to a speedier metabolism. You see, that hella-cut six pack and pair of rippling biceps aren’t just easy on the eye; having more muscle helps you burn more fat. In fact, one study found that resistance training helped boost subjects’ resting metabolic rate by 7 percent. What’s more, you don’t have to do hours of reps to reap the metabolic benefits of resistance training. Researchers found that as little as 11 minutes of resistance training three days a week was linked to a faster metabolic rate and increased fat- and calorie-burn.
Do this: Pump iron (or do body weight exercises) 3 times a week to increase your metabolism. Download this printable workout for building muscle now.
You’re not getting a good night’s sleep.
Here’s some motivation for hitting the hay at a reasonable hour (even when the endless scroll on your phone beckons): Adequate sleep can help prevent weight gain. A 2012 study found a correlation between a longer total sleep time — and particularly the time spent in the deeper stages of sleep — and a higher resting metabolic rate. In other words, sleep quality is as important as quantity. Conversely, not getting enough sleep or having disruptive sleep has been linked to a more sluggish metabolic rate, as well as potentially increasing your risk for diabetes and obesity.Here’s how to find the best sleeping position for your brain and body.
Do this: Get more high-quality zz’s by turning off electronics two hours before bedtime and sleeping in a pitch-black room. (Get more hacks for improving your sleep here.)
You aren’t hacking your gut bacteria
To whittle your figurative gut, you need to show some love to your literal gut — and specifically to slimming gut bacteria. Among the organisms hanging out in your gut, there are two big players when it comes to metabolism: beneficial Bacteroidetes and metabolism-thwarting Firmicutes. Research has shown that obese people and animals tend to have a greater proportion of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, while lean people have more Bacteroidetes.
Fortunately, your gut microbiome makeup isn’t predestined. You can cultivate the friendly bacteria residing in your gut by feeding it with prebiotics, (foods your gut loves) like the antioxidant polyphenol. One indication that a food’s high in polyphenols is that it’s a vibrant color (think: raspberries or blueberries). Coffee’s another great source of polyphenols. Eating more high-fiber foods and resistant starch may also help shift the Bacteroidetes-to-Firmicutes ratio in your favor to increase metabolism.
Do this: Eat plenty of high-fiber vegetables and some brightly colored berries.
You’re cutting calories
Yes, this goes against all of the weight-loss diets that have been peddled for years, but restricting calories can have a negative effect on your resting metabolic rate that can last beyond your dieting days. Restricting your calorie intake can also impact your body’s metabolism-friendly leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that tells your brain when you should stop eating. A fully functioning leptin system helps regulate your energy homeostasis (aka keeping the calories we consume and expend balanced), while leptin deficiencies have been linked to obesity. In addition to steering clear of calorie-restricting eating plans, you can hack the leptin in your body by avoiding fructose and high-lectin foods (that’s not a typo — lectin with a “c” is a protein that can mess with your gut), which can contribute to leptin resistance. (Here are some other ways to make leptin work for your metabolism).
Do this: Instead of counting calories, focus on quality, whole foods and eat until you’re comfortable, not full.
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