How Eating More Meals Can Boost Your Metabolism
Anyone who's ever thought about their body composition, health, diet, and exercise regimen has spent considerable time trying to figure out their metabolism. For those who may not know, metabolism is the rate by which the body transports and utilizes energy and calories to help to support day to day activity. Someone under normal conditions, with a fast metabolism, can keep their body fat levels low with little to no exertion. On the other hand, a person with a slow metabolism will store more fuel to burn and for a longer period of time. Often times, this fuel is naturally converted to fat and stored in fat reserves.
There are many factors that influence the metabolism of an individual, including genetic predispositions, environmental factors, the density of muscle tissue, the number of meals the person eats per day, the size of meals the person eats, the nutritional value of those meals, stress, age, and the amount of daily physical exertion the person does.
A number of components can slow a person's metabolism. Typically, it is in response to the body's perception of insufficient caloric intake. This is the primary reason that dieting causes weight loss. When caloric intake is low, the body burns its stores of fat. However, the body also has the propensity to metabolize small amounts of muscle tissue. After long periods of low caloric intake, and once fat stores are depleted, the body will burn muscle tissue for fuel.
Reducing caloric intake for weight loss can be necessary for a person to return their body to a healthy state. However, to keep the body working efficiently, to maintain high energy, and preserve muscle density and strength, increasing one's metabolism is essential.
How to Boost Your Metabolism
- Breakfast should be the first meal of the day.
- Limit your sugar and carb intake.
- Eat spicy foods.
- Eat one large meal, then smaller meals.
- Dieting doesn't mean skipping meals.
- Try to stick to your schedule.
- Drink more water.
- Drink tea.
- Eat more energetic foods.
- Workout to build lean muscle.
- Rest more.
- Don't stress!
1. Breakfast should be the first meal of the day.
Some experts say that breakfast should be the largest meal of the day. Don't overlook the importance of your morning meal. Shockingly, people who eat breakfast are more likely to store less fat than people who don't eat breakfast. If you aren't immediately hungry first thing in the morning, try sneaking breakfast in during the mid-morning hours.
2. Limit your sugar and carb intake.
Sugar and carbs facilitate the storage of fat. It is recommended that an individual eats foods that support a balanced blood-sugar level.
3. Spice is nice.
Eating spicy foods can increase metabolism. If your body can handle it, try cooking with peppers on various occasions throughout the week.
4. Eat one large meal, then smaller meals.
If breakfast is your largest meal, the other meals should be much smaller. Many experts suggest consuming a total of four to six small meals per day. This means you should eat a snack every two to three hours. The caloric intake of a small meal can range from 100 to about 300 calories.
5. Dieting doesn't mean skipping meals.
People on a diet often use this method to lose weight. Skipping meals will generally lead to consuming larger meals later in the day and will have a negative effect on your metabolism.
6. Try to stick to your schedule
Try to stick to your schedule and plan your meals accordingly. Meal prepping can be time-consuming, nevertheless, it can be a lifesaver when it comes to any unforeseen adjustments to your daily activities. Take a few hours on the weekend to build your meals for the week and make sure your shopping corresponds to the plan. If prepping isn't your thing, find a resource for healthy pre-packaged meals and snacks. Whatever you do, be as consistent as possible.
7. More water is better.
More water is better. Approximately 60% of an adult's body is water. Water is the bodies natural cleanser, lubricator, conductor, and regulator. It can also act as an appetite suppressor. If the flavor is a concern, add lemon or find naturally flavored, sugar-free additives to give you an improved taste.
8. Drink tea.
Tea can improve metabolic performance. Green Tea, White Tea, Lemon Tea, Oolong Tea, and Yerba Mate are a few of the better choices for boosting your metabolism. Although tea has caffeine, it is still better than coffee, because it doesn't cause some of the unwanted side effects.
9. Eat more energy rich foods.
Eat more energy rich foods. For example, grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits are great for maintaining a healthy amount of energy throughout the day.
10. Workout to build lean muscle.
Muscle density helps burn calories and eliminates fat. Lifting weights isn't the only way to build lean muscle mass. A functional fitness regimen can keep the muscle you use most throughout your daily activities lean and strong. Try doing 10-15 minutes of functional exercise daily (or, at least, two times every week). You do not need weights, because using your body weight will suffice.
Functional fitness consists of exercises that match the normal movements of your normal life (i.e. standing, sitting, walking, lifting above your head, reaching, etc.). Nevertheless, performing the exercises under resistance will maximize your efforts. You can do simple activities at your desk or while doing your normal routines. For example, walk instead of using escalators or elevators, do 10-15 squats every hour, stretch every two to three hours, do overhead hand claps or shoulder presses, and do seated crunches to heat up the body enough to boost calorie burn. The key is to coordinate your calorie intake with your daily activity. Below are some rules for getting the correct exercise.
To Build Muscle and Strength
- To build muscle and strength, add resistance. You don't have to use heavy weights but an additional 5-20 lbs of additional resistance goes a long way.
- Keep the reps high. Do at least 10 or more repetitions of each exercise.
- Functional routines are also as important as advanced exercise techniques.
For Cardio Conditioning
- Change your pace. This means increasing and decreasing speeds during movements as well as alternating and combining exercises within the routine. For example, squat thrust/hand raises or biceps curls/resisted jab punch.
- Walk, walk, walk. That means everywhere and every time you can. To be even more effective, schedule a 15-minute mid-day walk.
- Resistance and speed are imperative. You don't have to break a sweat, but if you don't feel your body heating up, add more resistance or speed.
11. Rest more.
Research suggests that getting an adequate amount of sleep every night lowers the risk of gaining weight. It is also the prime time for your muscles to recuperate and regenerate, which leads to growth and strength preservation. Getting at least six hours per night is effective, but eight hours per night is optimal.
12. Don't stress!
Stress can trigger the release of hormones and chemicals in the body that suppress your metabolism. Stress can also trigger bad eating habits. Eating better, exercising more, and getting more sleep are all ways to reduce stress levels. If your stress becomes so difficult to overcome that it is affecting your overall health, talk to your doctor about additional resources that can help.
Accomplishing the ideal body weight is possible, but it takes focus and hard work. None of us can predict our metabolic rate with 100% accuracy. We can, however, control some of the factors that aid in our metabolism operating optimally. Whatever your fitness goals are, understanding your metabolism and caloric intake make it easier for you to reach those goals.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories" Mayo Clinic. 2015.
- Helen West, RD. "10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism (Backed by Science)" Health Line. July 27, 2018.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.