Metabolism is the foundation of fat loss. It keeps burning and burning fat 24 hours a day...the only problem is, do you have a fast metabolism? And if not, what can you do about it to boost your metabolism and burn fat to lose weight?
Your metabolism is basically how many calories you burn each day. Children have faster metabolic rates than adults, and we all know about the legendary metabolism's of teenage boys. That's the metabolism you wish you had.
And while it is inevitable that your metabolism decreases with age, it doesn't doom you to gaining weight. It might even decrease 30% over your life, but really, is that any reason to become overweight? No way.
Here are 8 possible metabolic boosters and the truth about whether each works.
1) Strength training
Claim: Boosts metabolism up to 10% after a training program
In fact, despite what many men and women think, harder exercise is better for your metabolism. However, please note that 1 pound of muscle does not burn 50 calories per day.
In one study, women received a greater metabolic boost from using 8 repetitions per set rather than traditional high-rep (12 reps) sets. So stick to harder exercises (pushups and more advanced versions) or even dumbbell exercises.
Claim: Because it stops your "fasting", it can boost metabolism
True? Maybe yes, maybe no. Your metabolism won't go into "starvation mode" without breakfast, but it is associated with successful weight loss. So make it a habit to consume some protein, fiber, & fruit at this time. This will keep your appetite in check till your next break or even lunch.
3) Green Tea
Claim: Burns an extra 80 calories per day
True? Not really. It has been shown to burn 80 calories per day in young men on the first day of supplementation, but will this affect last once your body gets used to it? I don't think.
After all, take a look at caffeine. You can find studies that show it increases metabolism as well. But really, is anyone losing fat with caffeine? The revolving doors at Starbucks say "No!".
Coffee is okay in moderate doses, and I recommend Green Tea to everyone, but for health reasons, not for fat loss. The only way you will lose fat with Green Tea is if you replace a 300+-calorie Frappucino with an iced, unsweetened Green Tea. Otherwise, don't count on it for much in terms of metabolism.
4) Fat Burners
Claim: Boost your metabolism big time!
See above. Fat burners are simply caffeine pills with a few other ingredients thrown in. You'll get an increase in mental energy, but that doesn't mean it will significantly boost metabolism or burn fat.
5) Ice Cold Water with Lemon Juice Squeezed into it
Claim: The body will burn calories warming up the water and the lemon juice also burns more fat.
Truth? Nice in theory, short in practice. Nobody is losing fat with ice cold water. If it sounds too good to be true - you know the rest of the story.
6) Eating 6 small meals per day
Claim: Boosts metabolism and can help control cholesterol.
True! Simple and effective, and true! Try and split your meals up into smaller meals that can be eaten over the course of the day. This might be part of the breakfast magic...
Claim: Burns more calories (uses more calories in digestion than carbohydrates or fat).
Now I'm not sure if this is significant, but protein also helps fill you up longer. And that's where the real benefit comes in - preventing overeating. And if you want details, another study showed that animal protein results in more energy burned than vegetable protein.
8) Interval training
Claim: Interval training causes a greater increase in post-exercise metabolism than regular cardio.
Whether its true or not, I do know this. A recent study from Australia found that a shorter interval program led to more weight loss than a twice-as-long aerobic training program. This confirms the original interval training study from as far back as 1994 that showed greater results from a shorter interval program when compared to a traditional cardio program.
Bottom line: Intervals work!
So we see that hard work and diligent eating burn more calories and that magic pills and potions don't work.
But that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. My advice? Add strength, intervals, mini-meals, and protein to your weight loss plan and you'll be leaner and warmer thanks to your faster metabolism.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com