6 natural ways to rev up your metabolism

Need to shed those excess kilos in a hurry? Fitness and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh shares her top tips on how to boost your metabolism safely, for lasting results.

Whether you want to lose weight or centimetres, improve your muscle tone, or simply look great in a pair of jeans or that summer cozzie, your metabolism plays a key role in how you look and feel.

Clients often ask me how the metabolism works, and whether it’s possible to boost it naturally. While genetics are largely to blame for a fast or slow metabolism, it is possible to manipulate yours into working more efficiently. Having a high metabolism can also give you more energy and help you power through your day. Firstly, let’s look at how it works in the body…

 

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is a term that describes various chemical reactions in the body and your metabolic rate refers to how fast (or slow) you burn energy and use calories.

Harvard Health experts explain it like this, “Your metabolism runs 24/7 to keep your body moving, even when you’re resting or sleeping. It does this by converting the food and nutrients you consume into the energy your body needs to breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive.”

TOP TIP:Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of cold water daily is also helpful in giving your metabolism a temporary boost. Also, choosing water over juice or fizzy drinks will help to reduce your calorie intake.


What contributes to a slow metabolism?

How fast your metabolism works is largely determined by your genetic profile, as well as your age. Studies show that even if you’re born with a fast metabolism, it can become sluggish over time.

Hormonal imbalances can also be behind a slow metabolism. For example, health issues such as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as well as an underactive or overactive thyroid are hormonal diseases that can affect your metabolism.

Also, poor lifestyle habits such as ongoing stress, sleep deprivation, restrictive yo-yo dieting (which causes your metabolism to operate in slow motion), too much salt in your diet and not drinking enough fluids – can all contribute to slowing the rate at which your body burns calories and utilises energy.

So, while your genes do play a role in your overall metabolic rate, your lifestyle choices can make a big difference too. The key is to lower your stress, get more sleep and focus on a healthy diet and exercise regime that you can sustain long term.

It’s not about quick-fix diet pills or shakes, it’s about making simpler, smarter choices to support your body and metabolism to work most efficiently.

Try my tried-and-tested tips to boost your metabolism and feel great:

 

1Eat for energy

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours and give you more energy. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat a small protein-rich meal before you exercise. Why protein? A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism shows that protein increases your metabolic rate by 15-30% compared to 5-10% for carbs.

 

2Have a post-workout meal

While you might be tempted to skip breakfast or miss that post-workout meal, starving yourself of vital calories and nutrients will drastically slow your metabolism, and could be the main culprit behind overeating later in the day.

 

After your workout, make sure to replenish lost nutrients and speed up recovery with a meal containing a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.

These post-workout snacks are ideal:

  • A handful of nuts and small tub of plain Greek yoghurt
  • A smoothie made with milk of choice, spinach, peanut butter and protein shake
  • A banana or apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Hummus with crudités
  • A serving of Super Scoop (available at Dis‑Chem) with water, juice, yoghurt or milk of your choice. Super Scoop is packed with antioxidants to aid in recovery, as well as probiotics for gut health and additional fibre to keep those cravings at bay.

TOP TIP:You don’t have to pick cardio exercise over resistance training or vice versa to achieve your fitness goals. For best results, include both in your fitness regime. An activity such as rebounding ticks all the boxes because it offers both cardio and strength benefits in one.

3Have that cuppa

If you’re not too sensitive to caffeine, consider having green tea or good-quality coffee daily. These have thermogenic effects thanks to their caffeine contents as well as other stimulants such as cholorgenic acid (found in coffee), and studies have found that around 200mg of caffeine speeds up the metabolism by 4-5% for 24 hours.

4
Train with resistance

Exercising with weights helps to build strong bones and muscles, as well as boost your heart rate and metabolic rate – even while at rest. But the good news is, you don’t have to lift heavy weights to reap the benefits of weight training.

 

Light dumbbells offer such an easy way to intensify your workout moves and burn more fat and calories overall. I use them in every single rebounding class I teach as well as when I do at-home workouts.

 

However, if you prefer a stronger physique with more definition, you’ll need to adapt your training plan to suit those goals. Weight training changes your body shape, improves lean muscle mass and prevents muscle atrophy. The bottom line is, the more lean muscle mass you have, the quicker you’ll boost your metabolic rate.

5Include a weekly HIIT training session

Countless studies have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to burn fat and calories, while boosting your metabolism. Just 1-2 hard exercise sessions a week – where you push maximum effort for a short period, followed by a recovery phase, is all you need to get that metabolism going.

 

A true HIIT workout shouldn’t last longer than 15 to 20 minutes, excluding a warm-up and cool down. You can perform a HIIT workout by:

   Running

   Using a stationary bike

   With body weight exercises such as burpees,

standing sprints

   Rebounding (I offer a wide range of online classes

which incorporate HIIT training principles)

   With weights using compound movements such as squats with an overhead press.

 

6Sleep more!

Did you know that poor sleep can greatly affect your metabolism? This is because sleep is linked to your delicate hormonal balance including your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals make you feel hungry, while leptin signals are triggered when you feel full.

 

But, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body can release more of the hunger hormone and less of the “feel full” hormone, leaving you feeling famished and craving sugary, fatty carb-rich foods all day.

 

To keep these hormones in check, it’s best to sleep between 7-9 hours every night.

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Whether you want to lose weight or centimetres, improve your muscle tone, or simply look great in a pair of jeans or that summer cozzie, your metabolism plays a key role in how you look and feel.

Clients often ask me how the metabolism works, and whether it’s possible to boost it naturally. While genetics are largely to blame for a fast or slow metabolism, it is possible to manipulate yours into working more efficiently. Having a high metabolism can also give you more energy and help you power through your day. Firstly, let’s look at how it works in the body…

 

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is a term that describes various chemical reactions in the body and your metabolic rate refers to how fast (or slow) you burn energy and use calories.

Harvard Health experts explain it like this, “Your metabolism runs 24/7 to keep your body moving, even when you’re resting or sleeping. It does this by converting the food and nutrients you consume into the energy your body needs to breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive.”

TOP TIP:Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of cold water daily is also helpful in giving your metabolism a temporary boost. Also, choosing water over juice or fizzy drinks will help to reduce your calorie intake.

What contributes to a slow metabolism?

How fast your metabolism works is largely determined by your genetic profile, as well as your age. Studies show that even if you’re born with a fast metabolism, it can become sluggish over time.

Hormonal imbalances can also be behind a slow metabolism. For example, health issues such as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as well as an underactive or overactive thyroid are hormonal diseases that can affect your metabolism.

Also, poor lifestyle habits such as ongoing stress, sleep deprivation, restrictive yo-yo dieting (which causes your metabolism to operate in slow motion), too much salt in your diet and not drinking enough fluids – can all contribute to slowing the rate at which your body burns calories and utilises energy.

So, while your genes do play a role in your overall metabolic rate, your lifestyle choices can make a big difference too. The key is to lower your stress, get more sleep and focus on a healthy diet and exercise regime that you can sustain long term.

It’s not about quick-fix diet pills or shakes, it’s about making simpler, smarter choices to support your body and metabolism to work most efficiently.

Try my tried-and-tested tips to boost your metabolism and feel great:

 

1Eat for energy

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours and give you more energy. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat a small protein-rich meal before you exercise. Why protein? A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism shows that protein increases your metabolic rate by 15-30% compared to 5-10% for carbs.

 

2Have a post-workout meal

While you might be tempted to skip breakfast or miss that post-workout meal, starving yourself of vital calories and nutrients will drastically slow your metabolism, and could be the main culprit behind overeating later in the day.

 

After your workout, make sure to replenish lost nutrients and speed up recovery with a meal containing a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.

These post-workout snacks are ideal:

  • A handful of nuts and small tub of plain Greek yoghurt
  • A smoothie made with milk of choice, spinach, peanut butter and protein shake
  • A banana or apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Hummus with crudités
  • A serving of Super Scoop (available at Dis‑Chem) with water, juice, yoghurt or milk of your choice. Super Scoop is packed with antioxidants to aid in recovery, as well as probiotics for gut health and additional fibre to keep those cravings at bay.

TOP TIP:You don’t have to pick cardio exercise over resistance training or vice versa to achieve your fitness goals. For best results, include both in your fitness regime. An activity such as rebounding ticks all the boxes because it offers both cardio and strength benefits in one.

3Have that cuppa

If you’re not too sensitive to caffeine, consider having green tea or good-quality coffee daily. These have thermogenic effects thanks to their caffeine contents as well as other stimulants such as cholorgenic acid (found in coffee), and studies have found that around 200mg of caffeine speeds up the metabolism by 4-5% for 24 hours.

4Train with resistance

Exercising with weights helps to build strong bones and muscles, as well as boost your heart rate and metabolic rate – even while at rest. But the good news is, you don’t have to lift heavy weights to reap the benefits of weight training.

 

Light dumbbells offer such an easy way to intensify your workout moves and burn more fat and calories overall. I use them in every single rebounding class I teach as well as when I do at-home workouts.

 

However, if you prefer a stronger physique with more definition, you’ll need to adapt your training plan to suit those goals. Weight training changes your body shape, improves lean muscle mass and prevents muscle atrophy. The bottom line is, the more lean muscle mass you have, the quicker you’ll boost your metabolic rate.

5Include a weekly HIIT training session

Countless studies have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to burn fat and calories, while boosting your metabolism. Just 1-2 hard exercise sessions a week – where you push maximum effort for a short period, followed by a recovery phase, is all you need to get that metabolism going.

 

A true HIIT workout shouldn’t last longer than 15 to 20 minutes, excluding a warm-up and cool down. You can perform a HIIT workout by:

  • Running
  • Using a stationary bike
  • With body weight exercises such as burpees, standing sprints
  • Rebounding (I offer a wide range of online classes which incorporate HIIT training principles)
  • With weights using compound movements such as squats with an overhead press.

 

6Sleep more!

Did you know that poor sleep can greatly affect your metabolism? This is because sleep is linked to your delicate hormonal balance including your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals make you feel hungry, while leptin signals are triggered when you feel full.

 

But, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body can release more of the hunger hormone and less of the “feel full” hormone, leaving you feeling famished and craving sugary, fatty carb-rich foods all day.

 

To keep these hormones in check, it’s best to sleep between 7-9 hours every night.

Try my tried-and-tested tips to boost your metabolism and feel great:

 

1Eat for energy

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours and give you more energy. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat a small protein-rich meal before you exercise. Why protein? A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism shows that protein increases your metabolic rate by 15-30% compared to 5-10% for carbs.

 

2Have a post-workout meal

While you might be tempted to skip breakfast or miss that post-workout meal, starving yourself of vital calories and nutrients will drastically slow your metabolism, and could be the main culprit behind overeating later in the day.

 

After your workout, make sure to replenish lost nutrients and speed up recovery with a meal containing a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.

These post-workout snacks are ideal:

  • A handful of nuts and small tub of plain Greek yoghurt
  • A smoothie made with milk of choice, spinach, peanut butter and protein shake
  • A banana or apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Hummus with crudités
  • A serving of Super Scoop (available at Dis‑Chem) with water, juice, yoghurt or milk of your choice. Super Scoop is packed with antioxidants to aid in recovery, as well as probiotics for gut health and additional fibre to keep those cravings at bay.

TOP TIP:You don’t have to pick cardio exercise over resistance training or vice versa to achieve your fitness goals. For best results, include both in your fitness regime. An activity such as rebounding ticks all the boxes because it offers both cardio and strength benefits in one.

3Have that cuppa

If you’re not too sensitive to caffeine, consider having green tea or good-quality coffee daily. These have thermogenic effects thanks to their caffeine contents as well as other stimulants such as cholorgenic acid (found in coffee), and studies have found that around 200mg of caffeine speeds up the metabolism by 4-5% for 24 hours.

4Train with resistance

Exercising with weights helps to build strong bones and muscles, as well as boost your heart rate and metabolic rate – even while at rest. But the good news is, you don’t have to lift heavy weights to reap the benefits of weight training.

 

Light dumbbells offer such an easy way to intensify your workout moves and burn more fat and calories overall. I use them in every single rebounding class I teach as well as when I do at-home workouts.

 

However, if you prefer a stronger physique with more definition, you’ll need to adapt your training plan to suit those goals. Weight training changes your body shape, improves lean muscle mass and prevents muscle atrophy. The bottom line is, the more lean muscle mass you have, the quicker you’ll boost your metabolic rate.

5Include a weekly HIIT training session

Countless studies have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to burn fat and calories, while boosting your metabolism. Just 1-2 hard exercise sessions a week – where you push maximum effort for a short period, followed by a recovery phase, is all you need to get that metabolism going.

 

A true HIIT workout shouldn’t last longer than 15 to 20 minutes, excluding a warm-up and cool down. You can perform a HIIT workout by:

  • Running
  • Using a stationary bike
  • With body weight exercises such as burpees, standing sprints
  • Rebounding (I offer a wide range of online classes which incorporate HIIT training principles)
  • With weights using compound movements such as squats with an overhead press.

 

6Sleep more!

Did you know that poor sleep can greatly affect your metabolism? This is because sleep is linked to your delicate hormonal balance including your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals make you feel hungry, while leptin signals are triggered when you feel full.

 

But, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body can release more of the hunger hormone and less of the “feel full” hormone, leaving you feeling famished and craving sugary, fatty carb-rich foods all day.

 

To keep these hormones in check, it’s best to sleep between 7-9 hours every night.