Physical exercise has many benefits . On a psychological level, it helps you feel better because it releases endorphins, serves to relieve tension, reduce stress and helps you sleep better. Likewise, it is a very healthy alternative and an option that we should all carry out.

However, many people, besides wanting a healthy life, aim to improve their figure . Although one should not become obsessed with physical exercise, who does not like to look good?

Increasing metabolism, key to weight loss

Exercise is key to burning calories, but so is nutrition and psychological aspects. Did you know that one of the keys to weight loss is to increase our metabolism to burn more calories ?

If you’re over 30, you may have noticed that as you get older it becomes harder and harder to burn off those extra pounds. This is because the metabolism slows down over the years , which is completely natural and biological.

However, our habits and the way we eat or train also have a positive or negative effect on the acceleration of our metabolism. That’s why you need to know some keys if your goal is to reduce your body fat percentage.

How to increase metabolism

But what are these keys? How can you increase your metabolism? Below you can find a series of behaviors and habits that will help you.

1. Don’t forget breakfast

Some people decide to skip or skip breakfast thinking they will lose weight that way. This behavior is totally wrong, since breakfast is possibly the most important meal of the day.

Research has shown that people who eat a good breakfast burn more calories during the day . According to Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition at Penn State University and author of the book The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan , “our bodies slow down in our sleep and don’t speed up again until we eat something. To increase your metabolism, you only need to eat about 300 to 400 calories for breakfast.

2. Make weights

There are individuals who believe that the ideal way to lose weight is to do cardio, so they omit weight training. Thinking this way is a mistake, because weight training accelerates the metabolism .

This acceleration of the metabolism is not only produced at the end of the session, but, by creating muscle, it increases the basal metabolism, which is the energy expenditure that our body carries out when we are at rest. If you don’t know much about nutrition or sports training, you might ask yourself, what does this mean about the basal metabolism? Very simply, muscle burns more calories even when you are resting and not physically active.

3. Make sprints

Physical exercise is a good alternative to increase the basal metabolism. As we said in the previous point, many individuals think that simply running will burn more fat. While it is true that when we practice running at a moderate intensity for a long time we will burn more fat, with interval training more calories are burned .

To increase the basal metabolism you can try to do intervals, with short periods of time when you do sprints (around 80-90% of your maximum heart rate). Ideally, you should run at a low or moderate intensity (50-60% of your maximum heart rate) for 2 minutes and then do 30 seconds of sprinting. You can do this sequence about 10-15 times (although you should always adapt it to your level of fitness). This will create an imbalance in your body that will allow you to burn more calories over the next 24 hours, even if you are resting.

4. Train on an empty stomach

It is true that I have commented that it is necessary to have breakfast, because, after the hours of sleep, until one does not ingest food the metabolism is not activated again. However, one can train on an empty stomach so that the metabolism is activated and the process of burning fat is accelerated.

The purpose of fasting training is to reduce glucose or glycogen stores in order to switch to fat burning during exercise. If you choose this option, you must be well hydrated and eat after training, otherwise you can end up very tired during the day.

5. Take care of the fat

Fat is essential for the body, so you should consume it in moderation. According to research by Italian scientists that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism more calories are burned by eating low-fat foods.

High-fat foods have more calories, and other macronutrients such as carbohydrates produce more thermogenesis, meaning they use more calories to burn the food. Specifically, the thermogenesis of fats is 3%, while that of carbohydrates is 7% .

6. Eat protein

The king of thermogenesis is protein. Although I said in the previous point that the thermogenesis of fats is 3% and that of carbohydrates is 7%, that of proteins is 27%. It is clear that the consumption of proteins helps to increase the metabolism .

In addition, proteins contribute to muscle formation, so you’ll increase your basal metabolism if you combine it with some physical exercise strategies, such as weight training.

7. Consume Omega 3

If you are going to consume fats, make sure they are healthy, that is, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated (if you don’t know the difference between these types of fats, you can read our article: “Types of fats (good and bad) and their functions”). One type of fat that will benefit you in terms of speeding up your metabolism is omega-3 fatty acids. This is why nutrition experts recommend eating fish.

Salmon, mackerel or herring are good choices . A study by Obesity Research showed that if we train, a good dose of fish oil helps to burn fat more effectively.

8. Eat several times a day

Some individuals believe that by eating much less they will lose many more calories. It is true that if we eat less than we spend, we can lose weight, but it is not worth stopping eating or eating too little.

On the one hand, by eating we increase the thermal effect and the basal metabolism by 8% and 16% during the two or three hours after the meal. Therefore, it is ideal to eat several times a day (experts recommend five). Also, if you are one of those people who practice physical exercise regularly, you will need to eat in order to train and have optimal energy levels.

Our organism is intelligent, and if the body notices that you are not eating enough, it goes into protection mode (because it believes that you are in a dangerous situation where you cannot feed yourself), so your metabolism slows down and saves on caloric expenditure.

9. Increase your NEAT

If we want to increase our metabolism we must have an active lifestyle. This does not only include physical exercise, as this only accounts for 15-30% of total caloric expenditure. The thermogenesis mentioned in the previous lines represents 10-15% of the total caloric expenditure and the basal metabolism 50-70%.

One of the best strategies to increase the metabolism is through what is known as NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) , which are the daily activities we perform and which are associated with the calories burned. For example, climbing stairs, domestic activities or walking to work will help increase your NEAT and, consequently, your metabolism.

10. Surprise your body

The human organism has a great capacity to adapt. That is why, when we do physical exercise, we must progressively increase our training intensity or volume. After a few weeks, the same training is no longer as effective. To avoid this, you can modify your training and do things that cost you and surprise your body, for example, changes in speed, rhythm, duration or loads .

11. Controls Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy, and even if they have a bad reputation, it is not necessary to eliminate them from the diet. You just need to know how to eat them.

To do this you must eat complex carbohydrates , which are those that contain a low glycemic index, that is, that keep insulin levels at bay, are transformed into glucose in a longer time than what is known as simple carbohydrates and produce a progressive and slow release of energy. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates are: brown rice, most fruits and vegetables or whole grain pasta, among others.

12. Drink green tea

Green tea has great health benefits and is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols. New research shows that catechin, a substance found in this infusion, can increase metabolism. Data from this study suggest that subjects in your experiment who drank green tea lost more weight than those who did not .

The researchers conclude that catechins can improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis. Five cups of green tea a day can produce a caloric expenditure of 90 calories a day.

13. Go organic

Organic foods are healthier and, at the same time, they also speed up the metabolism. One study has found that fruits, vegetables and grains grown without pesticides speed up the metabolism and help burn more fat, because they do not expose the thyroid to toxins .

“Non-organic products block metabolism mainly by interfering with the thyroid, which is your body’s thermostat and influences your metabolism,” explains Hyman, director of the research.

14. Leave alcohol aside

Do you like to have your little glass of wine with your meal? Well, if you don’t want to slow down your metabolism, you’d better kick this habit out of your life .

Besides slowing down your metabolism, several studies have shown that having a drink before a meal makes people eat about 200 calories more. Another study has found that the body burns alcohol first, which means that the calories from the meal are more likely to be stored as fat.

15. Spicy drink

Adding spice to food speeds up the metabolism significantly. At least that’s the conclusion of a research study from Pennsylvania State University in the United States. According to their study, by consuming spicy food the body’s metabolic rate increases by up to 20% during half an hour . If you want to burn more fat, switch to spicy.