Don’t settle for a sluggish system. Boost your calorie-burning superpowers with these expert tips to burn fat 24/7.
FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Eat a decent breakfast. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t, your metabolism goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that) and slows to a crawl. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found testers who ate no less than 22% and up to 55% of their total daily calories at breakfast gained only 1.7lb on average over four years. But those who ate less than 11% of their calories first thing gained nearly 3lb. See the pattern there?
Crank it up: Go for morning munchies that are slow to digest. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Berardi recommends an omelette made with one egg and two egg whites, plus a handful of sliced mixed peppers and onions. Follow that with a small bowl of porridge topped with a handful of frozen berries and 3tbsp of omega-3-loaded flaxseed (try Linwoods, £5 for 425g from Tesco). Great, now you’re firing on all cylinders.
Rejoice, caffeine addicts. According to a study in the US journal Physiology & Behavior, the metabolic rate of people who regularly drank caffeinated coffee was an average of 16% higher than those who drank decaf. “Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing,” says Robert Kenefick, a research physiologist at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. We won’t argue with that, Sir.
Crank it up: Follow your morning cup of the black stuff with an ice-cold glass of water. Researchers at the University of Utah found just drinking one glassful can raise your body’s metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent and keep it raised for around 10 minutes. The theory is your body has to burn extra calories to maintain its core temperature. Get your recommended eight glasses a day.
Swap hours on the treadmill for the Tabata Method. This school of exercising is all about fast and furious intervals – 20 seconds of gut-wrenching effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated a total of eight times over four minutes. Studies have shown working out this way is as effective at boosting your metabolism as much longer lower-intensity sweat sessions.
Crank it up: Geoff Bagshaw, a trainer at Equinox gyms, has come up with this three-move sequence. Do as many reps as you can of the first exercise in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat eight times. Rest for two minutes, then do it again for the other two exercises. Got it?
Lunge with a bicep curl: Holding dumbbells at your sides, step back into a lunge, curling the weights up to your shoulders. Repeat on other leg. That’s one.
Squat overhead press: Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height, arms bent, and lower into a squat. Now raise the weights to the ceiling as you push back up.
Push-ups: You know this one. Assume push-up position, bend arms and lower.
To slim down, pile your plate with protein. Regular large helpings will help you build and maintain lean muscle. And we all know muscle burns more than fat by now, right? Aim for 30g of protein – that’s 250g of low-fat cottage cheese or 100g of chicken breast – at each meal.
Crank it up: Chase your meal with a cup of green tea. “It’s the closest thing to a metabolism potion,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, co-author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. In tests, people who consumed three to five cups a day for 12 weeks shed an average of 4.6% of their total body weight. Another study found having two to five cups a day torched an extra 50 calories a day. Not bad. Try Clipper organic green tea. To really go for the burn, down it two hours after eating. Research shows it can increase breakdown of fat by a third. Now go forth and burn.
RAGE AGAINST TIME
20s: Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak and your metabolism should be firing on all cylinders. Enjoy it while you can.
30s: Your body’s cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria, start to get less effective at turning food into energy for your muscles to burn.
40s: The decline continues as your oestrogen levels go into free fall, further slowing your metabolism and causing belly fat.