6 ways to naturally boost your metabolism
By Jeff White

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How is it some people can eat whatever they want, whenever they want and never gain any weight, while others simply look at food and gain 10 pounds? Nobody said life was fair. If you're the type who gains weight easier than you'd like, you might be the victim of a slow metabolism.

In simple terms, your metabolism is the amount of energy your body burns. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn per day, and the easier it is to lose weight. The slower it is, the fewer calories you burn and the harder it is to lose weight.

A key factor in losing excess weight (and body fat) is to speed up your metabolism. There are many diet products out there that claim to do this, but there are several natural ways to change your metabolism from a turtle's pace to that of a rocket ship:

1. Change your diet

Our diet is the key to our overall health and mental well being. Add these foods to your diet to feel better speed up your metabolism:

What is the best way to boost your metabolism?
  • 1. Change your diet
  • 2. Work out regularly
  • 3. Get enough sleep
  • 4. Lower your stress
  • oatmeal
  • almonds
  • green tea
  • spinach
  • peanut butter
  • berries
  • water
  • apples
  • turkey
  • chicken breast
  • vegetables
The goal here is to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Aim for four-to-six mini-meals per day, with the majority of your calories earlier in the day. Be careful not to skip meals and drastically cut your food intake because if you do, your body will go into starvation mode, and your metabolism will slow even more. If that happens, you'll gain even more weight, even though you're eating less.

2. Get moving

The more calories you burn, the faster you'll lose weight Exercise is an important component of speeding up your metabolism. A car idling at the stoplight is burning gas, but not as much as the car going 60 on the highway. It's the same with our bodies. You have to get moving. Aim for 30-60 minutes of cardio three-to-five days a week for the best results.

3. Pump iron

A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat — up to nine times more, according to some experts. You don't have to train like Mr. Olympia to get results. Even 30 minutes a session twice a week is good.

4. Sleep

A common phrase in the business world is "I'll rest when I'm dead." Maybe so, but people can be quite mean, irritable and cranky if they don't get enough sleep. Not only that, but sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity and emotional well-being. That also includes our metabolism.

When you're tired, you feel sluggish and don't have the energy that you would if you had a good night's rest — the average adult needs about eight hours. A tired and sluggish person equals a tired and sluggish metabolism, which means you have a slow metabolism. And we now know what a slow metabolism means ...

5. Interval Workouts

Once a person has started an exercise program, he should add intervals to his training routine. Intervals are workouts within a workout consisting of 15-60 seconds of short, intense bursts of explosive movements. These workouts are designed to boost your metabolism even more. An example of this is riding a stationary bike at a normal pace, then riding all-out for 15-60 seconds, then slowing down to resume their normal pace again.

6. Manage your stress

Stress is like oxygen: You can't see it, but you know it's there. Stress is also subjective. What affects one person may not affect another. But one thing we do know is left unchecked, long-term stress can have serious health problems including the following:
  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema
Stress can make a person do things out of character, such as eat junk foods they normally wouldn't or abuse drugs and alcohol. These things can also affect their metabolism. It's crucial a person manages his stress, and one way to do that is by exercising on a regular basis.

Speeding up your metabolism from a turtle's pace to that of a rocket ship can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. With a little work, determination and patience it can be done. But don't wait until tomorrow, start now. Your body will thank you.

Jeff White is certified personal trainer and yoga instructor with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Jeff has been actively involved in the fitness lifestyle for more than 25 years, competing in triathlons for for the past 15, and he can be found at JW Fitness Solutions.