Summer’s here and that means three things: baring the flesh, panicking about baring said flesh and beating yourself up for not following through on that ‘I’ll go to the gym five times a week’ New Year’s resolution. But let’s face it, juggling work, play and life in general can leave even the most motivated among us with little time (or desire) to exercise religiously or munch on lettuce leaves.
It may sound too good to be true, but scientific research has shown that simply using a few metabolism-boosting tricks on a daily basis can help to keep those love handles in check.
Eat more often
Your metabolism determines how many calories you burn. Every time you eat your metabolism kicks in and uses extra energy to breakdown the food eaten. By eating more often, your metabolism is forced to work at a higher level throughout the day. The trick here is not to eat more than usual. Instead, try splitting your usual three daily meals into six mini-meals. The result? More burn for the same amount of calories.
Drink icy cold water
We all know that water is good for us. It can prevent overeating, flush out toxins… blah blah blah. But did you know that it can rev the metabolism if chilled before drinking? A group of researchers at the University of Utah and another group at Berlin’s Medical Research Centre found that drinking a glass of chilled water can raise the body’s metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent and keep it raised for around 10 minutes.
Now I admit that 10 minutes may sound like nothing, but if you drink the recommended eight glasses of water every day, that’s an 80-minute metabolism boost each day. That adds up to a pretty impressive calorie burn over a period of three to six months.
Don’t pass on the jalapenos
Yes, they burn your mouth, but, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, the capsaicin found in chilli peppers also helps to burn calories. In fact, eating these peppers (dried, raw or cooked) can temporarily boost the metabolism by more than 20 per cent. Take advantage of that by throwing some hot peppers into your meals whenever possible.
Move as soon as you wake up
Your metabolism slumps when you sleep and it can take it a while to get going in the morning. Jolt it into action by doing any activity that gets your pulse going for a couple of minutes (yes that also includes sex). A study published in BMC Endocrine Disorders showed that just four to six 30-second bursts of intense exercise improve metabolic function within two weeks when done every day. If you fancy following the plan used by the researchers, try doing two sets of 10 jumping jacks, press ups and squats before jumping into the shower in the morning.
And don’t forget to eat breakfast; it’s a tried and tested method of waking up your metabolism.
Image by mosespreciado courtesy of Flickr