Things to avoid when getting back in shape

If you’ve been overindulging on the alcohol or skimping on the workouts, your metabolism may be lagging. What’s worse, you may feel ever so slightly under the weather, which is no way to live. But remember: your health is in your control. If you are feeling a little sluggish and off track, try these 8 simple tips to boost your metabolism and regenerate your energy.

Sleep well. Your sleep habits and your metabolism are undeniably intertwined. According to a study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, sleep deprivation can have stark effects on metabolism, including an increased risk for Type II diabetes. Lack of sleep or sleep dysfunction also increases appetite due to increased leptin production. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try nixing the electronics for an hour before bedtime. The light from televisions or computer screens can stave off melatonin production and keep you awake.

Drink (moderate) caffeine. Green tea and black coffee both have proven metabolic benefits. Research has shown time and time again that both green tea and coffee offer metabolic benefits as well as ample antioxidants. Just don’t overdo it, as being wired all night can outweigh the benefits.

Surprise your body. Still doing the same old workout video from 5 years ago? Your body and your metabolism reap serious benefits when you switch it up. Try taking up a new workout hobby, like kickboxing or swimming, to contrast with your current regimen. Better yet, try HIIT (high-intensity interval training) if you’re really looking to get fit. Even though these workouts are shorter, they are more intense. The contrast of intensity to rest periods skyrockets your metabolism through the roof as you continue to reap benefits for hours to come.

Hit the weights. More muscle mass means a better resting metabolic rate. What does that mean exactly? Well, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you’re doing absolutely nothing. How do you build muscle? Weight training. No, you don’t have to be a muscle-head at the gym to use weights. Start off with many reps of light weights to challenge your existing muscles, and work your way steadily heavier over time to help them grow.

Drink water. It seems obvious, but most people don’t drink enough water. How is your body supposed to function properly if it is lacking in its most essential substance? It doesn’t. As far as metabolism is concerned, a study showed that drinking 500 mL of water increased metabolic rate for about an hour by 30% in subjects, which is quite significant. Be aware that the standard 8-cups-a-day rule may not be enough. If you workout with any intensity, you’ll need more. Drink regularly throughout the day, and especially when you’re thirsty, to keep your body at peak levels of hydration. Also try incorporating a big, room temperature glass into your early morning routine. Drinking 2 to 3 cups (16-24 oz.) first thing in the morning after a dehydrating sleep revs your body up for a fantastic day.

Get spicy! Spicy food not only reduces your appetite and increases satiety, but it also actually boosts your metabolic rate by about 8%. Stop eating bland chicken and sprinkle a chile rub on! Both your taste buds and waistline will benefit.

Eat smart. Certain foods are known to boost metabolism, like coconut oil, certain fruits, and especially proteins. Fill your diet with these healthy foods instead of processed, sugary alternatives to properly fuel your body. Note, if you overeat, this small boost in metabolism won’t compensate. Eat only when you’re hungry and until you’re 80% full to ensure maximum benefits of your metabolism-boosting snacks.

Add a pinch of cardio. Thirty minutes to an hour of cardio a few times a week can raise your metabolism for the next 14 hours. Sweating a little is a small price to pay for the benefits, which include heart health and the influx of endorphins. However, overdoing cardio can be just as bad as not doing it at all, as it can exhaust and over-stress your adrenals. Keep pushing yourself, but try not to become too obsessive. Everything in moderation is key.

If your daily routine is feeling sluggish and dull, try incorporating some of the above ideas to liven up your metabolism and jump start your health. You can change yourself for the better in a few simple steps. Live healthfully and moderately, and your body will oblige.

Will Rider, Your Fitness Expert

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