As much as we all admire those committed fitness fans who seem to manage a full workout every day, many of us simply don’t have the time to devote so many hours to the gym! If you’re juggling work, family and social commitments, it’s easy to leave fitness on the back burner, guiltily averting your eyes from your gym-addicted colleagues as they discuss cardio routines over the water cooler. However, as more research is done into the science behind staying in shape, it would seem those smug gym bunnies might not be all they seem!
In fact, when combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, keeping your workout routine to a very manageable one or two sessions a week might be all you need to achieve the toned physique of which you’ve always dreamed.
Despite the high number of people who like to think their easy weight gain is due to having a genetically low metabolism, this is actually a fairly rare problem. However, whilst your metabolism is probably fairly normal, increasing it is not only easy, but it can also be one of the most important factors in keeping the weight off and staying in shape. Read on for three simple yet effective tips to help you kick-start your metabolism.
Keep it Hard – Keep it Quick
According to recent research from Colorado State University, the trick to a high metabolic rate isn’t frequent, low intensity workouts as we used to think. Instead, doing a short but intensive exercise routine just a couple of times a week can have a much more dramatic impact on your metabolism, preventing it from settling back down by varying your activity levels. What many may find surprising is that most of the fat burned from exercise does not occur during exercise but while you sleep! A short, hard routine, keeping your heart rate at 80% of its maximum rate for around 40 minutes, can raise your metabolism for up to 19 hours, with much of the fat-burning effect occurring during rest. Because of this, it’s important to ensure you get a full night’s sleep after exercising. Not only does this give your metabolism time to work, but being well rested makes you less likely to snack on high-energy, high calorific foods the following day.
We all know that exercise is nowhere near as effective if you combat its positive effects by eating lots of fatty foods! Complementing your exercise regime by eating healthy, balanced meals may seem obvious, but there are also several foods that have been proven to specifically increase your metabolism, thereby helping you to keep fit. For example, whilst eating any kind of protein-rich food is good for keeping you satisfied and energised, making you less likely to snack on sugary foods outside of meal times, eggs are particularly good for boosting your metabolism. Similarly, whilst herbal teas are generally accepted to be healthy substitutes for caffeinated tea and coffee, green tea is specifically good for increasing metabolic rate. Ensuring you consume enough vitamin C, vitamin D and omega 3 can also aid healthy weight loss.
That said, we can’t all be saints! If you do indulge in fatty or sugary foods now and again, try not to feel self-critical. Instead, when you decide to eat something particularly calorific, acknowledge that you are making a conscious decision to treat yourself, enjoy your food and then put in a little extra effort at the gym next time!