Feature Image by Travis Yewell

One factor that plays a major role in weight loss? Metabolism. Your metabolic rate is the amount of energy and calories used for normal daily function, and the greater your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn. But if you think your metabolic rate is solely based on genetics, think again.

Check out six easy ways you can boost your metabolism below.

Drink more H2O
It doesn’t get simpler than this! “Drinking water can improve your metabolic rate, thus increasing your ability to use up calories,” says Dr. Robert Zembroski, a functional medicine specialist, clinical nutritionist, and author of Rebuild. “A study out of the International Journal of Obesity showed drinking just 17 ounces of water was enough to increase a resting metabolism up 30 percent. Drinking cold water also uses energy to heat it up in the body, causing a thermogenic response and improving metabolic function.”

“First things first, don’t even think about starving yourself,” says Kelly LeVeque, holistic nutritionist, celebrity health coach, and author of Body Love. “Drastically cutting calories might make you lose weight at first, but it doesn’t take long for your body to burn through the carbohydrates you eat as an energy source and instead change over to using protein aka your muscles. This will ultimately slow down your metabolism and make it easier for you to regain weight when you go back to eating a more normal amount of food.” LeVeque says it’s all about the type of foods you’re eating. “Meals consisting of what I call the “Fab Four” — fat, fiber, protein, and greens — helps prevent huge blood sugar fluctuations, making it easier for you to lose weight and keep that metabolism burning.”

Ditch the cardio (sort of)
Help your metabolic rate by finding balance in your workout. “We’re finding that too much steady-state cardio can actually lead to a depressed metabolism (think spinning or running),” shares Marnie Alton, fitness expert and founder of Barre Belle. “Instead, look for a workout that includes intervals of both high intensity aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (resistance/strength) training. This combo will help keep your metabolism lifted throughout the day post-sweat.” For an easy and fun metabolism-boosting circuit, Marnie suggests picking three of your favorite songs (two upbeat and one chill) and doing the following:

  • Song 1: Sweat — alternate 45-second intervals of jumping jacks, jump squats, and side lunges. Repeat until the song ends.
  • Song 2: Sculpt — 20 push-ups followed by a 60-second plank. Repeat.
  • Song 3: Stretch — take the time to hold stretches that target your hamstrings, hips, quads, and shoulders.

Increase your fiber intake
“Fiber-rich foods boost the metabolism because the body must work harder to digest it,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, registered dietician, founder of the popular F-Factor diet, and best-selling author. “The body cannot digest fiber, but it tries to. In attempting to digest and eliminate fiber, the body actually expends more calories than it would with other foods.” One of our favorite sources of fiber is chia seeds (just one tablespoon of chia seeds has six grams of fiber!). Whip up a chia seed pudding, throw it in a smoothie, or add it on top of soups and salads for a fiber boost.

Get really cold or really hot
“I use cold showers and cold water immersion!” says Max Lugavere, brain health expert and New York Times best-selling author of Genius Foods. “A human trial showed that an hour-long immersion in water up to the head that was 20 degrees C or 68 degrees F increased metabolic rate by 93 percent while immersion at 14 degrees C or 57 degrees F increased metabolic rate by 350 percent! It’s a powerful means of boosting cellular and mental vigor.” The same goes for heat. “I also love to sit in a sauna, which can boost metabolic rate by 25 to 33 percent,” shares Lugavere.

Catch some zzzs
“It’s not always about finding different ways to move in order to boost your metabolism — the amount and quality of sleep you get each night plays a huge role in your metabolism,” explains Rachael DeVaux, registered dietitian and founder of rachaelsgoodeats.com. “Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce leptin, the fullness hormone that helps to regulate energy balance, as well as boost ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Further, higher incidences of blood sugar levels are found in those who experience sleep deprivation.” So make sure you’re getting those eight hours of sleep in every night!

xx, The FabFitFun Team