POPSUGAR Fitness

9 Healthy Changes That Burn More Fat

May 16 2014 - 6:08pm

Ready to boost your body's metabolism and burn more fat? There's no reason to go overboard with any crazy supplements, but there are plenty of easy, healthy ways you can support your goals all day long. From your morning routine to your before-bed rituals, practice these tips to start seeing results.

— Additional reporting by Leta Shy

Source: Shutterstock [1]

Morning: Start With Coffee

Good news! When you're looking to boost your metabolism, you don't have to cut out your morning cup of joe. In fact, the caffeine in coffee and green tea naturally stimulates your central nervous system; your daily cup of coffee can boost metabolism by five to eight percent [2]. Just make sure you keep your habit to one cup a day.

Morning: Eat a Whole-Grain Breakfast

Skipping breakfast is a big no-no when it comes to stoking your metabolism. Fueling up your body within an hour of rising will rev up your metabolism and help you burn energy effectively all day long. For a satisfying choice that supports your goals, opt for a whole-grain breakfast, since they're loaded up with dietary fiber and complex carbs that help speed up your metabolism. Even trainer Bob Harper is a big believer in eating your carbs in the morning [3] if you're trying to lose weight! If you're not a morning person (I feel your pain!), try out this recipe for easy overnight oats [4] that requires just 30 seconds of prep the night before.

Afternoon: Drink More Water

You might think that sitting at your desk can only have negative effects on your metabolism, but as long as you're guzzling good old H2O, you're aiding your body's fat-burning power. One University of Utah study showed that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more fat [5] than those who only drank four. If you're not used to sipping on water, add these fruity additions [6] that bring some extra flavor and detoxifying powers to your glass.

Afternoon: Go For a HIIT Workout

While nearly all forms of exercise will help boost your metabolism, if you want the most bang for your buck, go for a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) plan like Tabata, since it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute — and double a person's metabolic rate for 30 minutes [7] afterward. With a mix of strength-training moves and intense cardio, you'll be covering all your bases. Try this 10-minute video workout [8] at home.

Afternoon: Opt For a High-Protein Lunch

It's no surprise that a clean diet helps your body work at its top potential, but protein can take things one step further. According to clinical and holistic dietitian Esther Blum, upping the amount of protein you're eating is essential, since high-protein foods take more work to "digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them." Boost your metabolism at lunchtime with a high-protein recipe [9] like this baby kale chicken salad [10] that offers 30 grams of protein per serving.

Photo: Leta Shy

Afternoon: Go For a Midday Walk

Getting up and moving around not only can help you digest after a big meal, but it also may boost your fat burn. Studies have shown that sitting for an hour or more reduces the fat-burning enzymes in your body by as much as 90 percent [11]. Keep your metabolism revved up by making sure you get up from your desk chair, and get into a habit of taking a walk before or after your lunch to up your fat-burning levels.

Evening: Spice Up Your Dinner

If you choose wisely, even the spices you cook with can boost your metabolism. This spicy dressing in this sweet potato salad [12] contains a nice helping of hot peppers that contains that compound capsaicin; this same compound that gives jalapeño peppers their kick has been connected with boosting metabolism and curbing cravings. If you're not a huge fan of spice, you'll be glad to know that tamer spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon [13] also have been shown to help your body burn more fat.

Photo: Lizzie Fuhr

Evening: Take Time to Wind Down

A busy, stressed-out mind does not support your body's needs. In fact, stress can actually slow your metabolism down. According to Sports Club/LA trainer and lifestyle coach Julie Barrett, MS, RD, when our bodies are under stress, "our adrenal glands pump out excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, causing an imbalance in our bodies' natural hormonal rhythms," which reduces your ability to burn fat.

Make sure you're spending a little bit of time every day to practice self-care. Whether it's a long bath, a quiet meditation, or moving through some relaxing yoga poses [14], don't think of these things as an extraneous luxury. Self-care is essential, and it is time well spent.

Photo: Laughing River Yoga

Evening: Get a Good Night's Sleep

If you're not already getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, be sure to follow these tips for getting quality Z's [15], since multiple studies have linked weight gain to a lack of quality sleep.


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