5 Cheap and Easy Metabolic Boosters


I recently wrote an article featuring eight frugal and fantastic foods that ramp up calorie burn. And while I was researching, it struck me that there are plenty of non-food (and non-drug) ways to rev metabolism as well. The best part? These five things are free and easy to incorporate into your everyday life — no matter your busy schedule.

1. Fast Exercise

Mini exercise bursts — as short as a 20-second workout — have been shown to keep people slimmer and healthier. In 2011, researchers at Bath University studied a group of sedentary young men and women and tracked their progress over a period of six weeks with a progressive cycling program. The catch? Participants exercised hard for less than ten minutes total over those six weeks, yet they showed some respectable fitness gains related to VO2 max and insulin resistance (at least for men). Sort of eliminates the "no time" excuse for working out.

2. Heavy Weights

Chances are that most of us don't engage in a regular strength training program. As a runner, I struggle with too much cardio that leads me to a weight loss plateau. However, if you pump iron on the regular, you'll gain muscle mass and burn more fat. More mass means a higher resting metabolic rate. You can even perform low-impact exercises like yoga and Pilates if you're shy about lifting the heavy weights. At-home strength training — push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc. — using your own body weight for resistance is another great, no-cost option. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)

3. Sound Sleep

The secret to a faster metabolism might be as easy as setting your bedtime earlier. In fact, losing a couple hours of sleep (from the recommended seven or eight) a few days in a row is a recipe for immediate weight gain. The research was performed at the University of Colorado back in 2013, and initial results showed that getting less than five hours of sleep a night actually increased calorie burn. But in just one week, the sleep-deprived participants ate more and gained an average of two pounds. (See also: How to Get More Sleep Without Spending More Time in Bed)

4. Caffeinated Beverages

Whether it's a morning mug of coffee or green tea, sipping on a beverage that contains caffeine helps speed up heart rate and torch calories. And green tea contains a special chemical named EGCG, which boosts metabolism even more. Of course, you'll want to stick with caffeinated drinks that don't contain added sugars or other high-calorie ingredients, but studies have shown a cup of coffee and three 90 mg doses of EGCG can burn an extra 80 calories a day while the body is at total rest (even more during exercise).

5. Plain Water

If you're like me and you can't take a caffeine buzz, try sipping more water for a metabolism benefit. Furthermore, drinking water before meals can act as an appetite suppressant and helps flush toxins out of the body. Cold water increases metabolic rate even more by making the body work harder to warm it up. (See also: 8 Healthy Ways to Make Water More Flavorful)

What do you do to boost your metabolism and burn more calories?

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