Boosting your metabolism by training hard in the gym will help you get leaner, stronger and more muscular. But, as anyone who has kept sweating long after the postworkout shower knows, metabolic rate doesn’t return to base line the minute you drop the last weight. But working out isn’t the only way to raise metabolism; there are a variety of techniques that will crank up your body’s natural fat-fighting machinery for longer, keeping those fat fires burning around the clock.
1. Focus On Protein
Protein — you know, the stuff your muscles are made out of — is what’s called thermic food, meaning that the body has to use a lot of energy to break it down and put it to use. If you train hard, consuming a diet rich in protein — think at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day — is going to help naturally raise your metabolism because your body has to work overtime to break it down. Better news? A high-protein diet won’t cost you much more in calories because protein comes in at 4 calories per gram and will provide plenty more amino acids to build and repair muscle. Which leads us right into No. 2 …
2. Lifting To Failure
New research shows that training to failure with lighter weight and higher reps has about the same effect on growing muscle than heavy weight protocols with fewer reps, so long as subjects trained to failure. Whatever route you choose to go, you’re golden because by adding more muscle to your frame, you are forcing your body to burn more calories at rest throughout the day.
High-intensity interval training is the best way to scorch body fat in a hurry. Surprisingly, you are more likely to burn more calories during a steady-state session. So how does HIIT win out? While HIIT burns a fair amount of calories during exercise, the resulting spike in metabolism over the next 24 to 48 hours provides a steady, sustained dose of fat burning, perfect for those seeking long-term change.
4. Drink Up
Hydration is key for keeping pretty much every bodily function — including muscle building and fat burning — running smoothly, but having a few cups of cold water at key times can help you get leaner in another way. One study published in TheJournal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that drinking a little bit more than two cups of cold water on an empty stomach boosted metabolism by 30 percent. Even better: Drinking 16 ounces of water before meals can help you reduce overall calorie consumption, which piles lean on top of lean.
5. Supplement With Green Tea
In case you hadn’t noticed, we love green tea – particularly green-tea extract standardized for epigallocatechin gallate. Chief among the many reasons is that green tea helps prevent the breakdown of norepinephrine, a hormone that jacks up your metabolism. In other words, the more norepinephrine you have floating around in your bloodstream, the higher your resting metabolism. Taking 500 milligrams of green-tea extract twice daily can go a long way toward keeping your metabolism firing on all cylinders.