Supercharge Your Metabolism!
Part 1: Get Moving!1. Exercise more often.
Working out is the number-one way to keep your furnace cranking. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn all day. That's because muscle uses energy even when you're resting. Exercise enough and you can help prevent the natural metabolic slowdown that can begin as early as your late twenties, according to Goldsmith.
Your amp-it-up game plan: five workouts a week. "Do three days of aerobic activity and two days of weight lifting," advises Shawn Talbott, PhD, an exercise physiologist, nutritional biochemist, and the executive producer of Killer at Large, a documentary about the U.S. obesity epidemic.2. Kick up your cardio.
Aerobic intervals will help you maximize your burn, doubling the number of calories you torch during a workout, studies show. Intervals also keep your metabolic rate higher than a steady-pace routine does for as long as an hour after you stop exercising, according to Michele Olson, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. That means you could blast as many as 65 additional calories after your sweat session. The ideal metabolism-boosting interval routine is to "go hard for a couple of minutes, then take it down to an easier pace for a minute or two, and keep alternating like that throughout your workout," Talbott says.
Just pick your cardio carefully. Aim for exercises that require your body to work its hardest by using a lot of muscle groups, Talbott says. That means running is better than cycling. Or try a cardio circuit. "Do a variety of activities -- like running stadium stairs, jumping rope, and squat thrusts -- for two minutes each, aiming for a total of 10 minutes," Olson says. "That will really rock your metabolism."3. Put some muscle behind it.
Too many women steer clear of weight machines, fearing that they'll bulk up. Or they work only their legs and skip their arms. Don't make this mistake. A head-to-toe strength routine will turbocharge your calorie-blasting quotient. Add five pounds of muscle to your body and you can zap as many as 600 calories an hour during your workout, Olson says. Be sure to choose a weight-lifting routine that targets your core, legs, arms, chest, and shoulders; challenging numerous muscles will help your body function like a calorie-burning machine, according to Goldsmith.
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