The human body is funny…one minute, you’re eating cookies, fatty foods and pretty much anything you want, yet it seems as though nothing can slow you down–you can even still can fit all your clothes! The next minute, BAM! You’re slower, more tired, the fat is harder to get off and so on. What happened? Life happened.
After a certain number of years–genetics and family history play a lot into this–your body slows down. It happens to all of us. But the good news is, we can slow this aging process down and turn our bodies back into fat-burning machines.
Despite genetics and gender, there are a few things you need to do more in order to boost your metabolism and burn more fat after the age of 35. Here’s 7 steps to do it:
1. Exercise More. 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.
“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. Do More Cardio. Aerobic intervals will help you maximize your burn and double the calories you burn. 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. So start easy, go hard for a few minutes, then alternate between the two for your entire workout.
3. Build More Muscle. 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.
4. Eat More Often. We know you’re superbusy, but make sure you grab lunch. “Simply chewing, digesting and absorbing food kicks your metabolism into gear,” says Jim White, RD, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
“The more frequently you eat, the more often it revs up, while skipping meals slows down your metabolism, says White. “Your body switches into starvation mode and your system slows down to conserve energy, so have three healthy meals of 300 to 400 calories and two snacks of 200 to 300 calories every day.”
5. Eat More Filling Foods. Start by serving yourself protein at every sitting, such as low-far yogurt, chicken and salmon, says Darwin Deen, MD, medical professor in the department of community health and social medicine at City College of New York and a coauthor of Nutrition for Life. All three of the above foods contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote weight loss by increasing your feelings of fullness.
In addition, eat more foods that slowly release the sugar you need for sustained energy, like high-fiber fruits and veggies and whole-grain breads and pastas. Also, munching on a food high in fiber three hours before your workout can help you burn extra fat, according to a recent study. Even coffee can help, since caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, which speeds up the metabolism. Just limit yourself to no more than two cups a day!
6. Be More Active. Sitting too much (at your computer or in front of the TV), slows your metabolism, even if you’re exercising regularly. An easy fix is to stretch, stand at your desk for a few minutes, stroll, and even fidget throughout the day. That’s what scientists call NEAT, or nonexercise activity thermogenesis, and it can boost your burn and help you drop weight, says James Levine, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot.
7. Sleep More. Deprive yourself of sleep and your body starts to respond as if it were under siege. “When you get two hours less shut-eye than you normally do, your system becomes stressed and produces about 50 percent more cortisol,” Talbott says. “That in turn triggers your appetite.”
At the same time, lack of zzz’s throws the body’s hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin out of whack, making you more likely to overeat. Skimp on pillow time for too long and you could be facing a serious weight problem, says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. In a 16-year study of sleep-deprived women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that those who slept seven to eight hours a night had the lowest risk for major weight gain, while women who got six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to pile on a significant number of pounds, and those who logged five hours or less were 32 percent more likely to gain weight.