Slow weight gain with an increased metabolism!

Chances are, you don’t need a dietitian to tell you that your metabolism slows with age. With the average woman gaining one and a half pounds each year of her adult life, the math can get scary after 40 if steps aren’t taken to combat the slowing of your fat-burning engine. The good news: Weight gain isn’t inevitable. These eight easy-to-incorporate metabolism boosters are proof.

1. Start the day right.

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If you skip it, your metabolism goes on starvation watch and slows down to conserve energy. “Time is everything for weight loss,” says Dr. Joey Shulman, a registered nutritionist and founder of Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. “In other words, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Research definitely shows that front loading your day and making dinner your lightest meal is an effective strategy for weight loss.” For best results, aim for a meal that is slow to digest and is a mix of protein, complex carbs and essential fats, such as an omelette with veggies alongside half a cup of cooked steel-cut oats and berries with a dab of omega-3-rich fish oil. The combination will leave you feeling fuller longer.

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2. Get your caffeine fix.

According to a study reported in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of those who drank caffeinated coffee jumped by 16 per cent when compared to those who opted for decaf. Why the boost? Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, thereby increasing your heart rate and breathing.

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3. Go heavy and slow.

Contrary to popular belief, lifting heavy weights will not make you an Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, to make your muscles respond to weight training, you need to pass on featherweight dumbbells and choose weights that are heavy enough to cause fatigue when performing the last two reps in a set, says Nicole Thorne, a personal trainer based in Cambridge, Ont. What’s more, you need to perform the reps slowly. Doing this best maximizes the breakdown of muscle tissue, and it’s during the repair process that your metabolism receives a boost.

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4. Drink your water cold.

A study done at the University of Utah found that participants who guzzled eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water had higher metabolic rates than those who downed just four. Experts have batted theories back and forth as to why colder temperatures make a difference. Many say your body works harder to heat the cold water to reach your core temperature. But the fact remains: making a habit of drinking chilly H20 can add up to pounds lost with almost zero effort.

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5. Pack your protein.

“Eat a protein source at every meal,” says Dr. Shulman. Not only will you stay fuller longer but eating more protein helps build and maintain lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat does, even when your body is at rest. Women should aim for three to five ounces daily, while men can benefit from five to seven ounces. FYI: The size of the palm of your hand (without fingers or your thumb) is equal to three ounces of protein.

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6. Incorporate interval training.

The good news: Workouts need not be longer to be more effective. In fact, the more you step up your intensity, the more likely you are to burn the same number of calories or more in less time, says Thorne. To see optimal results, build in bursts of speed, whether you run or ride. For example, after a five-minute warmup, do a minute of can’t-talk sprints, then cool down for two minutes. Continue for 15 minutes, building up your sprint time with each workout.

7. Mix things up, and try a trainer.

Change is good, especially when it comes to workouts. “The body gets used to routines quickly, meaning it responds less and less with time, and performing the same, repetitive moves can cause a person to not want to work out at all,” says Thorne. Weekly changes are ideal, she says, which is why having a trainer is so effective. “You get results with a trainer that you can’t get anywhere else. Having every workout be different is what your body needs to change in a short amountof time.”

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8. Skip white sugar and flour.

Do your body a favour and limit the amount of enriched ingredients you feed it. “Over time, the body will oversecrete the hormone insulin to manage the extra sugar and flour intake from the diet,” says Dr. Shulman. “Too much white will quickly cause cravings, fatigue and belly fat storage—the opposite of how we want our metabolism to function.” Choose to fuel your body with healthier options, such as agave nectar and stevia or almond and quinoa flour instead.

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