Fitness: Rev Up Your Metabolism

Princess Labrador | June 2012

Can’t seem to lose those last few pounds, even with diet and exercise? Your metabolism could be to blame. Not all of us are blessed with a high metabolic rate, but by making some simple changes to your exercise routine, you can boost your metabolism and help your body burn more calories, even when you’re resting. Here are some tips to rev up your routine and the best exercises to boost your metabolism:

Get cross training
If you’ve fallen into a predictable pattern of cycling or running every day, try cross training to get your body out of its rut and stimulate more muscle growth. Try doing something different every day—such as running on Monday, skipping on Tuesday, weight training on Wednesday, boxing on Thursday, cycling on Friday and hiking on Saturday.

Pump up your heart rate
Keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes during your cardio routine will boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat faster. Maintaining a heart rate of 70 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate is ideal for periods of 30 to 60 minutes. To find this magic fat-burning range, start by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply that number by 0.70 and then by 0.75 to find the range of your ideal training heart rate.

Try interval training
Interval training is alternating high-intensity exercise bursts with lower-intensity activities— which will break up a stale workout and boost your metabolism. It requires that you increase your heart rate to near maximum—or, at the very least, a high cardiovascular level—which will cause your body to use plenty of calories.

Keep it up
Choose multifunctional exercises that maximize your muscle gain by working many body parts at once. Here are five exercises to boost your metabolism that can all be done easily at home or in your backyard or at the gym:

  • Burpees: Start in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back to a pushup position. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position. Repeat this set 10 to 15 times.
  • Pushups with knee tucks: Start with hands on the floor, do a pushup then alternately bring each knee towards the chest. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Squats into bicep curls and overhead shoulder press: Stand holding weights on your sides. Squat down. Stand back up while doing a bicep curl. Perform overhead shoulder press, bring weights back to sides. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Bear crawl: Positioning yourself on all fours, simply walk forward. Bear crawls can be performed both forwards and backwards. Try moving 20 paces forwards and then 20 paces backwards for one set. You can increase the number of paces as you get stronger.
  • Medicine ball wood chops: Hold a medicine ball with arms straight and legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Bring the ball on the side of hip, keeping arms straight and engaging your core. As you squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor, bring the ball across your body towards the opposite side of your head. Perform one set on the other side. Repeat each side 10 to 20 times.