Tips on How to Boost Metabolism and Build Lean Muscle
What’s the secret to faster metabolism and building lean muscle? The number of calories you burn each day just by living is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and it’s determined by some factors that are out of your control. Your age, gender, genetics, body mass, and even the size of your organs helps determine your BMR. But there are plenty of ways you can burn more calories each day. Here are our tips on how to boost your metabolism and build lean muscle.
Get Your Body Moving!
Planned workout time is essential, but don’t wait for dedicated workouts to get moving. The more you move, the more calories you will burn. Find ways to move more every single day. And when you do work out, power up your workouts by adding weights and trying interval workouts.
- Sneak in Some Activity Every Chance You Get
Try taking the stairs. Walking or biking to take care of errands. At home or work, you can set a timer for mini-stretch breaks by using your computer calendar or an appointment app on your smartphone.
- Lift Weights to Help Gain Muscle and Burn More Calories
Lifting weights will help you build muscle. Since the amount of muscle on your body is directly related to the number of calories you burn overall, building more of it will give your metabolism a long-term boost. When you have more muscle, you burn more calories even when you’re not working out. Start by lifting lighter weights and work your way up over time to avoid injury.
- Torch Calories with Interval Training
Interval training involves alternating between short periods of high and low-intensity exercise. This method is also known as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), this fat-torching workout technique helps you burn more calories both during and after your workouts and build muscle faster.
Eat Smart and Stay Hydrated
Did you know that it’s difficult for your body to tell the difference between being hungry and thirsty? Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s even more important when you are trying to build a leaner physique. Your body needs water for efficient digestion and drinking enough water will help you eat less and avoid cravings. So, eat whole foods to pack in good-for-you nutrients and drink enough water for your weight and age.
General water recommendation for women are about 2.7 liters (91 ounces) and for men are about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) from food and beverages. On average, about 20 percent of this daily water intake comes from food and the remaining 80 percent come from drinks.2
When those cravings do kick in, make food choices that maximize your fitness goals. The food you eat, and when you eat it, can help your body build muscle, lose fat and stay energized through workouts.
Try These Healthy Eating Tips
Eat Whole Foods — Whole food choices pack in good-for-you nutrients and can help keep you feeling satisfied much longer than processed foods.
Balance Calories and Carbs — Most people should get between 45-65 percent of their daily calories from carbs.1 Make sure your carbs come from healthy sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, yogurt, and nuts and seeds.
Don't Starve Yourself — Starving causes your body to conserve energy, so you’ll actually burn fewer calories that way. Eating too little also deprives your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Instead of starving yourself, make healthy food choices to give your body clean energy.
Power Up with Protein (especially for breakfast) — Protein gives you longer-lasting energy and helps your body build muscle. Eating protein in the morning will make you less likely to have cravings or overeat later in the day. Try adding eggs, yogurt, nuts, chia seeds, nut butters, or oatmeal with milk to your breakfast food options and morning routine to start your day with a protein-rich meal.
Eat Before Workouts — Your body needs fuel to get through a workout. Eat a healthy snack 45 minutes to an hour before working out. Aim for foods with a good balance between carbs and protein like Greek yogurt with berries, a smoothie with whey protein, or a banana with a nut butter.
Eat Frequently — Eating smaller, healthy meals throughout the day may help you feel more satisfied and keep your metabolism up. Try eating a high-protein snack or smaller portions of fruits and veggies every three hours throughout the day instead of eating three large meals a day.
Cheat Consciously — Get ahead of the urge to splurge by planning for an occasional cheat. Choose a favorite treat with an intense flavor to satisfy your craving, and don’t cheat on an empty stomach. Fill up on something healthy first, like fresh veggies, so you’ll be less likely to binge. We like to pair dark chocolate with strawberries or blueberries, plus get in a workout before enjoying dessert during date night.
Drink Coffee or Green Tea — Caffeine gives your metabolism a natural boost, plus coffee and green teas are full of healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals. Read more about the health benefits of caffeine here: What’s the Buzz About Coffee and Caffeine. Green teas, like matcha green tea, can also help support your metabolism, cardiovascular and brain function.
Harness the Power of Supplements
It’s difficult to get everything you need to support optimal energy levels and build a lean body through food alone. Reinforce your efforts and reach your fitness goals faster with supplements designed to kick your metabolism into full gear.
Swanson Health’s Mighty Metabolism Bundle includes supplements chosen for their metabolic benefits, including Svetol© Green Coffee Bean Extract, Garcinia Cambogia, and Cinnamon and Chromium with Chromax©.
To pack in more protein, look for protein powders that help support your health and lean muscle goals like whey protein powder or vegan-friendly pea protein powder and vegetarian-friendly hemp protein powder. Looking for more ways to build a healthy and lean body? Check out Decide Your Diet: How to Decide Your Daily Diet and Energize Your Mind & Body: Eight Tips for How to Get More Energy.
You can find the full Swanson Health A-Z Guide to Modern Wellness here.
About Bushra Hassan, MBA, RD & LDN
Registered Dietitian & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, Swanson Health
Bushra is an expert in supplement development, nutrition education, wellness coaching, and product brand management. Her work focuses on diet and nutrition, digestive health, and integrative and functional medicine. She enjoys baking, trying new restaurants, and exploring the beautiful city of Chicago.
1 How many carbohydrates do you need?: Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705?pg=2 (Accessed 12/20/2017)
2 Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256 (Accessed 12/22/2017)