Remember that friend who ate everything under the sun and didn’t gain weight? Remember when you ate what you wanted in high school without gaining weight? Well, say hello to the “freshman fifteen”. As we age, our metabolisms slow down, affecting how we process our food, but, lucky for us, there’s something we can do about it.

Everything we eat or drink is converted into energy to help keep our bodies going and our metabolism plays a large role in basic energy needs. Metabolic rate (the amount of energy processed by the body in a given period of time) is significant when trying to gain, lose or maintain weight. Everyone’s metabolic rate is different because it is determined by age, gender, weight, height, genetics and muscle/fat composition.

To simplify, understanding your metabolic rate is necessary when determining how much you should eat and exercise in order to control your weight. There are some things we can do to speed up our metabolism and burn some extra calories. Here’s five ways to whip your metabolism into shape.

1. Green Tea

Green Tea - Sean Koetting

Photo by Sean Koetting

Studies show that consumption of green tea can increase one’s metabolic rate by 4%, which burns about 60 to 80 extra calories during the day.

2. Spicy Foods

Consuming spicy foods can increase one’s metabolic rate by up to 25% and may last for about 2-3 hours. Try having one spicy meal or snack every day, forcing your body to work hard (and burn calories) without you even knowing it.


Hot Sauce - Sean Koetting

Photo by Sean Koetting

3. Eat Breakfast

While we sleep, our metabolic rate slows down. If you skip breakfast, your metabolic rate will continue at the slow rate because your body thinks you are starving. You will hold onto everything you ate last night, especially the fats. Eating breakfast within about 1-1.5 hours after you wake up will fuel your body and allow your metabolism to speed back up.

Oatmeal - Sean Koetting

Photo by Sean Koetting

4. Get Protein At Every Meal

Proteins contribute to lean muscle mass. Muscle takes up less space and burns more calories than fat. While lunch and dinner aren’t as much of an issue, most people don’t get enough protein at breakfast. Try having eggs, cheese, or peanut butter in the AM.

Eggs for Protein - Sean Koetting

Photo by Sean Koetting

5. Water

We need about eight glasses of water a day to keep our bodies hydrated. Dehydration can slow down metabolic rate by around 3%, and about 75% of Americans are considered dehydrated. Plus, a study in London showed that college students who had a glass of water before an exam did about 5-10% better than those who did not.

Water - Sean Koetting

Photo by Sean Koetting

We can’t control everything in our bodies, but it’s worth trying!