Your metabolism seems simple enough: It regulates the rate at which your body converts food into energy. But, of course, it’s actually not that simple. While an increased metabolism does lead to weight loss, some people naturally have a faster metabolism than others. Your base metabolic rate—the number of calories you’d burn even if you were to rest all day—differs from person to person, depending on things like your weight and bone density.
Still, there are some clever ways to help rev your metabolism, and get fitter and faster. One fool-proof method, according to Hannah Eden, a CrossFit trainer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is to combine cardio exercises with strength building ones. That’s because not only does exercising help burn calories on the spot, but the more muscle you have, the more your body melts fat at rest.
Here, Eden talks about some specific exercises that really kick your metabolism into high-gear and torch calories. Work these moves into your usual fitness routine, and your body will start to shred calories, fast.
“These metabolic blasters will sky rocket your heart rate and attack every muscle in your body,” Eden says.
How to: Place both hands on the floor, kick your feet back behind you, and slowly bring your chest down to the ground. Then jump your feet forward and land them on the outside of your hands, flat on the floor. Once your feet are in position, use your arms and legs to aggressively jump into a sprinters position in the air. Try and kick your front knee in toward your face and kick your butt with your back heel. Every time you hit your sprinters jump, alternate the leg that is in front
Muscles use more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism works, says Eden.
How to: First, grab a pair of dumbbells. Start with your feet between hip to shoulder-width apart. Then, holding both dumbbells at your sides, start with a dumbbell squat. Once you are in the base of your active squat, do one biceps curl. As you stand up, thrust your hips forward and press the dumbbell overhead into a shoulder press. Once your arms are extended above your head, bring your dumbbells together and hit one triceps extension. Keep your elbows tucked in. Always focus on engaging your core and controlling the movement. That is one rep. Lower your dumbbells and start again.
“This cardio-blasting movement will get your heart pumping in no time. When your heart rate is elevated it pumps nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which is what your muscles need to make a change,” says Eden.
How to: Start with your feet wider than your shoulders, with a slight bend in your knees and your hips behind you. On the balls of your feet, run in place as fast as you can, like the floor is hot. Every 10 seconds do either a tuck jump (advanced) or jump squat (beginner) as high as you can and get right back to your fire feet again.
“A running lunge is a quad-burning cardio blaster to test your pain threshold,” Eden says. “If you can manage to stick it out for an extended amount of time, you will cause your muscles to stay under tension, which is a great way to get you sweating and your muscles crying.”
How to: Start in the base of your lunge, right foot in front, left knee on the floor behind you. You should have a 90-degree angle between the back of your knee and the front of your hip. Your front knee should be directly on top of your ankle and your back knee should be under your hip. Aggressively drive your back knee up into a high-knee position and hop your right foot off the floor at the same time. Return to your starting position and continue. If the jump is too much, eliminate the jump and step up instead.
“This bodyweight blaster will speed up your metabolism and blast calories. It is convenient since you only need your body and a good attitude,” Eden says.
How to: Start in the base of your squat and step back into a reverse lunge, lowering your knee to the floor. Then lower your other knee to the floor. Step your feet back up, one at a time. Then, add an explosive jump and get right back down to the base of your squat. Down, down, up, up, pump.