During the holiday season, we can either choose to take a proactive approach to our diet or make New Year’s resolutions to try and reverse our unhealthy choices. But, there is good news! It is not too late to make the right decisions now to start firing up your metabolism for the holidays and New Year.   Tweet This!

What is metabolism?

When we talk about our metabolism, we are actually referencing our basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy or calories your body needs to function while resting within a 24 hour period. It is important to obtain enough calories each day to fuel your body’s normal functions. If calories are restricted to a critically low level, it may result in fatigue, heart problems, electrolyte imbalance and loss of lean muscle mass.   Tweet This!

How can I fire up my metabolism?

There are several ways to help boost your metabolism but in general, metabolism can be modified by adjusting what you eat and the amount of physical activity performed on a daily basis.   Tweet This!

Check out the five tips below.

1) Hot Peppers.

Hot peppers can help get your metabolism fired up (no pun intended).   Tweet This! Hot peppers contain an oily compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is known for its thermogenic properties-thermogenesis (thermo-heat and genic-to create) is the process by which the body converts calories into energy which generates heat as a byproduct.

Thermogenic foods can make you feel warmer than normal and may even cause you to perspire. Although thermogenesis does help the body burn calories, it is unlikely that you will see a result with hot peppers alone, which is why it is important to incorporate physical activity and a healthy diet into your daily regimen.

Capsaicin can be found in a variety of sources like cayenne, green or red chili, and tabasco peppers. If you are not a fan of spices, you can opt for milder peppers. They have dihydrocapsiate (DCT) which is a non-spicy alternative to capsaicin that is known to have similar effects.

2) Regular Exercise.

Physical activity especially high intensity workouts and weight lifting can also help rev up your metabolism.   Tweet This!

High intensity workouts burn more calories but they also have the added benefit of helping you burn more calories even after you are finished with your workout. This phenomenon is due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.

The National Weight Control Registry published data suggesting that people who exercise 45-60 minutes a day are more apt to maintain weight loss.   Tweet This! Building muscle mass is another great way to increase your metabolism.   Tweet This!

Strength training and conditioning help to speed up your resting metabolic rate by increasing your muscle mass. Some examples of strength training include Pilates, yoga, hand weights or weight machines and body weight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the average person gets at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week.

3) Green Tea.

Green tea has great metabolism enhancing benefits.   Tweet This! Catechins and caffeine are the main components in green tea, which are responsible for its ability to help rev up your metabolism. [/tweetthis] Catechins are a member of the chemical family of flavonoids. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help improve overall health by combatting free radicals or oxidative stress.

Caffeine is a thermogenic that is able to increase your metabolism. Research studies have shown that green tea is able to stimulate brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through the synergistic interaction of caffeine and catechins.

4) Sleep.

Who would ever think that catching some “Zzz’s” might actually help your metabolism?   Tweet This! Well, short sleep duration or lack of sleep has been linked to increased risk for obesity.

According to the CDC, adequate sleep is equal to approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.   Tweet This! Interestingly, about one third of Americans complain that they do not get enough sleep. Specifically, sleep deprivation can cause your body to increase ghrelin which is a hunger hormone (think ghrelin makes your stomach growl), decrease leptin, the hormone that is responsible for making you feel full and increase your body mass index (BMI).

So, turn off your phone and television, and take some time to get some quality sleep; your metabolism will thank you!

5) Protein.

Eat more lean protein. Protein takes longer to breakdown than simple carbohydrates which means that your body has to expend more energy (work harder) to get its nutritive value.   Tweet This!

Your body burns on average about 10 percent of the calories you consume while breaking down food into energy and nutrients – this is referred to as the thermic effect or dietary-induced thermogenesis. The addition of more protein in your diet also gives your body the amino acid building blocks it needs to make more muscle.   Tweet This!

How do you plan to fire up your metabolism in the New Year?   Tweet This!


  1. National Weight Control Registry
  2. gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
  3. nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524030/
  4. Varghese S, Kubatka P, Rodrigo L, Gazdikova K, Carprnda M, Fedtova J, Zulli A, Kruzkiak P, Busselberg D. Chili Pepper as a body weight-loss food. International Journal Food Science and Nutrition. June 2017.
  5. Taheri, S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short Sleep Duration is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin and Increased Body Mass Index. PLoS Med December 2004
  6. Prinz, P. Sleep, Appetite, and Obesity –What is the Link? PLoS Med December 2004
  7. Knutson K, Spiegel K, Penec P, Van Cauter E. The Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation.  Sleep Medicine Reviews June 2007.

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