Caffeine KickstartIf you can’t start the day without a steaming cuppa then use this to your advantage because studies show that caffeine can help you to train harder, for longer. A 2004 UK meta-study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, showed that caffeine can improve endurance by up to 12%. If you’re doing a steady-state fat burning workout, then that’s a useful extension to your session. And it also improves performance for shorter workouts, including sprints according to the latest studies - aim for a dose of 1-3mg per kilo of bodyweight taken 30 minutes before your workout.
Pack More ProteinA calorie is a calorie but different types of foods do have different thermic effects. About 10% of the calories you burn each day come from the thermic effect of food (TEF), which is basically the energy cost of processing them. ‘Protein has a much higher TEF than carbs or fat - as much as 25% of protein burns off during digestion. That compares to about 6-8% for carbs and 2-3% for fat,’ says Lou Schuler, author of The New Rules Of Lifting Supercharged.
A Lovely Bunch of CoconutsVirgin coconut oil has some surprising energy-boosting qualities. It’s a saturated fat but it contains medium-chain fatty acids, which are transported directly to the liver where they are more likely to be burnt off as fuel and slightly raise the metabolic rate. So replacing some sat fats with coconut oil can increase the energy you have available for workouts.
HIIT Fat AwayIf you only do one thing to boost your metabolism then make sure it’s high intensity exercise. Assuming you’re healthy enough to do this (check with your GP) then there’s no surer way to crank up the number of calories you burn at rest (your BMR). A high intensity interval training session with short, 20-60 second efforts with 90 seconds of recovery, between each one can burn more calories per session. ‘Exercising at a low Intensity (60% max heart rate) for 30 minutes will burn 200 kcal, with 50% of calories from fat (100 kcal). If you increase the intensity to 80% MHR then you will burn 500 Kcal with 40% of calories from fat (200 kcals),’ says personal trainer Nick Grantham. Plus your BMR will be raised temporarily after the workout for 24-48 hours, meaning you burn more calories just sitting around!
Raise the HeatAnother superfood that’s been shown to increase your daily calorie burn is chilli - or the capsicum that makes it hot in any case. A new study from UCLA’ Centre for Human Nutrition suggests that adding it to your diet could help you to burn an extra 200 calories a day due to its thermic effect. Look for it as an ingredient in supplements and don’t be afraid to order hot!
Creatine CrunchOne supplement that has a lot of research behind it is creatine - a 2003 review of 22 studies published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that supplementing with creatine created on average an 8% increase in weight lifting one-rep maximums and average of 14% increase in weight lifting sub-maximal performance. This translates into being able to produce more force during a workout - which means you can train harder, burn more calories (see number 4) and boost the training effect. Turbocharged training!
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your GP before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.