Raise a hand if you have a fast metabolism. Anyone? Truth is, we all think our metabolic rate is slow—and assume that speeding it up would require two-hour runs and bootcamp till we're wrecked.
Not so. In fact, all the little decisions you make about eating and moving make a big difference in your calorie-torching ability.
"Your metabolism isn't fixed," says exercise physiologist Gary Ditsch. "You can impact it significantly with your daily activity and diet." Adopt a few of these strategies to get the metabolism you crave—in the time you have.
We all know weightlifting builds muscle, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. What you may not realize is that the calorie burn continues long after your last rep.
In a study at Southern Illinois University, exercisers who did a 15-minute resistance routine burned 100 extra calories a day for three days afterward.
"Strength training causes micro trauma to the muscles," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, director of fitness research at Quincy College in Massachusetts. "Your body has to rebuild the muscle."
It does that by torching additional protein and carbs. Boost your fat burning: Do this all-over-strength workout two to three times a week.
Lift First, Do Cardio Second
Exercisers who pumped iron 20 minutes before cycling melted more fat than those who didn't lift or those who waited longer between lifting and doing cardio.
So move right from the hand weights to that bike or treadmill. You could also try a workout that combines cardio and strength into one routine.