When it comes to losing weight, you’ve probably heard that your metabolism is the ultimate weight loss driver. But do you know why it plays such an important role?

Your metabolism regulates the rate you burn energy. So, if your metabolism is sluggish or slow, then the energy you take in from food might not be burned off. If your body doesn’t use all the energy you’ve consumed then it will store it around your body and organs as fat.

If your metabolism is working efficiently and effectively then the energy from your food (and any excess energy you’ve already stored as fat) will be used up, and you’ll start to lose weight.

Put simply, if you’re looking to keep the kilos off, you better keep your metabolic engine revving!  With that in mind, here are some of my top training and nutrition tips to help you fire up your metabolism so your body can become a fat-burning machine.

Snez & Sam Wood holding hands

Eat plenty of protein

When you’re looking to get your metabolic engine revving, packing your diet with protein is a must. Protein has a large thermic effect which means the body expends more energy to absorb and digest nutrients – making it awesome for fat loss. Eating plenty of protein means you can increase your daily energy expenditure or the amount of calories your body uses to perform important physiological functions. So – if you’re looking to boost your metabolism, lean protein like chicken, beef and turkey as well as fish, eggs, dairy and legumes are your best bet. My Protein-Packed Poke Bowl is my favourite way to get my daily dose or give my Poached Eggs with Peas, Zucchini, & Tuna a go if you’re looking for a protein packed way to start the day.

If you’re looking for the perfect protein powder, you can grab mine from the 28 Shop. Chocolate or Vanilla – click here!

Eat more fat

The healthy kind of course! Good fats (like avocado, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil and seeds) can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight and lose fat. They’re also one of the best ways you can achieve satiety as they make you feel fuller for longer. My Super Speedy Guacamole is my go-to when I’m after a quick and delicious hit of healthy fats.

HIIT It up

When you’re looking to boost your metabolism, you need to train in a way that will raise your heart rate and put your muscles to work. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is just the answer. HIIT is a type of training that involves repeated short bursts of intense activity with short, low-intensity recovery periods. It’s an incredibly efficient way to burn body fat and burn calories, and one of the best ways you can fire up your metabolism. Learn more about why HIIT is so effective and try a HIIT workout for yourself.

Just Eat Real Food

This is the nutrition philosophy behind my 28 program and it really is as simple as it sounds. Real food is unprocessed food that is rich in nutrients and it’s exactly what your body needs to perform at its optimum potential.  When you stay away from processed, packaged food and stick to real and whole food, you naturally avoid all the nasty added sugars that are hiding in the foods you find in a box. You also boost your metabolism because you’re putting your digestive system to work by forcing it to break down amino acids, fatty acids, fibre and other nutrients.

Wondering what the best way is to keep it real? Jump in the kitchen and cook your own food! That way you know every ingredient that’s going into your food is a good one.

Ramp up the resistance

“Don’t resist the resistance” is something I’m always telling my clients – and for good reason! Resistance training is not only a great way to tone and shape muscle, but it’s also one of the best ways to increase the speed of your metabolism. When you have a higher metabolism, you burn more calories all day long and the more lean muscle you have, the more muscle you burn. Like the sound of what you’re hearing? Give this At Home Resistance Workout a go.

VIDEO: At Home Resistance Workout With Snez Wood

At Home Resistance Workout

Spice things up

We love a bit of spice here at 28, and not just because it adds an extra hit of flavour. Spice such as chilli or jalapeños are shown to boost your metabolism because they increase the body’s release of hormones like adrenaline, which in turn increases your calorie burn. Why not get a bit more spice in your life with my Spicy Black Hummus.

Move every day

I know I’ve already mentioned the importance of HIIT and resistance training – but when it comes to boosting your metabolism, it’s important to make sure that you move your body every single day.

Don’t worry, I’m not telling you to smash an intense HIIT workout day in, day out! Just try to get moving every day. The key here is to find something you love and enjoy. Whether it’s a long walk after work to clear your head or boxing to get that heart rate up, simply moving your body every day and being active will play a big role in giving your metabolism a boost and helping you burn fat.

VIDEO: 10 Minute HIIT Workout with Sam Wood – No Equipment Needed!

10 Minute High Intensity Workout – No Equipment | 9Honey

Load up on water

This is a point I can’t stress enough. Water is incredibly underrated as an important part of your diet and it plays a big role in boosting your metabolism. So – try to keep your water intake to around 2-2.5 litres a day to make sure you’re burning maximum energy and keeping your hormones balanced. If you find it difficult to keep your waters up each day, my tip is to flavour your water bottle with a combination of lemon and mint or if you prefer something sweeter throw a few berries in there – trust me, you won’t even realise you’re drinking water! 

Sam Wood loading up on water with his abs exposed

Catch some zzz’s

Just like staying hydrated, sleep is another component that is underestimated (and often forgotten about) when it comes to losing weight and getting your metabolism engine revving. Sleep deprivation messes with the body’s circadian rhythm (the 24 hour cycle that regulates sleeping, waking up, digestion and other important functions), and can mean your metabolism slows down as you try to hold onto the body’s resources. So – if you’re looking to boost your metabolism, you cannot neglect getting some good old shut eye. A few of my favourite tips to get a good night’s sleep are making sure your bedroom is a cool, dark environment, ditching all technology in the lead up to bed and sticking to a consistent bed time each night.

Cut the snacks

All too often, we snack because we’re bored or simply out of habit. But the reality is, when you’re sticking to three balanced and satisfying whole food meals a day you shouldn’t need to snack in between. Unless you are doing intense, high volumes of exercise, are a shift worker or are pregnant – then try to cut the snacks where possible! Keep in mind that when you stick to three balanced meals a day, you are able to keep your body in its most metabolically efficient state. 

Stress less

OK, I understand this one is easier said than done, but you need to manage your stress levels if you’re looking to give your metabolism a boost. Managing stress is a must for an efficient metabolism because it optimises your fat burning potential. But let’s be real – stress is a natural part of life and it can be good for us (to some extent). The key here is to not let stress overwhelm you and get in the way of your day to day. Make sure you have practices in place to help you de-stress and refocus when stress rears its ugly head. I always recommend going for a walk, trying yoga or going for a gentle swim to de-stress, or if you’re looking for a quick workout to help you release the stress of your day, give my Stress Relief Workout a go.

Get moving in the morning

“Sam, what is the best time of day to work out?” is a question I get frequently clients, and my answer is always the same – when you actually will! But when it comes to boosting your metabolism, if you can find the time to squeeze your workout in the morning (before breakfast) then this will help give you that extra 10 per cent metabolic boost.

Have a balanced breaky

‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is something that we’ve heard for years, and for good reason. Having a wholefood breakfast each morning means a boost of nutrients early in your day which helps to kick start your metabolism, balance blood sugar levels and give you long lasting energy to tackle your day ahead. Start your day the right way with my Coco-Nutty Breakfast Smash or with my BLAT Breakfast Tacos if you feel like something more savoury.

What about “pre-workouts” or store bought “metabolism boosters”?

Pre-workouts and metabolism boosters usually fall under the category of thermogenics, or supplements that are purported to increase your metabolic rate and therefore energy expenditure. While they are extremely popular in the body-building space, the reality is that there is no magic pill for weight loss.

Most thermogenics are a chemical concoction of artificial ingredients, sweeteners and excess amounts of artificial caffeine from guarana or yerba mate. The amount of caffeine used in store-bought pre-workout is rarely healthy; it is really important to remember that the benefits of caffeine are dose-dependent. If your metabolism-booster causes nervousness, jitteriness, changes in sleep, increased anxiety or heart palpitations is clearly not healthy for anyone.

In the right amount however, caffeine has natural thermogenic benefits and increases fatty acid oxidation, or the amount of fat your body selects to fuel the exercise session that follows.

One of the best (and cheapest) pre-workout boosters is a shot of coffee

One of the best pre-workouts is a shot of coffee, or a Bulletproof Coffee (which is simply an espresso blended with a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and/or MCT or coconut oil). Try this before your morning exercise session but aim to stop caffeine by 3pm at the latest.

If you need a boost before an afternoon or evening session, opt for a healthy pre-workout training snack like my Sweet and Salty Low-Calorie Popcorn.

Let me be the personal trainer in your pocket.

Have you heard about my online fitness & nutrition program, 28 By Sam Wood?

My customised online workouts & healthy meal plans are suitable for all ages, all fitness levels and all dietary preferences. If you’re ready to become a fitter and healthier you, I’m ready and waiting!

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.