By Elaine Cipriano for Life & Beauty Weekly


Can’t seem to lose those last few pounds, even with diet and exercise? Your metabolism could be to blame. Not all of us are blessed with a high metabolic rate, but by making some simple changes to your exercise routine, you can boost your metabolism and help your body burn more calories, even when you’re resting.

“You can increase your metabolism — the calories your body naturally burns — by gaining muscle,” says Sammie Kennedy, creator and CEO of Booty Camp Fitness, a workout program with 100 locations across Canada. “Some studies have shown that each additional pound of muscle (that you ideally exchange for losing fat) burns an additional 30 to 35 calories a day.” Here are Kennedy’s top tips for revving up your routine, plus the best exercises to boost your metabolism.

Get Cross-training
If you’ve fallen into a predictable pattern of cycling or walking every day, try cross-training to get your body out of its rut and stimulate more muscle growth. Try running on Monday, stair-climbing on Tuesday, weight training on Wednesday, boxing on Thursday, cycling on Friday and rope skipping on Saturday.

Pump up Your Heart Rate
Keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes during your cardio routine will boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat faster. Maintaining a heart rate of 70 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate is ideal for periods of 30 to 60 minutes, Kennedy says. To find this magic fat-burning range, start by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply that number by 0.70 and then by 0.75 to find the range of your ideal training heart rate.

Kennedy also recommends doing cardio for at least 30 minutes at a time if your goal is to lose weight. “It takes your body anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to ‘burn through’ stored sugars in your body and then be required to utilize fat stores for energy,” she says.

Try Interval Training
Interval training — alternating high-intensity exercise bursts with lower-intensity activities — will break up a stale workout and boost your metabolism. “Interval training requires that you increase your heart rate to near maximum heart rate — or, at the very least, a high cardiovascular level — which causes your body to use plenty of calories,” Kennedy says.

Keep It Up
The last secret to boosting your metabolism is to choose multifunctional exercises that maximize your muscle gain by working many body parts at once. Kennedy’s top five exercises to boost your metabolism can all be done easily at home or in your backyard:

1. Burpee: Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back to a pushup position. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position. Repeat this set 10 to 15 times.

2. Eight-count Body-builder With Push-up: Start at standing pose. Bring hands to the floor, jump feet back into a high plank. Jump feet out wide, do a push-up, jump feet back together, jump feet back to hands and stand up. Repeat five to 15 times.

3. Squat Into Bicep Curls and Overhead Shoulder Press: Stand holding weights by your sides. Squat down. Stand back up while doing a bicep curl. Perform overhead shoulder press, bring weights back to sides. Repeat eight to 15 times.

4. Bear Crawl: Positioning yourself on all fours, simply walk forward like the kid in The Jungle Book. Bear crawls can be performed both forwards and backwards, up and downhill. Try moving 20 paces forwards and then 20 paces backwards for one set. You can increase the number of paces as you get stronger.

5. Medicine Ball Drop-catch and Overhead Lift: Hold a medicine ball in front of your body with arms straight and legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Lift the ball overhead, keeping arms straight and engaging your core. Then, drop the ball down to the floor as you squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Catch the ball at the deepest part of your squat with your arms straight. Lift ball as you stand. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Elaine Cipriano is a freelance writer who has worked at such leading magazines as Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications and Home. She is a frequent contributor to Life & Beauty Weekly.

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