Metabolism is the process our bodies go through to turn food into energy, which we need not only for things like walking and running, but also for activities like sustaining brain function, regulating body temperature, and generating new cells.

It’s no surprise, then, that what we eat is a major determining factor in how much energy we have. Plus, as most of us know, there is a link between metabolism and weight gain—though it’s generally not what people think.

Popular culture likes to blame a “slow metabolism” for weight gain; that is, some say that their body’s natural process of breaking down food is slower than it should be, so more food is stored as fat. Although this situation is possible, it’s relatively rare, and is generally linked to an actual health problem rather than just a genetic characteristic or “bad luck.” That’s why supplements that claim to increase or speed up your metabolism won’t do you much good; metabolism is a natural process that your body is carefully designed to regulate, and that generally functions well unless you have a specific medical condition.

In truth, there’s not much anyone can do to change the speed of their metabolism—and there’s usually no need. The key is to pay more attention to the food you’re giving your body to metabolize. The better quality your food, the more energy you’ll have, and the more you’re likely to be pleased with the aesthetic results of your body’s metabolizing work.

So although the speed of your metabolism likely isn’t the culprit of weight gain, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your metabolic efficiency, to make it the most efficient process possible by providing your body with the best fuel in the smartest way.

Here are our top ten tips for boosting this all-important body process:

1. Don’t skip out on the most important meal of the day.

Although popular diet advice is divided on breakfast, we all know it’s important to start our day with good nutrition, whether it’s 10 minutes after we wake up or two hours into the day. Think quality carbs and lean protein to get your metabolism fired up for the day.

2. Eat enough calories for your body type.

Cutting calories so drastically that you’re under the daily recommended amount is counter-intuitive; this practice will actually slow your metabolism, as your body essentially enters starvation mode. Although creating some calorie deficit is the basis of weight loss, it’s important to not go too far that you start negatively impacting the efficiency of your metabolism.

3. Drink alcohol only in moderation

. If there’s alcohol—technically a toxin— in your system, your body will work to break that down before it gets to any of the food. It’s a classic example of consuming something that causes metabolism of food to slow, since your body is focused on metabolizing the alcohol, so it’s best to avoid drinking too frequently, or too much.

4. Practice High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

This is where Bootique comes in! Join us for one of our outdoor personal training workouts in San Diego, and your metabolism will reap the benefits. This unique type of training ensures your body will be in recovery mode—repairing muscle tissue and burning fat to fuel it—for hours afterward.

5. Choose wholesome foods.

Lean protein, leafy greens and whole grains are your best bets when it comes to high-quality fuel for your body. You’ll have more energy and your metabolism will be as fine-tuned as possible if you’re feeding it the nutrients on which it runs best.

6. Bump up your water intake.

Just like nutritious, high-quality foods, water is another crucial component for a healthy metabolism. In order for your body to convert food into energy most efficiently, make sure you hydrate often to aid the process.

7. Get those Zs.

Sleep is a crucial time of recovery for your body. In order to maintain normal, healthy processes, like metabolizing food, you need to be well rested. Get your 7 or 8 each night—it’s as simple as that!

8. Manage your stress.

Although this is certainly easier said than done, keeping your stress levels from getting too high is important for many different health reasons. At the very least, stress can cause us to turn to unhealthy foods, which leads to a less-than-optimal metabolism process.

9. Go for the green.

Studies have shown that real green tea contains certain antioxidants that can assist with the efficiency of the fat-burning process. So although guzzling green tea won’t make you rapidly shed the pounds, it will have a more positive effect on your natural metabolism than, sugary soda or coffee drink.

10. Surround yourself with support.

No matter which metabolism-boosting point you’re focused on, it always helps to have an accountability partner or group! At Bootique Fitness, we’ve got you covered. Our Zumba-style cardio hip hop dance classes and outdoor personal training groups in San Diego — from La Jolla to Mission Valley and Mission Bay — each have a loyal following of positive, supportive women who are on a health and fitness journey, just like you. Contact us to arrange your first class and experience the supportive atmosphere of our fat-burning classes for yourself!