People who want to lose weight often focus on boosting their metabolism. After all, a faster metabolism will burn more calories, even when you’re sitting. But it turns out there are a number of ways to gain a faster metabolism; some of them can even help you lose weight in their own right. Because metabolism generally slows after you turn 40 years old, try implementing these practices to put those effects on hold.

Build muscles

Strength training builds muscle both during your workout and after. It also takes more calories to grow and maintain muscle than fat, which will help you boost your metabolism by up to 15 percent . Engage in strength training at least two days a week, making sure to take a day off in between to allow your muscles time to rest and recover.  

Do Intense cardio

Cardio exercises like running and aerobics won’t build muscle, and upon finishing you’ll likely stop burning the calories too. Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves putting full effort into an exercise for a shorter time period. According to Men’s Fitness , these types of exercises will have your body burning calories for as many as 36 hours after you finish.

running on a treadmill Upping your metabolism could sometimes help with weight loss. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Eat often

Eating often sounds contrary to what you would do if you want to lose weight, but it can actually rev up your metabolism if it’s the right food. Going too long between meals depletes blood sugar levels , which can make you feel sluggish and slow down your metabolism. Choosing healthy snacks between meals can help keep your blood sugar levels steady and your metabolism in check. Instead of sweets and other high-sugar treats, choose foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains — and don’t eat too much.

Put some spice in your life

On average, studies have shown that spicy foods can increase your metabolic rate by about 8 percent. And while these effects are most likely temporary, there is still a benefit, since the effects will provide extra energy while they last. This step is easy enough to implement — simply add cayenne, jalapenos, or any other hot pepper to your recipes.

Optimize hormone balance

There are several hormones that play an important role in maintaining your metabolism. And deficiencies in these hormones can cause conditions such as hypothyroidism, which can contribute to weight gain. Other hormones, such as the human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, are responsible for providing the body with energy and building muscle . When you’re deficient in these hormones, you often feel tired and lack energy. In these situations, hormone optimization therapy can be effective in raising metabolic rate back to normal, and helping you lose weight.

Eat protein

It takes longer to break down and digest protein than other foods because they’re made up of amino acids, which consist of peptide bonds . Breaking these down requires more energy from the body, so about 20 to 30 percent of calories go toward digestion compared to 5 to 15 percent when we eat fat or carbs. This helps us burn calories and boost our metabolism.

Many of the excess calories that we get from protein also go into building muscle rather than being turned into fat, and increased muscle mass will boost your metabolism. You can find protein in many meats, as well as beans, eggs, cheese, and nuts.

Enjoy a cup of coffee

Studies have shown that people who drink coffee see an increase in their metabolism for some time afterward. While you don’t want to overdo it — too much caffeine isn’t good either — drinking a cup or two of coffee each day can help you feel more energetic and improve your metabolic rate for a few hours. With that energy, you can then go and exercise , further upping your metabolism.

Devin Haman is the co-owner of the Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center, an anti-aging and medical spa specializing in state-of-the-art treatment methods that make you look and feel younger. He is recognized as one of the 100 most powerful people in the United States according to Item Magazine, and founder of the famous Sunset Tan tanning salons, frequented by pop culture princesses Britney Spears, Megan Fox, and Paris Hilton.