If you’ve noticed that you’re putting on a little weight, it might not be that you’re eating more food. After you reach the age of 25, your metabolism slows by about 5% every ten years. A slower metabolism burns fewer calories. Use these tips from the American Council on Exercise to make the most of your calorie-burning potential.

Not being adequately hydrated can decrease the number of calories you’re burning by around 2%, so keep pace with your hydration needs especially during and after exercise. Drinking milk and consuming other dairy products provides calcium, which is involved in fat metabolism. The protein from dairy products also helps maintain muscle mass which is important to metabolism.

Then there’s meal planning. Eating at the same times each day helps train your body not to slow the metabolic rate to preserve energy. Crash dieters often make the mistake of greatly reducing their caloric intake, triggering a starvation mode response where your body slows metabolism to conserve energy

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