4 Ways to speed up metabolism

4 ways to increase metabolism






4 Ways to speed up metabolism


There is a lot of talk about increasing metabolism and most of it centers on nutrition dogma regarding meal frequency and the use of supplements.


Lets start with meal frequency- perhaps the most incorrect widely held belief is that increasing meal frequency results in a faster metabolism. The folks who practice I.F (Intermittent Fasting) have proven this to be false.


This belief is based on the theory that, if you happen to skip a meal your body will breakdown muscle tissue for use as an energy source and this will slow your metabolism. Due to the rate of absorption of dietary amino acids this is not something anybody has to worry about. Protein is absorbed at a very slow rate and after a large high-protein meal, amino acids trickle into your blood stream over the course of several hours. This effect can be quite profound in fact especially when slow digesting proteins or a combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates is consumed. In this case a single high protein meal may still be releasing amino acids for more than 16 hours thus negating any chance of muscle loss.


This doesn’t mean that eating small, frequent meals is bad. In fact, I do it almost everyday and 90% of my most successful clients do as well. What this does mean is that you don’t have to obsess over when your next meal is coming. A better approach is to focus on hitting your calorie and protein requirements for the day and spread your meals out in such a way that you are able to stick to your meal plan and not fall off the wagon every other day.



Regarding supplements- I am all for using dietary supplements and will incorporate different products depending upon the goal I am trying to achieve (fat loss, muscle gain, or increased endurance). I know from personal experience (and from working with clients) that some supplements are very effective and provide a significant benefit when used correctly. For example;


Thermogenics such as Coleus Forskohlii have been shown to stimulate thyroid production, increase glucagon and increase cAMP- all of which impact fat breakdown and release from the cell.


EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is a polyphenol found in green tea that works synergistically with caffeine to increase thermogenesis or heat production in the body and amplify the effect of the catecholamines.


However, as effective as some of these supplements are when it comes to increasing metabolism there are four primary aspects to increasing metabolism that should be focused on first. These will have the most significant impact of your metabolic rate and once you have these four bases covered you can then use supplements to give you an extra calorie burning boost.


Most people do this the other way around- they make zero changes to their lifestyle and then fool themselves into believing that taking a pill will fix everything.


If that were true it wouldn’t be a supplement- it would have to be a drug and would come with a wide array of side effects along with the benefit.



Increasing metabolism is actually not that complicated. Many fitness and nutrition experts search for ways to over complicate the whole fat loss and muscle building process for one very important marketing reason- complicated sells.


If you think that there is a magic macronutrient ratio, exercise program or supplement combination that will negate the habit of eating bags of candy, drinking soda pop and watching 35 hours of television per week then I don’t think that you should be spending your time on this website (but you are welcome to stick around and learn a thing or two).


4 Ways to Speed up Metabolism


There are four variables that you can manipulate each day that will serve to increase your metabolic rate;


Increase Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)


Your RMR is the energy needed to sustain the body’s most basic functions and is determined largely by your Lean Body Mass (LBM). Most folks assume this is another way of saying how much muscle you carry but that would be only partly true. While muscle mass accounts for about 40% of RMR the other 60% is a factor of brain and organ function. Seeing how we can’t increase the size of our brains or organs it makes sense to train with resistance in order to increase LBM. Men typically have a higher RMR than women largely due to differences in LBM but also due to differences in hormonal profiles.



Take advantage of  the Thermic Effect of Food


There is a certain amount of energy required to process and digest the foods that we eat. This is known as the Thermic Effect of Food or TEF. Protein is the highest at about 30 percent followed by carbohydrate and finally, fats. Due to its high thermic effect and the fact that protein is very satiating, increasing protein intake should be one of the first changes you make to your diet. Alcohol is also quite thermic (similar to protein) and this is one of the reasons why it isn’t as detrimental to your diet results as you may have been lead to believe (let the celebrations begin).


Increase your Activity Level


This tends to be the one variable that meets with the greatest amount of resistance. What a shame that is seeing how increased activity results in increased calories burned during the activity and after (through Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC). The amount of calories burned during activity is largely dependent upon the amount of work performed so don’t make the mistake of thinking that you burned 500 calories by walking around the block. The truth is it takes a lot of effort to burn a significant amount of calories and most estimations you see on treadmills and other devices are horribly inaccurate. It should be noted that metabolic resistance training produces the highest rate of EPOC and this is a major reason why it is so effective for fat loss when done correctly.


Increase Thermogenesis


Increased thermogenesis or heat production is the body can be accomplished relatively painlessly and can have a significant impact on metabolism. For example, the simple act of fidgeting can burn several hundred extra calories per day. This is also known as Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT. Cold exposure will increase thermogenesis through the activation of Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT fat) although the effect is hardly worth the discomfort and adults don’t have much BAT fat to speak of anyways.  Hormonal fluctuations will also have an impact but of these three factors it appears that NEAT is the winner.  


No matter how much you increase your metabolism using these four variables it is important to remember that calorie balance will always reign supreme.  You can hate it, deny it and run from it but in the end- there it is. If you have hit the wall with your body transformation efforts the first step is to create a food diary and get an accurate accounting of what and how much you are eating. Don’t estimate as this is notorious for producing inaccurate data.  Go through the painstaking process of writing down everything you eat and drink and then go from there. I can guarantee that in the end this will have the biggest impact on the results you achieve.


There is one important caveat that is worth mentioning- not everybody reacts to calorie intake the same. Some genetically advantaged people increase metabolic rate faster during periods of increased calorie intake and these same blessed folks have metabolisms that take longer to slow when calories are decreased.


We probably all know someone who seems to get away with murder in the kitchen and still looks great. These folks simply have brains that react more favourably to changes in calorie intake.


Kind of reminds me of a good looking trust fund baby or the person who just won the 300 million dollar Powerball Lottery-   they got lucky. The rest of us simply have to suck it up, do it the old fashioned way and earn our results- and that’s fine by me.



This post was written by

Bruce – who has written posts on Cutting edge muscle building and fat loss secrets.
bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

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3 Responses to “4 Ways to speed up metabolism”

  1. jane says:

    it is really interesting to learn that meal frequency isn’t that important for fat loss.
    great information!

  2. Patrycja says:

    Once again, very useful information. Everything you write is so accurate, you are the best!

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks for explaining the 4 different ways to increase your metabolism. In my case, aging has slowed it down a bit. Will be trying to incorporate some of these methods into my lifestyle.

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