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March 01, 2022 2 Comments
Having a fast metabolism is the key to burning fat, keeping it off, having more energy, and looking great. However, many people struggle with a slow metabolism. No matter what they do, their metabolism doesn’t seem to speed up.
If you exercise and attempt to eat well, but simply can’t achieve a flat stomach or lose the love handles, you are going to want to read this article carefully.
We are going to teach you some key methods to speed up your metabolism, permanently, so you can lose fat AND keep it off (key point), feel great, and kick ass each and every day.
If you want to get a faster metabolism, it's really as simple as maintaining an adequate strength training regimen, eating a (mostly) healthy diet, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep. Do this long enough, and in essence, you will maintain it permanently.
Easier said than done, right?
Simple doesn't always mean it's easy.
Sometimes you need the specifics, and that's what we are going to cover here.
We will break this guide to speeding up your metabolism into three sections. Each section will have "rules" for you to follow.
The 3 main points we will be covering are:
The rules will be section by the above three categories.
Our "rules" may seem too simple to be helpful, but just get through all of this and we promise you will walk away more informed and motivated than when you started.
All you have to do to speed up your metabolism is follow the 7 rules of this guide.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to lose fat, it is to turn your body into a calorie burning machine!
Note: We have backed up a lot of the information in this article with real science. We have consumed information from studies found on Google Scholar and linked to them where relevant.
Let’s first be clear that not all exercise is created equal.
Thus, here is the first rule…
If you want to workout for weight loss and speed up your metabolism, you need to step up your workouts.
Simple cardio just doesn’t cut it for speeding up metabolism1. Yes, it’s great for cardiovascular health, and it has its place, but it won’t fix a slow metabolism or burn fat.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) will speed up your metabolism, while also improving your cholesterol profile and insulin sensitivity2.
Here is a sample HIIT workout
Complete the following circuit four times (1 min rest between rounds):
If you want to add some fun training tools into the HIIT mix to spice things up and challenge yourself even more, unconventional training tools are typically the best for intense HIIT workouts. Moreover, they will also build muscle and strength at a higher level.
An Unconventional Fitness HIIT Workout could look like this:
Rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat for 3 more rounds.
You can even make things super simple when it comes to HIIT. For example...
Sprint HIIT Workout:
20-second sprints, followed by 40 seconds jogging for a total of 20 minutes. Essentially your rest time is the 40 seconds of jogging.
Studies show the sprint interval exercises have serious benefits on post-exercise metabolism3-4.
There are tons of HIIT workouts for you to follow on the internet, and you can easily create them yourself. Just remember, HIIT workouts are high intensity, the rest is minimal (which is why the workouts are efficient), and the exercises are typically compound bodyweight exercises.
When it comes to HIIT, burpees are the king of HIIT exercises, so when in doubt, burpee it out.
Our other favorite HIIT exercises are Hills Sprints (sprinting up hills).
We can confidently say that a lack of HIIT training is one of the top reasons why people aren’t able to speed up their metabolism and lose their fat, especially that last bit of lower belly fat.
HIIT will get your shredded as you will burn tons of fat during and after the workout.
The effects of a good HIIT workout will last all day!
A study shows that HIIT greatly influences resting energy expenditure (calories burned while resting) even in those who aren’t dieting5.
How many times a week should I do HIIT to speed up my metabolism?
Ideally, you should be doing 2-3 HIIT sessions a week.
Now, do you think that’s the only type of training you should be doing during the week?
That’s right, the answer is a big fat NO.
The good thing is HIIT workouts are efficient, so that leaves you with plenty of time to do other workouts during the week, which leads us to our next rule.
Related: HIIT for Beginners
When comparing muscle to fat, muscle is much more metabolically active. It’s been proven that increasing muscle mass will boost metabolic rate.
It's important that you have a good lean-fat mass ratio.
When you have lean muscle mass you will burn more calories all day long, even when resting. This is called resting metabolic rate (RMR).
RMR is one of the most important factors in controlling fat, as exercise only equates for a very small percentage of energy expenditure. In the modern world, RMR is the largest component of the daily energy budget.
Now, on the other hand, losing fat can decrease your metabolic rate, which we will get into a bit more further below...Thus, maintaining lean muscle mass when dieting-to-lose-fat is essential to speeding up your metabolism6.
To maintain muscle (and even build muscle, depending on what your diet looks like), you need to lift weights and develop strength so you can continually progress.
If you only focus on losing weight, by doing just cardio or HIIT, you will likely lose muscle mass in the process, and this is definitely not how you address speeding up your metabolism permanently.
Ever heard of skinny fat? This is what will happen to those who don’t lift weights and don’t watch their diet extremely well. They have a poor lean-fat body mass ratio, so their metabolisms are slow7.
Another big factor for lifting weights is that it can increase testosterone with big lifts like squats. Testosterone can positively impact metabolic rate8, and significantly at that.
This is a big reason why as you get older, it is easier to put on fat. As a young adult, testosterone is at its highest, and so is metabolic rate. This is also why it's crucial to understand your anabolic vs. catabolic processes and their hormones.
So, now you may be wondering...
How can I manage to do both HIIT and weight lifting every week?
Well, it’s not as difficult or strenuous as you may think. Building and maintaining muscle mass is best done by using heavy weights (relatively speaking) in a low-intensity workout format (LIIT). This type of LIIT training fits in perfectly with HIIT training.
A weekly schedule could look like this:
Monday: HIIT in the morning / Core training at night
Tuesday: Upper Bodyweight training
Thursday: HIIT / Cardio
Friday: Lower Bodyweight training
Sunday: HIIT / Core training (this is the start again, where the week repeats)
Your weight lifting sessions should allow you to target each muscle group weekly, and they should last around 1 hour. Your rests between sets can be anywhere from 1-2 minutes. Typically a total of 20-24 total sets of various exercises will be enough for one workout. However, the more the merrier. That being said, after 1.5 hours of low-intensity workouts, people typically start to…drag ass...for a lack of a better term. So, it’s better not to waste time. Efficiency is key.
Moreover, the mix of bodyweight and weight training is well rounded so it won’t only build/maintain muscle and boost metabolism, but it will also make you stronger and more athletic, which are all things we can appreciate.
We figured we’d put this one in the exercise section, even though it’s not technically exercising.
In any case, sitting too much just simply isn’t good for you. We didn’t evolve this way. So it goes against our nature. Sedentary life is one of the causes of the obesity problem the modern world is facing.
Sitting can lead to an increase in fat as it burns fewer calories than being active. Active, being even just standing or walking around, is particularly beneficial for the endomorph body type, a somatotype with a slower metabolism and higher body fat percentage. Simply moving more leads to more calories burned.
A study shows that standing up during an afternoon at work will burn 174 more calories than sitting9.
It may seem negligible but if you times that by 365 (days of the year), that’s 63,510 calories. A pound of fat weights 3,500 calories, so that’s approximately 18 pounds of extra fat each year. See how things add up?
Therefore, if you have a desk job, the easiest way to solve this problem is to buy an adjustable standing desk (or ask your company to buy one). You can spend an hour sitting then hour standing. You could even do 1-hour sitting, then 30 minutes standing. Just try to stand more. Over time you will get comfortable working while standing up.
If you can’t get a standing desk, or you need time to save up, then do a 15 minute walk every 1.5 hours. People are said to lose focus after 90 minutes anyway, so why not take that time to refresh your brain by walking around and burning some calories. As the classic saying goes - two birds with one stone.
All of this will make a big difference to your overall energy expenditure. Moreover, it will keep your metabolic rate churning all day long.
As we all know, diet is extremely important to our health. Our diet can make or break our progress in terms of growing muscle, losing fat, and speeding up metabolism.
Unfortunately, this is where people have the most trouble.
Our guts scream at us for sweets and junk food, to eat late at night, to eat more…
It’s a battle of will power to keep our diet in check.
The good news is, once you create a healthy diet habit, your stomach (a.k.a. your second mind) will stop yelling at you to do unhealthy things.
It’s important to understand that when it comes to diet, it’s not just about what we eat, it is also how much we eat and when we eat. So, these are all things we are going to discuss below, and we are going to create rules based on dieting for you to follow to speed up your metabolism.
It's very important that you are getting enough calories. Eating the necessary amount of food (*healthy food*) is how you maintain a healthy metabolism. Starving yourself is NOT.
There are two methods that we live by - Eat Smaller Meals More Often or Intermittent Fasting.
If you are not attempting to lose fat, and you are looking to strictly build muscle, eating small meals more often is the best tactic. Your metabolism speeds up when you finish eating in order to digest the food and turn it into energy. Thus, eating more often (5-6 meals a day) will keep your metabolism revved up and your fat in check. Of course, you need to eat healthy foods, and eat small meals for this approach to work…or else you will gain a lot of fat with your muscle gains.
Now, since the purpose of this article is to lose fat and boost metabolism, we want to take a different approach - our second method - Intermittent fasting.
If you are looking to lose fat while also speeding up your metabolism, intermittent fasting is the way to go. This is because, with intermittent fasting, you can maintain lean muscle while burning lots of fat. Most diets don’t do this. Most diets that attempt to help us lose fat also cause a significant loss in lean muscle mass10.
This is very counterproductive for two reasons:
This means as soon as you stop your diet or slack on your diet even for just a week, you are going to pack on fat quickly. The point of this article is to boost our metabolism permanently so we don’t have to constantly battle with losing fat. We want our bodies to have a nice balance of burning fat and maintaining muscle. That way we can eat a normal, albeit healthy, diet and not strictly count calories each and every day for the rest of our life just to make sure our body fat percentage doesn't get too high.
It's important to note that intermittent fasting does not mean you will be restricting daily calories. For this to help boost your metabolism, you need to be consuming enough calories. You just have a shorter time frame to do it in. For example, if you do 14 hours fasting each day, you will have a 10 hour window to consume your daily calories.
There are many methods of intermittent fasting, you can read about the best methods here.
When you think about it, intermittent fasting makes even more sense on a primal level. Throughout our evolution as species, people didn’t have access to large meals all day every day. Typically people would eat small meals that they could gather and large high protein and fat meals when they had a successful hunt. They began their day in a fasted state, while they gathered and hunted for food for the day.
People think they can’t do anything without a big meal, however, we evolved to work and do things in a fasted state. Remember that the next time you are stressing not eating before going to the gym. Fasted cardio is an effective way to burn fat!
It seems to us that it is very advantageous to bring the primal nature back out. This way we can stay lean like our ancestors…exactly how we are meant to be.
THAT BEING SAID, fasting may not be for everyone, so please consult your doctor. If you don’t want to or can’t try intermittent fasting, then definitely go for the EAT MORE OFTEN rule, even if you are looking to lose fat. All you have to do is eat small meals more often and keep a negative calorie intake each day. It’s simple math.
If you have no health issues, then intermittent fasting is worth attempting.
Test yourself, and do an experiment on what is working best for you. Try intermittent fasting for a couple of months - monitor the effects. Try eating smaller meals more often for a couple of months - monitor the effects.
If neither of these is exactly what you're looking for, metabolic confusion is another great metabolism-boosting weight loss strategy worth trying. Rather than going through periods of eating and not eating, like intermittent fasting, you'll go through low and high-calorie days to keep your metabolism revved.
As long as you follow everything else in this article, you will still be making great progress. Moreover, as long as you are eating healthy foods, you will be making progress.
Cut out sweets and sugars, lower your carb intake, and eat more vegetables. It will be hard at first if you are currently not eating such a healthy diet. Again, your stomach will scream for those sweets and junk food, but if you stick to your guns for a week, those cravings will go away. If you want more information on following a healthy, balanced plan, take a look at our article on the 80 20 rule diet.
To wrap this up, for RULE #4, both intermittent fasting and eating smaller meals more often each day are smart ways to maintain a healthy metabolism. The choice is yours.
This rule made simple:
No matter if you are doing the ‘eat more often’ plan or the ‘intermittent fasting’ plan, choosing what you eat to speed up your metabolism remains the same.
After you eat food, your metabolism will increase for a couple of hours. This is because our bodies need to burn calories to be able to digest, absorb and process the nutrients.
This is called TEF - thermic effect of food.
When comparing fats, carbs, and protein, protein creates the largest rise in TEF.
Increase in metabolic rate by food source11:
So, it’s important that you eat protein with every meal if you want to get the most bang for your metabolism buck.
Moreover, protein is shown to make you feel more full, which will prevent you from overeating during mealtime. And you definitely don’t want to overeat, as that won’t give you a greater total boost in metabolism, the math just doesn’t work that way.
You want to eat to around 70% full during meals, and with snacks, just enough to curb your hunger. Protein makes for the perfect snack. We suggest opting for high protein low fat foods.
Ideally, your daily diet should be around 30% protein.
There is a study that shows people who eat around 30% protein will consume 441 fewer calories per day 12.
Another big factor regarding eating more protein is that it helps with maintaining and building muscle. As we’ve discussed, losing fat can decrease your metabolism, so keeping lean muscle while doing so will negate that.
Resources on Protein:
Try using coconut oil to cook instead of cooking oils. We recommend only consuming coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. Stay away from other cooking oils, as they are mostly unhealthy.
The reason why coconut oil is especially good is that it is high in medium-chain fats, which can speed up metabolism much better than long-chain fats13.
You can only expect modest positive effects on your metabolism from coconut oil, but when combined with all the other tactics for speeding up your metabolism, it becomes more beneficial to do so.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for speeding up your metabolism. It can be consumed by diet or through the skin from the sun. Vitamin D is associated with testosterone and higher levels of testosterone is shown to correlate with a higher metabolic rate14.
So, get your vitamin D in!
Spicy foods like chili peppers and hot mustard can boost metabolism as they contain a substance called capsaicin.
You will need to be able to eat a good amount of it to see some real effects on your metabolism, and many people can’t tolerate spicy foods, but if you can, similarly to coconut oil, when combined with other metabolism boosters, it can be quite effective15.
Moreover, spicy foods are shown to make you feel fuller faster, so you will be less likely to overeat if you add some spice to your meals.
This is the most important thing in our lives, yet not enough people drink as much water as they should. Water has a lot of benefits that go beyond just simply keeping us alive.
So, if you are looking to speed up your metabolism, drink lots of water each day. This is one of the surefire was to keep fat in check.
Green tea is the best thing to drink after water as it boosts the metabolism. Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, which may increase the calories and fat you burn. Moreover, green tea can help the body fight against diseases.
2-3 cups of green tea a day is recommended by health experts.
Note: Coffee is also said to boost metabolism. Have one cup in the morning to start your day and get your metabolism revved up. You can also try bulletproof coffee, which has been massively popular over the years. It is coffee with coconut oil in it. A double metabolic whammy.
Green tea and coffee, along with spices contain capsaicin, which as we’ve mentioned can improve one’s metabolism - Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine17.
Most people say keeping fit is 20-30% exercise 70-80% diet. Yet, they are missing a huge aspect of keeping in shape - SLEEP.
Sleep is said to be the greatest sports performance enhancer EVER.
Sleep is the ultimate recovery tool - read this to find out all about sleep benefits and the negative impacts that a lack of sleep has on people. Both the positive effects of sleeping enough and the negative effects of not sleeping enough are plentiful, so that is a must read - Importance of Sleep.
A lack of sleep is a major link to obesity. Scientists think this is because of the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the metabolism18.
Furthermore, a lack of sleep causes people to make poor diet decisions during the day as sleep deprivation is shown to boost the hunger hormone gherlin and decreases the fullness hormone leptin.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
It’s important to note that not all sleep is created equal. Quality sleep is important. You need to make sure you are having healthy sleep cycles. If you aren’t, then even 8 hours of sleep will have you waking up feeling sluggish.
So, if you are waking up throughout the night many times, you need to get that in check too.
Sleep is the key to keeping in good shape and keeping your metabolism fast.
1) Do heat therapy and cold therapy.
The sauna offers tons of benefits and is said to produce heat shock proteins and boost metabolic rate 19.
2) Eliminate Stress.
Eliminate stress as best as you can. Too much stress can negatively affect metabolism20, and it can indirectly affect metabolism by causing things like overeating and poor sleep. If you can reduce stress, you will definitely see big positive effects on your fitness endeavor. The good news is, one of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise. So that’s a win-win.
We will end this by saying:
Metabolism can be a tricky thing to control and a lot of tips for speeding up your metabolism are under debate. Moreover, genetics play a big role.
What we can say for sure is that if you want to control your weight and fat loss, you need to consider calories consumed versus calories spent. This is the only guaranteed way to keep control of your weight. So, it will always be a constant thing you need to be aware of. That being said, counting calories and finding out how many calories you are actually burning can also be tricky for the average person.
So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to make healthy choices a habit and experiment. Try things and see what works. If something is working for you, stick to it. Moreover, don’t beat yourself up if you have a little fat. Just do your best to stay healthy. In the end, longevity is key. Looking good is just the byproduct of being healthy.
We are confident that if you follow all of these 7 rules and make them a habit, then you will be on your way to a faster metabolism, permanently.
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