Boost Your Metabolism

Speed Up Metabolism

The key to jump starting any weight loss program is accelerating your basal metabolism in order to burn more calories. Here are a few simple proven methods to increase your metabolism.

Increase Activity

Increased activity is an easy and effective way to increase your metabolism. Even if the actual number of calories you burn while performing the activity is small, increased activity steps up your metabolism for a period of time even after you’ve finished your workout. Activity does not just have to include scheduled periods of time for classes, workouts, sports, and activities. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the door, going for a long walk with a friend or loved one – these all count toward burning calories.

Build Muscle

Muscle requires energy. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, every hour of the day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Incorporating resistance training exercises into your routine is the most effective way to increase muscle mass and jump start your metabolism.[1]

Do Not Starve

Severe calorie restriction signals your body that you are in “starvation mode,” and will slow down your metabolism. Any type of diet that severely restricts your calorie consumption can also be very harmful to your health, since they often result in deficiencies of many essential nutrients. To speed up your metabolism, you should eat small, frequent meals – once every three hours or so, even when you do not really feel hungry. This keeps your blood sugar stable, provides a steady source of energy, and keeps your metabolism up while your body works hard to break down and assimilate the foods you eat.

Eat Protein For Breakfast

Make breakfast a priority. During sleep, the metabolic rate normally slows; in the morning, your body has been essentially “fasting” overnight and is in “starvation mode.” Eating protein with breakfast actually helps to increase your metabolic rate. Many studies show that people who regularly eat protein with breakfast within one to two hours of waking are more likely to control their weight.[2] [3]

Eat Some Protein At Every Meal

The breakdown of all food takes energy, so no matter what you eat you will slightly boost your metabolism after a meal. However, eating protein gives your body a bigger metabolic boost than eating carbohydrates, because the body has to work harder to break down and assimilate protein. Protein is also required to repair muscle damage that results from heavy training.[4]

Drink Water

The energy process of metabolism requires water to work effectively. The Institute of Medicine recommends that you drink at least nine to thirteen 8-ounce glasses of water throughout the day[5]; this will help your body’s systems work more efficiently. Cold or cool water may also give your metabolism a very small boost because of the extra energy required to heat the body.

Avoid Calorie Dense Foods

Calorie Dense foods are primarily processed foods. Several studies have tried to indentify a specific diet changes that has resulted in the current obesity epidemic, but several studies suggest that the primary issue is the calorie density of foods. Choose Nutrient Dense Foods over Calorie Dense Foods.[6]

Get Enough Sleep

In addition to doing things that speed your metabolism, you can give yourself a boost by eliminating behaviors that slow metabolism. According to the prestigious Nurses Health Study[7], sleeping less than 5 hours a night caused major disturbances in blood chemistry and hormonal release, resulting in a lowered basal metabolic rate. Even lesser amounts of sleeplessness had an effect: women who slept for 6 hours were 12% more likely to have major weight gain and 6% more likely to become obese compared with women who slept at least 7 hours per night. These findings were consistent even though the women who slept less actually consumed fewer calories than the more rested groups.

Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol is associated with two negative factors that affect our metabolism. First, it directly inhibits the liver’s ability to break down fat by up to 73%[8] and, second; binging on alcohol with meals can increase the amount of calories you consume by 20–30%. If you binge-drink twice a week and your beverage of choice is regular beer, over the course of a year you will consume 71,520 extra calories – that equates to 20.43 pounds. Even if you switch to light beer, consuming 10 beers a week nets you 52,800 calories, or 15.08 pounds. On the lower end of the scale, if you only drink four light beers a month, you will still consume 5,280 calories, or 1.5 pounds, over the course of the year[9].


  1. Campbell, W. W., Crim, M. C., Young, V. R., & Evans, W. J. (1994). Increased energy requirements and changes in body composition with resistance training in older adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 60(2), 167–75. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/60/2/167.abstract

  2. Leidy, H. J., Bossingham, M. J., Mattes, R. D., & Campbell, W. W. (2008). Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. British Journal of Nutrition, 101(06), 798. doi:10.1017/S0007114508051532

  3. Wal, J. V., Gupta, A., Khosla, P., Dhurandhar, N. V. C.–2755181, & Vander Wal, J. S. (2008). Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1545–1551. doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.130

  4. Brinkworth, G. D., Noakes, M., Keogh, J. B., Luscombe, N. D., Wittert, G. A., & Clifton, P. M. (2004). Long-term effects of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet on weight control and cardiovascular risk markers in obese hyperinsulinemic subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 28(5), 661–670. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0802617

  5. Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate - Institute of Medicine . (2004).Consensus Report: Institue of Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Electrolytes_Water.pdf

  6. Drewnowski, A. (2007). The real contribution of added sugars and fats to obesity. Epidemiologic reviews, 29(1), 160–71. doi:10.1093/epirev/mxm011

  7. NHS :: The nurses’ health study. http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/.

  8. Siler S, Neese R, Hellerstein M. De novo lipogenesis, lipid kinetics, and whole-body lipid balances in humans after acute alcohol consumption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999;70(5):928–936. Available at: http://www.ajcn.org/content/70/5/928.full. Accessed May 8, 2011

  9. CFA alcohol facts poster FINAL.pdf. http://www.consumerfed.org/elements/www.consumerfed.org/file/food/CFA_Alcohol_Facts_Poster_FINAL.pdf.