Having a super fast metabolism is something that everyone seems to want. The reason being of course that those people with fast metabolisms are the ones who are generally the mesomorphs among us – the ones with the lean and ripped physiques who build muscle quickly but burn fat even quicker.
Those of us who have slow metabolisms on the other hand find ourselves struggling to keep up and though we might diet twice as hard we often find that nature just isn’t on our side and the fat doesn’t fall off at the same rate.
Our ‘metabolism’ is a host of functions that fall into two categories:
The processes of the body that involve using the nutrients, the drugs and whatever else in order to build tissue and perform important functions in the body. This in other words is your body building itself using the resources you give it.
This is your body burning things for energy. In other words the process of getting energy (ATP) from food that you’ve consumed and then from your stored fat when it runs out of food supplies.
This then means that someone with a very fast metabolism will find their body quickly burning food and fat for energy. They will have plenty of energy available when they need it, and they will look slim. Meanwhile their tissue will be repaired and they will look muscular. However those with slow metabolisms will find their fat is stored easily and difficult to burn off, and that they struggle healing wounds or building muscle. This is actually what happens for those with under active thyroids (hypothyroidism).
Another distinction worth bearing in mind is that we go through periods of anabolism and catabolism. When we are awake this is a ‘catabolic’ state where the body is burning fat and using tissue and minerals. Meanwhile when we go to sleep this is an anabolic state where the body rests and uses its resources to repair wounds and build muscle. We also experience an anabolic state right after exercise and this is why it’s recommended that people take their protein shakes and amino acids (if they supplement with these) immediately following exertion.
Speeding Up Your Metabolism
A ‘super fast’ metabolism is essentially what is known as ‘hyperthyroidism’. This is a medical condition that has a lot of negative effects and so it’s important to understand that an over active metabolism isn’t a good thing either – you want your metabolism to run at a natural rate, but quick enough to encourage weight loss and good health.
Luckily there are some lifestyle changes you can make to increase the speed of your metabolism.
Eating little and often is the technique recommended by models to avoid hunger pangs, to improve digestion and to prevent your stomach from stretching. This has another benefit too though – which is that eating little and often can cause your metabolism to speed up. This is because you are training your body to get used to eating and processing a lot of food and getting it used to the idea that more is on the way soon. This then means that it can process the food quickly and burn the fat stores and more food should be incoming. Conversely if you are too fast or to try going without food, it will cause your body to react as though you were in a drought – by storing all the energy it can as food in case more doesn’t come. This is one reason that many diets fail – the slow down the metabolism.
You’ve been told the importance of eating a big breakfast countless times, but now there is another reason. Not only will a big breakfast help you to avoid feeling hungry later in the day, but it will also kick start a slow metabolism that has gone all night without practice.
Eat Your Vitamins and Minerals
Taking vitamins and minerals, either as part of a well balanced diet or as a supplement, is a great way to speed up the metabolism and has been shown to cause individuals to burn on average 4% more calories than those who do not.
While you don’t want to freeze yourself which is not good for your immune system, taking off your jumper and feeling a little cooler will mean you body works at burning fuel to keep you warmer meaning you use your metabolism more.
Using supplements can help boost your metabolism. For instance thermogenics are designed to burn away excess fat, while gaba increases our natural production of human growth hormone – an important hormone involved in our metabolism that will cause you to burn more fat and build more muscle. These supplements however are expensive and have side effects, so it is a much safer and more cost effective idea to use simple lifestyle changes to increase your metabolism. If you want to use a supplement to burn calories, then guarana is perhaps the best option which gently increases your metabolism without too drastically increasing your heart rate.
When you exercise you burn fat and calories for energy and this uses your metabolism. At the same time though, it will leave you in an anabolic state afterward where your body burns fat in order to build muscle and other tissue.
Drink Green Tea
Any stimulant will help to boost your metabolism, but green tea is especially effective. Not only does it contain caffeine, but also catechins – compounds that can increase your metabolic rate by 4% or more. This makes it better than coffee and additionally it causes the brain to increase production of noradrenaline which burns fat as fuel.