Diet & Exercise: How to speed up your metabolism

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, January 18, 2018

In their quest for information to lose weight, many folks run across countless results on how to fire up increase, jump-start, engage, optimize, and speed up their metabolism.

First of all, just what is metabolism, and why is it so important to us? Simply put, metabolism is the amount of energy or calories the body burns to maintain itself. In other words, your body has to constantly use up calories to keep you going through any, and all your activities.

In terms of losing body fat, though, think of it this way. Fat is the fuel, your liver is the furnace. Your metabolism is the rate of heat. High metabolism, high heat, lots of fat burned. Low metabolism, low heat, not much fat burned.

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Here are a few do’s and don’ts when trying to raise your metabolism.

Eat a little more protein to rev up your metabolism. Protein elevates metabolism more than fats or carbohydrates, because your body uses more energy to digest and utilize it. This process is known as the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). In fact, you can burn up to twice as many calories digesting protein as carbohydrates. Careful though … our body can only take in small amounts of protein at a time, so what can’t be absorbed has to be filtered out through the kidneys, and too much protein can damage them. I recommend consuming no more than 20-25 grams of protein at one time.

Try spicy foods to fire up your metabolism. Red or green chile peppers, whether eaten or taken in capsule form, can not only reduce hunger, but can also temporarily boost your metabolic rate by up to 23 percent.

Drinking water helps you burn more calories. Drinking cool water burns even more calories, because your body has to heat up the water to your body’s own temperature. Also, remember, all your body’s chemical processes, including fat loss, use water, because it all goes via the blood stream. Also, muscle is 70-75 percent water, so if you try to work out while you’re dehydrated, it’s like you’re running on flat tires.

One thing to remember though, it is possible to drink too much water in one sitting. If you were to drink two gallons of water at one time, it could actually kill you by making your brain swell. Take care too, that you cool down if you’re really hot, before chugging lots of cold water, to prevent your body from going into shock.

Drink tea to burn more calories. Compounds called “catechins” found in green tea boost your metabolism. One study showed that green tea raised metabolism by four percent for at least one hour. 

Lifting weights raises metabolism more than cardio. I actually have my clients do both, but building muscle is necessary when trying to lose body fat. Muscle is active tissue, and requires constant maintenance by the body. In other words, for every ounce of muscle you build, your body has to burn extra calories 24 hours a day to keep it healthy. In fact, by adding just three pounds of muscle, you increase your calorie burn by six to eight percent, which means your body burns an extra 100 calories every day. 

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or text to 864-494-6215. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years.