Increase Your Metabolism: 11 Hot Tips To Get Your Furnace Burning

Nutrition science and information is constantly changing. Although this article has good points, my opinions and research have developed and changed. If you want to get started eating right for you, check out this new post on nutrition for beginners.

Eat enough

It’s extremely common for people on diets to eat too little. You will lose weight to start, but your body is smarter than you. Way smarter. It will start thinking, “this crazy kid is simply not eating enough to survive, I’m going to drop

his/her metabolism, so he/she doesn’t burn as much during the day and can survive off this ridiculously small amount he/she is eating”. Bottom line, starvation won’t work as a diet, your body will make sure you don’t burn too much and die. Cut down your calories a little, and exercise more. Also check out this post on cheat eating and how it can help you trick your metabolism.

Fast for a day

There is recent research that fasting can help to increase your metabolism. As opposed to the old mentality of eating 5 meals a day, there is evidence that fasting for short periods of time can really help to get the right hormones going and give you a lot of benefits… including weekly calorie control. Try for a 24 hour period to fast, you can start 8pm one night and eat again 8pm the next. Eat well on the other days, clean and healthy food. You shouldn’t do this more than once a week.

Eat Healthy Fats

Getting enough healthy fats in can really help to stimulate the right hormones and ensure that your metabolism doesn’t shut down when you are dieting. Without the healthy fats, your hormones levels suffer and you are at risk of adrenal fatigue. Try to add some more avocado, coconut and olive oil, nuts, eggs, lean meats and fish.

Eat more Protein

This has lots more benefits than just metabolism. Protein is a muscle builder, you need it to grow. Lean protein is even better for that, more good stuff for fewer calories. Your body takes a bit more work to burn this stuff too, which is called the thermogenic effect. So, if you don’t get enough protein in, start eating.

Eat more Fiber

Same principle as above. Fiber is harder for your body to process, and you will get a small increase in metabolism through this effect. It’s also wonderful for your digestive system and keeps you regular. The best kind of fiber? Fruit and vegetables. Eat a lot of them.

Weight Train

Weight training is the ultimate exercise for firing up your metabolism. The more intense your exercise and the more muscles you get involved, the better metabolism increase you will get. Weight training is intense, you are pushing heavy weights around, and you will get a good post workout increase in metabolism and burn for much longer. Get on it.

Build Muscles

The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism will be. Simple.

Work Your Legs

Leg Weights are important for overall muscle balance, and do need to be done for many reasons other than speeding up your metabolism. However, it’s just another added benefit. Legs are often neglected; it’s the biceps that are overworked. Your legs have a big muscle mass, if you work this mass, you will burn more energy, and thus, increase your metabolism post workout. If you don’t care about how muscly your legs are, at least chuck a few leg exercises in there to get your body working harder during your weights session.

Do more Higher Intensity Cardio

Getting on the treadmill for 30 mins at a slow pace is OK. But there are better options. Doing some intense work will burn more calories, and leave you with a better post work out metabolism boost than a long slow cardio session. A 10 minute bike interval session would be much more beneficial than a slow 30 minutes session. It’s the post workout boost that is the key, as with weight training, the more intense you work, the longer and stronger your increase will be and the more you will burn whilst you aren’t even active. Check out this article from t-nation on which type exercise is best for energy burning and increasing your metabolism.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is bad for your metabolism. It acts against it and will slow it down. Avoid drinking it too regularly and you will increase metabolism easily.

Increase Incidental Physical Activity

This is an important one. Being active will automatically give you a short term boost to your metabolism. Adding some extra things into the day that you hardly realize can add up. For example, make your bed in the morning, park your car a little further away than normal, take the stairs occasionally, get up from your desk frequently if possible. Just by simply being more active during the day, which is called incidental activity, you will get an increase in your metabolism.

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  1. says

    As far as I know at least the 5 meals per day rule is incorrect.

    You should eat 3 times a day and nothing in between. That means no snacks either, no lemonade, but tea, coffee (without sugar) or water .

    Your blood sugar level rises with each meal which effects the Insulin level in your body too. And Insulin is the hormone that controls the storage of fat in your cells…

  2. says


    I think that you are wrong about the meals. By eating 5-6 times a day you increase the energy your body needs to digest that food. Thereby burning more calories throughout the entire day.

    Granted the meals are not 5-6 big meals, but the food is spread out throughout the entire day.

  3. Danny says

    Sorry Balu, but eating often throughout the day is much better than only 3 times. Your example at the end with the blood sugar rising is exactly the reason to eat more times throughout the day. When you only eat three meals you end up making your blood sugar level rise right after you eat and fall in between meals, much more drastically than if you eat often throughout the day. When you have a large spike in your blood sugar levels (eating 3 large meals) is when too much insulin can be produced to over compensate. So by eating often throughout the day, you are regulating your blood sugar level (leveling it out) which will keep you insulin at a good level all day.

  4. asdf says

    ya just look at all that crap that people eat every day, fastfood really sucks … eat fresh fruits and vegetables!! wanna do something with your diet? then increase its quality!

    if you want to lose weight then exercise,
    however people are thinking too much instead of doing something … and it can be so easy to stay in a good shape … i do situps and pushups every day … not long maybe about 5-10 minutes all together

    it’s also a good exercise for your will … sure it will be hard at the beginning, but you will be powerful very soon


  5. Lauren says

    @ Jake
    Good Point, Incidental Physical Activity

    @ Chris
    Thanks for the compliment. Cereal and Juice are OK, but there are much better things you can eat. A big breakfast is a good start. Whatever you eat in the morning, you have a lot more chance to burn off during the day, and you should take advantage of that fact. Your body has been starving all night, get out of that mode and give it some energy. You are much more glucose tolerant in the morning, but the best thing to eat is still something that has a low Glycemic Index, and plenty of protein. This will ensure you feel full for longer. A bowl of porridge with some berries and yogurt or protein powder is what you will find most of the body builders eat. Although not everyone needs such a strict diet, that is a perfect example of a well balanced breakfast. Some low GI carbs, protein and other great health protecting stuff you need from the berries! Cereal and Juice are OK, I’d prefer people eat than over nothing, but there are better choices.

    @ Balu
    Check the answers that follow yours!

    @ Mark
    Appreciate the kind words

    @ Tom/ Peter/ Danny/ asdf
    Nice points guys, basically answered that one for me! When you eat regularly throughout the day you are regulating your blood sugar. This means you wont get such big insulin spikes, and you wont feel fatigued/ tired during the day, and will store your energy more efficiently.

  6. Mat says

    Bottom line, starvation won’t work as a diet, your body will make sure you don’t burn too much and die. Cut down your calories a little, and exercise more.

    Surely here you mean “increase your calories a little”? The argument of the paragraph is that starving yourself doesn’t work, to suggest a further cut in calories doesn’t make sense to me…

  7. Lauren says

    Hi Mat,

    No I meant what I said. But it is meant to read….if you want to lose weight, rather than starve yourself, just cut down your calories a little and exercise more. I haven’t written it the best way there.


  8. says

    Is it best to eat breakfast before or after a morning cardio session? Will probably start with 10 to 15 minute intense sessions each morning on the treadmill.

  9. ChiefCrash says

    as strange as it sounds, this is a great tip: every time you’re driving, and you come to a stop sign or red light, do some butt clenches. Just try to clench your butt cheeks as tight as you can, hold it for about half a second, and then release. Do this as many times as you can while you’re stopped. You’ll burn some extra calories, and you build some muscle too.

    another variation: while driving somewhere, pick a sign/pole/parked car/etc off in the distance. Clench your cheeks as tightly as you can until you reach the object, then release. lather, rinse, repeat…

  10. sean says

    I’m not at all surprised to see no references cited in this article. No studies or pointers to major medical journals. The reason I’m not surprised is that references are usually attached to facts and this article doesn’t contain any of those.

    These are all just new wives-tales that fitness nuts tell each other over and over again until they believe it. Let’s see some real research-backed advice we can act on, please. And not fads that one doctor is behind or a whole industry of new-age eastern spirituality muscle magazine bulldroppings.

  11. Macak says

    Honestly, I get too busy to work out every day at the gym, but a month ago I started doing squats when I was waiting for dinner to cook or the microwave to ding, lunges down the hall instead of walking at home, got some two pound weights and a free used indoor bike and do bicep curls while biking and watching tv, and I make sure to stretch.

    Even though I haven’t changed my diet as much as I should and I still need to do more cardio, I have definitely gained a lot of muscle tone, even if I haven’t really lost weight. I’m pretty average and only have about 10 pounds to being fit, but this has been a great way to build muscle when I’m strapped for time. And I can finally do 50 squats in a row!

    Add that kind of workout to intensive cardio at least 3 times a week and reasonable meals and it’s a sure combo for losing weight.

  12. Lauren says

    This is a tough one. Without knowing you or your goals it is hard for me to say, but here are the scenarios. I am an athlete, my goals are performance based. Anyone who has performance based goals i.e increase time, get better speed etc etc will definitely want to eat before a workout. The fact is, if you eat something, you will find that you have a lot more energy to work from, and as a consequence you will perform a much more efficient workout. In fact, if you were partaking in a longer session, I would think that by eating, and having energy to have a better workout, you would actually burn more fat/calories in the long term.

    On the opposite side of the fence, many bodybuilders don’t eat before they do a light cardio session in the morning. The theory is if you are fasted all night, you have no glucose left in your body to take energy from, and therefore will burn more fat. This is a very fine tuned process for them, and we are talking about going from 12% body fat to 8% here. My advice to you would be evaluate your goals, and play around with a few ideas. If you have eaten, you will have a much better workout in my opinion. But body builders aren’t after a good workout, they are after maximum fat loss.

    @ Chief Crash
    Well, any incidental exercise is good!

    @ Sean
    Fair point on the references, I didn’t think it was necessary to quote everything I wrote on my blog though. These facts aren’t groundbreaking, which is why I have gotten some bad feedback on other sites. I am not saying anything new, these all do actually increase your metabolism.

    @ Macak
    Good Job! It sounds like you are well on your way to changing your lifestyle and habits. Not too many people will do exercise at those times when they cant get to the gym.

  13. freyes says

    Lauren, just what is porridge??? Are you talking oatmeal or cream of wheat. Is the instant kind better? or worse than the long cooking variety. I eat a boal of oatmeal, with nuts and cranberries in the morning. I bike 10 – 15 miles (about 1/2 uphill) every other day, trying to best my time, each time. I also try to eat protein as much as possible, and stay away from my nemisis the cookie. I eat the sugarfree jello chocolate puddings at night. I went from 217 March 23, 2007 down to 168, Jan 08. At first, I only walked as I had a bad knee. As I got fitter, I got a trail bike. I try to find a bike route that pushes my cardio and heart rate up, Hills are great. I’m now maintaining my girth, although my weight has increased (muscle mass). What are the best kinds of protein to eat?

  14. Lauren says

    @ Freyes

    Porridge is oatmeal. Both kinds are fine, but the longer cooking one has a lower GI, which means it will release it’s energy slower and you will feel full for a little longer. Your breakfast and your lifestyle sounds great. Congratulations on the chance, its hard to do.

    The best kind of protein…well natural sources in your diet are great. However some natural proteins are better than others, when you are talking about gaining mass and muscle. It all depends on the amino acids they contain, the correct ratio and amount means that they are much more easily absorbed and are more efficient in aiding muscle synthesis. The best kinds of natural sources in this regard are animal sources. Such as, Chicken, Turkey, Eggs, Lean Red Meats, Low Fat Dairy.

    You can also find protein in many plant sources, such as nuts and legumes. These aren’t as complete in their amino acid profile. From a health perspective, these are great and definitely do need to be included into your diet. From a muscle building perspective, your post workout meal is more efficient with animal proteins as they have a better amino acid content and will be used by the muscle better.

    If you are talking about a supplement, the best kind is whey protein. Simply because it is absorbed the easiest and the fastest. With supplements, you want to try to take them straight after a workout.

    I hope that helps, feel free to contact me if you need any more information.

  15. Elver says

  16. says

    exercising in the vertical position also boost your metabolism, I stumbled upon this equipment in the internet called stretch and press portable gym. This allows you to bench press forced body weight in the vertical position anywhere, home, work, school which I use it a couple times a day and lost 13 pounds in less then 6 weeks.

  17. S.Magesh says

    I have No website.
    My comment is ..most of these comments decided to fill the stomach as frequent as possible..and may god bless all them.We all being natural products we all have to obey rules or laws of nature.Violation of anything,even a small mistake of eating non stop..saying bloodsugar and all,will have to be answered properly to mother law of nature.
    Nature has made this human body and this has two main is assimilation and the other is elimination.
    All health problems (except congenital diseases and injuries like by way accident),you name any with any technical word..all due to we all give priority to assimilation only.and elimination process is imperfect.In Tamil language ,said The Great Valluvar ” Eat only after all earlier foods excreted ,fully,and that after too after getting clear appetite..only then next food to be sent in side the stomach.”this is the main law.Also there is no bloodsugar drop if not eaten time to time non stop and etc..we sleep for 8 to 12 hours straight and feel finely energised and drained after 12 hours gap,appetite is different but weak feeling is different.This(excretion is not a simple thing like dumping and it has its own qualities to consider as right and full excretion) involves In Greater part MIND also.Purity of thoughts and all.So all our health problems are linked to pure food habits, and purity of mind.
    Also as per law of nature anyfood after sunset is poison,they will continue to get lot of diseases,doctors keep on inventing names for that disease and also medicine..all due violation of law of nature.Many laws on food and living can be observed even from any animal,a co product of nature.So all you may please also start paying some attention to search what are all the laws of nature and how we are all living and where all started ,instead of arguing finely and ending with more diseases,its better finding way to live truly healthily.I have nothing against anyof you.Just thought to inform you the truth of life.Thanks to all of you for this opportunity to bring out this.which i had collected and experienced with in me and living so.
    With kind regards and wishes to you all. S.Magesh Chennai

  18. says

    Wow, it’s very interesting to read all of the comments of those who are doubting the fact that by eating 5-6 smaller meals a day that you actually do lose weight. I understand the point about the article not containing references, however this is how bodybuilders eat….it’s even on the side of one of my containers of protein powder.

    I follow the 6-week body makeover (a lifestyle, not a diet) and it was created by a body builder, Michael Thurmond. I eat 5-6 meals each day of whole foods (not processed, dead food but live, whole foods), drink at least 100oz. of clean water, and do cardio & strength training. Like Lauren wrote, those smaller, spaced out meals (I eat every 2.5 – 3 hours) get your metabolism roaring and keep your insulin levels even.

    Yep, this is the way to lose weight healthily, besides the fact that you end up with tons of energy and feel awesome….at least that’s my experience. 😉

  19. Jørgen says

    I would like to address the issue of meal frequency.

    The argument that having a high meal frequency increases your metabolism is that every time you eat your body must ‘fire up its engine’, which burns extra calories, and therefore you should eat often.

    In all probability this is not how the body works. Indeed any organism that would ‘waste’ energy this way would not survive in the long run – that’s argument by evolution.

    Two articles that verify this are

    Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.
    “We conclude that any effects of meal pattern on the regulation of body weight are likely to be mediated through effects on the food intake side of the energy balance equation.”


    Impact of the daily meal pattern on energy balance; Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition, Volume 48, Number 3, October 2004 , pp. 114-118(5)
    “In addition, no difference in total daily energy expenditure has been documented as a function of daily meal number.”

    That a high meal frequency can assist in weight loss is a different matter. It is probably good for controlling appetite.

  20. says

    what a well written post.


    it is kind of a pain in the arse to do all the above…but SO WORTH IT and youve made it all look so doable with how you laid it out.


  21. says

    I would argue that putting so many eating things on the list would serve the wrong purpose.

    In this country, eating too much is by far the most important issue to address.

  22. Lauren says

    Fair enough, but big problems when people diet are
    1. They don’t eat frequently enough so they binge
    2. They simply don’t eat enough and lose fat and muscle…then when they go back off their diet, put on just fat, have the same weight and then a higher fat percentage
    3. Don’t eat enough protein when dieting to preserve muscle mass.

    You want to diet, you gotta do it the right way, yes you need to not eat as much, but you have to eat enough.

  23. says

    definately important to eat 5-6 times a day. That way you wont eat one huge meal beacuse you wont be that hungry. when you get hungry, eat just a little. slow it down, because most people overeat because they eat too fast.

  24. Norwayftw says

    Response to “Balu” “As far as I know at least the 5 meals per day rule is incorrect. ”
    5-6 meals per day is GREAT for you body. As long as you dont eat junk food, keep it healthy. I eat 6 times per day. Breakfast – Snack – Lunch -Snack- Dinner – Evening snack.
    And I keep it under 2200 kcal per day. And I workout as often as I can, mostly every day. I use creatine, which enables me to train my all my muscles every day without needing the 24 hour pause in between.

  25. says

    You need to focus on what you are eating, not how often. The most important thing is to eat enough fat, a lot of diets tend to forget the great importance of fat. You won’t get the metabolism going without it. Cereal and Juice is not enough, you have to add healthy fat into the picture. Great article and comments by the way, good reading!

  26. says

    It’s amazing the thinks that people do to unintentionally sabotage their fat burning goals… when it comes to working out they spend way too much time on cardio and are afraid of fitness strength training even though this is where the big results come from! Also most of the women I train “forget” to eat breakfast and no matter how much I tell them to eat more frequently they are blocked by the traditional 2-3 meal plan

  27. says

    Metabolism is something everyone trying to burn fat should raise. Keep increasing by workout-out and eventually you can get to the stage that you can get away with eating many thing that are not considered healthy. Swimmer Micheal Phelps is a typical example with his 12000 Calorie Diet!

  28. Mark says

    i’m 5’3″ and 203 lbs. Today is the first day of the “Healthier ME”.

    I’ll let you know my progress throughout.

    Thank You Lauren, great site.

  29. says

    Although you’ve probably heard this a million times, not skipping meals is one of the best weight loss secrets. However, sometimes busy schedules make it difficult to have the suggested 6 small meals a day. If you don’t feel like you will be able to have 6 small meals, a great alternative to this is to have 3 small meals, and 3 healthy snacks. If your body knows that you will be able to have a snack a few hours after every meal, you won’t feel the need to overeat. After just a few weeks of this, you will notice that your meal times will actually be more enjoyable and you will see a difference in the way your clothes fit.

  30. Emily says

    I work in a Cardiac Rehab facility that doubles as a Wellness Center. Here, I am constantly receiving the most recent findings about what’s good for metabolism and what’s not. So, I try those findings on myself, first. Then, if they work, I relay them to my cardiac patients and to my fitness participants.
    Eating 3 meals and 3 snacks (that’s “6 meals” if you want to call it that) is the best thing that has happened to some of our participants…that and starting a strength training program. Muscle is a hot knife on butter when it comes to fat.
    I recently had a program for our employees given by an R.D. and her advice was to eat at least every 3 hours. After, approximately, 4 hours your body goes into a “starvation” mode, thinking it isn’t going to receive any nourishment. When it does that, it won’t burn calories, scared that if it burns too many, it will starve to death.
    In response to the comment about the laws of life, I don’t think that mother nature would like to see its beings die…if someone is morbidly obese, or even a little overweight, he/she should have ever peace of mind to fix that the way he/she feels is appropriate, AS LONG AS IT’S IN A HEALTHY FASHION.
    Also, as a hint, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to inform your brain that it’s full. So, when you start to feel full, know that your stomach has known it has been full for quite some time and you’ve been stuffing it ever since. Learning to use appropriate portion sizes is crucial because of this.

  31. says

    I believe that exercise is essential because our body gets calories from our body strip
    There are many people who get tired of exercise and try to do it and stop
    but the exercise must be maintained is beneficial to health and it takes a good effort to do

  32. Leeysa says

    Hey there

    I totally agree that eating sensibly 5-6 times a day really does increase your metabolism and helps you to lose weight! 5 years ago, I weighed in at 20 stone exactly. I never ate breakfast, used to eat very little during the day and then had a whopping great meal when I got back from work in the evening. My metabolism was so slow, that whenever I tried “starvation type” diets, I barely lost anything and always ended up reverting back to my old habits, believing that I simply could not lose weight. However, as a last-ditch attempt, I decided to try eating more regularly, including breakfast everyday, making my food choices healthy ones and having a day off once a week, so that I had something good to look forward to. Within 1 year, I had lost over 10 stone and had reached my goal weight! Proof that this really does work. As long as you’re honest with yourself about how many calories you are consuming and keep it sensible, instead of trying to starve yourself, you really will lose those pounds, without having to denying yourself that odd takeaway. I now feel like I eat so much more than I ever did back then, whilst maintaining a nice size 10-12 figure! Eating regularly and healthily has to be the rule, rather than the exeption and….hey presto!

  33. says

    I agree about weight training – something I have avoided for a long time, thinking it will make me bulk. But in fact it has made it easier to lose weight even though I am eating slightly more

  34. says

    Increasing your metabolism is the true key to loosing weight. Most people have so metabolism due to the way they are eating. All metabolisms are not the same, one must find the right combination’s of foods to help boost their metabolisms.

  35. says

    Could I please have assistance on how to get better foods for eating? I am just baffled by how many foods are bad for you that I didn’t think really was- like yogurt, or granola bars for example. Could I be linked to something that has a legitimate diet plan with actual examples of things to buy that are easily obtained?


  36. says

    Short bursts of exercise will help boost it, 5 minutes skipping or running up and down your stairs is a sure way to kick start it.

    Always eat breakfast, this kick starts your metabolism and try to eat healthy snacks like fruit and nuts throughout the day because this will keep your blood sugars high, this will keep your metabolism running.

    Chili and green tea help boost metabolism as does exercise in the mornings.

    Eating protein increases muscle mass which boosts it.

  37. says

    A great thread and some rather contrasting ideas about metabolic rate and how to speed it up. In my personal opinion, it simply comes down to lifestyle. If you’re a couch potato that eats poorly the your body is going to operate in a sedantry manner. If you live an active lifestyle, with the right combination of foods eaten, your body will respond positively. Afterall, a well tuned and cared for engine always performs better.

  38. says

    Many people are “fat but fit” as they like to call themselves. That’s because they lead very active lifestyles through sports, “adventure travel,” physically demanding hobbies, and the like. BUT they never seem to lose as much weight as they would like (and hate to admit). The tips you have just shared in this article have revealed several solutions that are worthwhile to explore. Maintaining an increased level of metabolism just might be the key. I’ve found several other websites outlining similar advice, but yours is very detailed. Thank you.

  39. says

    Hi! I’ve been following your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!


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