Metabolism takes place at a certain pace and is influenced by many factors, thus losing weight and gaining muscle mass are rather time-consuming processes. For that reason, a lot of athletes are concerned with the possibility of accelerating metabolism.
The Main Myth
There is a myth that fast metabolic rate always leads to a lean and skinny physique, while a slow one leads to putting on excess weight. The reality, however, is a bit more complicated.
In fact, with an excess of calories, an accelerated metabolism will only lead to faster mass gain. Think of the people who eat fast food most of their time. Their metabolism is 3-4 times faster than that of an ordinary person, but at the same time, they receive a constant influx of calories in their diet. They practically do not spend excess energy, and it leads to excess weight or even obesity.
Athletes with twenty years of experience may be the flip side of the coin. The best definition of muscles is usually achieved at the age of 40-50 years. But at the same time, the metabolism of these athletes is several times slower than that of young ones. It is due to a slowdown in metabolic processes in the body, associated with age-related reasons. So, the rate of protein breakdown and accumulation of excess fat in them slows down proportionally, allowing better control over the gain of lean mass and its retention.
Therefore, it is important to observe not only the rate of metabolism but also its balance. If you accelerate your metabolism with cupcakes and coke, it won’t lead you to anything good.
Factors Affecting Metabolic Rate
Metabolism is a complex chain of sequential reactions that are regulated by hundreds of different components. However, the basis of regulation consists of:
- the coordinated activity of the nervous and endocrine systems, which underlies the complete control of metabolism (the hypothalamus, pituitary, and endocrine glands);
- the amount of energy coming from nutrients;
- type of nutrients (rate of their breakdown in the digestive system);
- frequency of meals;
- the presence of additional energy expenses.
- a healthy sleep;
- the presence of a sufficient amount of regulatory secretions, hormones, vitamins, and minerals.
Of all these, eating frequency, sleep, and additional expenses are the most vital. It is on these factors that the acceleration of metabolism is based.
For example, both in athletes (even before the start of the competition or any physical activity) and ordinary people (before performing various types of activities), an acceleration of metabolism is recorded, oxygen consumption increases, as well as carbon dioxide emission.
Before accelerating metabolism, it’s necessary to understand the main principle of its functioning. It’s all very simple – the body has a normal biorhythm, with genetically predetermined metabolism and its rate. No matter the situation, it will strive to be as close as possible to its natural state. It will compensate for any severe deviations by supercompensation, which means that if you steadily accelerate metabolism, at a particular point moment, the body will automatically slow it down, or even shut it down completely. This entire phenomenon is called metabolic adaptation.
In particular, if you constantly slow down the metabolism, then the body will try to accelerate it as soon as it can:
- it will require more food;
- it won’t let you fall asleep until a specific time;
- it will create a positive emotional background.
Excessive acceleration is stress as well, and the body will also try to stabilize its functioning, which may lead to the following effects:
- a sharp decline in mood;
- constant drowsiness;
- decreased appetite;
- deterioration of the skin, hair, nails;
- decreased vitality;
- the risk of developing diseases of the digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine systems.
If you take the body out of balance for too long, you can get a metabolic disorder.
In such a situation, the body ceases to resist changes in the metabolic rate and begins to increase it.
If the metabolism is accelerated already, then it will accelerate even more. If you are fasting for a long time, then the body may go for a stable slowdown and deposition of adipose tissue.
A metabolic disorder usually occurs with a way too swift a change in diet and physical activity, or with their improper balancing. For Instance, in the case when the quantity of incoming nutrients is not balanced, and metabolism can’t adapt to new conditions.
The rest of the essence of metabolic adaptation is one simple fact: after losing weight, you are going to put it on again and vice versa.
How To Improve Metabolism
If you want to accelerate the metabolism for weight loss at home, then for starters, you can try to balance it, which, in fact, means to improve it. To achieve it, it is not necessary to pursue some sophisticated diets. Just try using the following guidelines:
- try to reduce the amount of fast carbs and reconsider your diet in general;
- eat more often than one time a day (the optimal number of meals is five to six);
- normalize the amount of sleep (sleep at least as much as 8 hours + 1-2 hours of a daytime nap);
- increase the amount of protein in your diet.
Protein can help to accelerate and improve metabolism because protein molecules are transportation means for fats, which helps to digest fatty foods.
Also, an abundance of protein will allow you to run all the body functions, which will increase energy consumption per day.
Finally, an abundance of water and fiber can help you in improving metabolism. Eat salads and drink a lot of water along with those. Fiber will allow you to bind excess nutrients and safely remove them without disrupting the rate of metabolism.
How To Speed Up Metabolic Rate
Now we are approaching the most important thing, which is the direct acceleration of metabolism.
While following the further principles, try to switch to the indicated diet, exercise, sleep, etc. modes smoothly, since, in this case, you reduce the risk of disruption, and you can better control your body, which ultimately allows you to achieve goals.
Why would an ordinary person even need to accelerate metabolism in the first place? There are only three reasons for which this practice is justified:
- urgent weight loss. Usually, when accelerating metabolism, you can release the excess energy from the body, which will lead to more rapid weight loss.
- weight gain. It is essential for the so-called hard gainers who cannot gain muscle mass as quickly as they would like. The acceleration of metabolism will increase the synthesis of protein fibers from the resulting amino acids, which will consequently increase the athlete’s lean muscle mass.
- Constant weakness. Sometimes, slow metabolism is not manifested in excess weight, but a lack of energy. People are used to taking caffeine for extra energy, but this can also be done by accelerating metabolism.
Physical Activities To Accelerate Metabolism
The most effective way to accelerate your metabolism is to affect the process directly. It is done by enhancing the processes of additional oxidation in the heart. To do this, you need to increase the rate of its contractions (i.e., heart rate or cardiac rate). The faster the heart is beating, the more intensively the body works.
We are talking about heavy compound exercises, which are necessary for one simple reason – strength training is a powerful stimulant leading to improved metabolism.
- The load exhausts all the glycogen in the body. As a result, it seeks to make up for it (via nutrition or adipose tissue);
- it leads to a significant release of insulin after training, which «opens up» the tissues;
- after closing the metabolic window, a powerful inflammatory process begins;
- muscles begin to recover after receiving microtraumas;
- the previous effect creates a profound anabolic background;
- when trying to overcome inflammation and create a fertile ground for supercompensation, the body accelerates all processes to return to normal as soon as possible;
- the increased production of the male hormone testosterone takes place. This hormone improves well-being psychically and makes a person more energetic;
- the result of all that is increased calorie expenditure, and the acceleration of all processes in the body.
As you can see, strength training one hour three times a week accelerates metabolism, and this effect stays for weeks.
Aerobic exercise deserves special mention. During this type of training, the heart rate makes fat deposits open up without insulin, which allows for a short time to accelerate metabolism without major catabolic effects. In fact, in this case, the heart is directly fed from adipose cells.
One can’t eat food closer than 40 minutes before aerobic exercise. Otherwise, insulin, which seals new energy in the fat depot, will not allow energy to be pulled out of it.
You can also accelerate the metabolism in the body through nutrition. The easiest way is to change your diet. If you’re not used to counting calories or sticking to a particular diet, try just to follow certain recommendations:
- split all the food you consume per day into more separate meals;
- try to eat more natural foods;
- use complex carbs more.
It will be enough to accelerate metabolic processes. The more often you eat, the faster your metabolism becomes.
Try not to exceed the number of seven meals a day, as this can lead to disruption of the pancreas.
Very often, people who are striving for weight loss begin to limit themselves in nutrition severely. Sometimes diets involve critical malnutrition in the form of a deficit of 70% of calories, and everything that is left is washed down with water or chamomile tea. In the short term, such tactics will help to get rid of a couple of excess kilos, but in the long run, metabolic adaptation will occur in the form of a significant slowdown.
Therefore, it is not recommended to practice fasting. If you want to lose weight faster, use protein and carbohydrate alteration or trick your metabolism in some other way.
The main thing is, even with a calorie deficit, not to feel hunger. The stomach should constantly be at work.
Lettuce and protein products (which are broken down for a long time but at the same time equal in energy value to carbs) can help with this.
An increased amount of liquid can help accelerate metabolism several times.
The bottom line is that any incoming fluid has an intermediate state in our body.
It becomes part of the blood. Excessive liquid intake will allow dispersing blood throughout the body, which, in turn, leads to an acceleration of metabolism. Removing excess liquid from the body stimulates the entire excretory system.
With increased liquid intake, be extremely careful – try not to consume more than four liters of free liquid and monitor the salt and mineral balance. In the case of depletion of minerals in the blood, the body will enter the protective phase and begin to slow down the metabolism instead of accelerating it.
Another method that is used to accelerate metabolism is artificial stimulators.
- energy drinks;
- fat burners;
- adrenaline and noradrenaline substitutes;
Let us consider in more detail the effects of each of them:
- Energy drinks are a means of starting lipolysis and accelerating the heart at the same time. Besides, they contain a vast amount of antioxidants, which leads to the oxidation of fatty tissues. The result is a small release of insulin (thanks to sugar), adrenaline (associated with hypoxia due to the presence of carbon dioxide in drinks), and acceleration of the heart. All this allows to speed up the metabolism for a short period (up to four hours);
- fat burners – in fact, they are equivalent to energy drinks, but with a shift to the oxidation of fatty acids. Energy enters the body not by stimulating the heart, but by creating a positive balance of glucose in the blood. As a result, when using fat burners for a positive effect, it is necessary to increase physical activity (thereby stimulating the expenditure of calories);
- adrenaline and noradrenaline – are the body’s natural optimizers in case of stress. The body gets into an extremely stressful situation, as it launches all systems by 110%, which leads to a temporary acceleration of metabolism. In this case, acceleration leads to complete exhaustion, and as a result, after such acceleration, there will be a pronounced slowdown;
- nicotine. Indeed, cigarettes help to lose weight. But for those who prefer a healthy lifestyle – nicotine can be replaced with vitamin B6 (niacin, nicotinic acid). What happens to the body in this case? Acid stimulates the release of gastric juice, which is perceived by the body as yet another meal. As a result, insulin opens up cells, and the sensation of hunger decreases. Energy comes from adipose tissue.
Metabolic Rate And Sleep
How else can metabolism be improved? One way is to normalize sleep. In this regard, our body may be compared to a computer that periodically needs a reboot.
In particular, during wakefulness, metabolic byproducts accumulate in the brain and muscles, which interfere with the normal functioning of the body.
Also, the energy potential of food consumed is significantly reduced. All this is stressful for the body, and it seeks to optimize its resources for energy conservation. Therefore, people who do not sleep well are always sluggish, and sometimes even poorly thinking. To accelerate the metabolism, one can use two hints:
- Regardless of when you go to bed, strive to normalize the amount of sleep on a four-hour cycle. The best option is two four-hour cycles at night (which is a classic pattern of eight-hour night sleep).
- Before going to bed, consume casein protein. Casein allows you to stimulate digestion at night, performing two functions simultaneously. It increases calorie consumption at night and nourishes the muscles with essential amino acids.
Do not try to replace sleep with caffeine and other energy drinks. After a sharp acceleration of vital activity, a rollback occurs, which can last much longer, and the resulting stress will lead to a systematic and stable slowdown in metabolism. People who continuously drink coffee provided they skipped their cup of Joe, won’t be able to accelerate their metabolism to a proper rate, which will result in them not being able to enter the working mode. It will affect their performance in general.
Foods Affecting Metabolic Rate
In order to change the metabolic rate, it is not necessary to use extreme methods. To begin with, you can use products that accelerate metabolism.
|Sugar||Launches the production of insulin, opens up cells and releases energy||3-5 grams after each meal|
|Hot pepper||Launches digestive processes||As an additive to other meals|
|Green vegetables||Fiber launches the additional cycle of digestive processes, and the metabolism is accelerated due to additional meal with negative caloric content||2-3 separate meals|
|Lettuce||Fiber launches the additional cycle of digestive processes, and the metabolism is accelerated due to additional meal with negative caloric content||2-3 separate meals|
|Tomatoes||Fiber launches the additional cycle of digestive processes, and the metabolism is accelerated due to additional meal with negative caloric content||2-3 separate meals|
|Fruits||The source of fructose, a low-calorie simple carb. Together with an abundance of liquid, it accelerates metabolism||As a replacement for sweets, pastries, etc.|
|Yogurt||Fermented dairy products are a source of protein, which takes part in the digestion process. An abundance of liquid stimulates the acceleration of metabolism and cleaning of blood||1-2 times per day on an empty stomach|
|Coffee||Directly increases heart rate||Up to 250 milligrams of pure caffeine daily|
|Celery||A product with negative caloric content – tricks the body into spending additional energy to try to digest the product. This process accelerates metabolism||100 grams of celery combined with other green vegetables|
|Ginger root||A natural antioxidant. Provokes the influx of gastric juices, which is viewed by the body as an additional meal||As a mild decoction, no less than two times per day|
|Chamomile tea||Normalizes metabolism||As a mild decoction, no less than two times per day|
|Black tea||Directly increases heart rate||Up to 250 milligrams of pure caffeine daily|
|Acidic juices||Provokes the influx of gastric juices, which is viewed by the body as an additional meal||250 ml 2-3 times a day|
It is not necessary to take all of these products at once. The list is given solely for advisory purposes with an explanation of the effect of certain substances on the body. It’s up to you which ones you will use.
Nutrition Plan To Speed Up Metabolism
It is not a specific diet recommendation to accelerate the metabolism, but rather an example of such a diet.
If you are looking for a way to lose weight quickly, remember the following principles in nutrition:
- creating a caloric deficit;
- reducing the amount of simple carbs in your diet;
- increasing the number of meals;
- increasing the intake of water;
- performing physical exercise;
- taking caffeine.
An approximate nutritional plan can be carbohydrate alternation or the following pattern:
|Breakfast||One cup of strong coffee, green lettuce, three to four boiled eggs and about 200 grams of oat porridge.|
|Lunch||200-400 grams of fruits (preferably apples or cherries)|
|Dinner||A bowl of tomato soup and 250 grams of boiled meat|
|Snack||Sweet tea and fruits|
|Supper||Casein, (optionally) boiled meat|
The size of servings is calculated according to your needs and taking into account your daily caloric deficit
Let’s consider this option in more detail by points:
- The first meal accelerates the heart. Fiber and carbs stimulate the release of insulin. In addition, complex carbs are digested for a long time, which allows you not to feel hunger for a longer period of time;
- Additional insulin release. With low-calorie fruits, adipose tissue will be released from the depot, which will provide an additional charge of energy.
- A large amount of liquid with an abundance of fiber and vitamin C. It allows you to increase blood volume (which will lead to the release of excess liquid) and protein to stimulate digestive enzymes.
- Stimulation of insulin release.
- The body digests casein protein for a very long time. As a result, when you go to bed, the body will not slow down the metabolism in attempts to break down, say, low-fat cottage cheese, which will increase the consumption of night calories by 20-25%.
In case when the acceleration of metabolism is required for gaining muscle mass, increase the amount of carbs and protein according to the correct nutrition plan.
Whatever goals you set for yourself in training, remember the most crucial difference between fast, optimal, and normal metabolism:
- Fast metabolism. It is characterized by the largest amount of energy consumed and expended. It is necessary to constantly nourish the body not only with carbs but also with minerals and other micronutrients;
- Optimal metabolism. It has nothing to do with the rate. The basis of it is a balanced intake of all micro- and macronutrients, which allows the body to function at the peak of its possible effectiveness.
- Normal metabolism. It is the genetically predetermined mode of functioning. No matter how you eat, no matter how you try to accelerate or slow down the metabolism, the body will still strive to return to a state of balance, in which it will feel most comfortable. That is why people who were quickly losing weight or maintaining a developed physique, on leaving the regimen, restore their original balance.
Finally, if you maintain a particular type of metabolism for a very long time, then over time, it can find a new point of balance. So, if you go on a diet for weight loss for several years, then the body will not immediately begin to gain new kilograms after changing the diet, sleep, and training regimens. Therefore, many athletes manage to maintain part of the form after the end of their career and restore it faster when returning to the previous regime.