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What is metabolism and how to speed up?

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What is metabolism?

“It is a combination of biochemical processes, resulting in what you eat is converted into useful energy or fuel, – says Dr. Jules Griffin, metabolism and nutrition specialist from the University of Cambridge. – Metabolism is responsible for all chemical processes that are constantly taking place in the body and that require energy. Thanks to him, you breathe; digest food, and your organs and nervous system functioning normally. ” In short, the metabolism – it’s what makes you live.

Metabolic processes continuously occur in all cells. The pancreas secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, thus regulating the work of the bodies. A thyroid gland regulates metabolism by producing the hormone thyroxine.

How it is related to my weight?

“If you do not burn all the calories that you consume, your body stores them as fat – explains nutritionist Michael Harvey. – This is an evolutionary survival mechanism that provides us with a source of backup power in the event, if the food is suddenly over. “Nothing new: the more you eat and the less move, the more excess weight. But hormones, which are usually to blame for all sins, mostly to do with it. “Metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism are relatively rare, and among the symptoms in addition to the extra kilos – constant fatigue, irregular cycle, constipation and pain,” – said the therapist Pixie McKenna.


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Three types of metabolism

Metabolism can be divided into three levels. First – this is the basic metabolism and basal metabolism. It is measured in calories and shows the minimum amount of energy that your body needs at rest, when you do not stir a finger. This usually 40-70% of your daily energy needs.

The next type – active metabolism. This is 10-30% of the daily energy needs. It depends on how much you’re moving – exercise, walk and even a fuss.

Finally, the third type – due to nutritional thermogenesis. Simply put, it’s the number of calories the body spends on digesting food. This is 8-15% of the overall level of metabolism.

All considered

Although hung up on counting calories is not necessary, experts advice to have a general idea about these numbers. “Know your basic metabolism useful: so you will understand what is the minimum number of calories you need every day,” – explains Dr. McKenna. It can calculate on the Harris-Benedict equation: 655 + (9,5 × weight in kg) + (1,9 × height in cm) – (4,7 × age). Falls below the resulting figures cannot, even if you really, really want to lose weight, or body decides that it is famine and starts to store calories with redoubled diligence. As a result, you gain more than dropped as soon as you finish the diet.

Who is faster?

Some people Basal Metabolic Rate is higher than the other, for several reasons. This means that they will spend “fuel” in a state of rest burn more calories. “And contrary to popular belief in obese people metabolic rate higher than that of lean, – says Dr. Griffin. – The more weight, the more energy the body needs. “

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How to improve metabolism?

Try interval training

Metabolism depends on your activity. During leisure, it slows down when you move – accelerates. The higher the load, the better, but it all depends on your physical form: someone and walking briskly would be enough. The main thing – is regularly increase the intensity of your workouts. And further. The metabolism does not slow down immediately after class: the body for several hours continues to burn calories even when you are sitting at your desk. This is called an additional oxygen consumption. Follow the 10-minute interval training twice a day, and will burn calories twice as long as after one hour lesson.”

Sleep more

Sleep normalize basic metabolism. According to the study, whose results were published in the “International Journal of Endocrinology”, participants who slept just 4 hours for six nights in a row, the level of consumption of calories from sugar fell by 40%: in other words, there have been major changes in metabolic function.

Turn down the temperature of the battery

“Reducing the temperature activates the brown ‘good’ fat.” Unlike white fat, in which the body stores excess calories, brown fat to maintain body temperature – and he does it by burning calories,” – explains Dr. Harper. Low air temperature does not relieve you of excess weight if you eat everything in sight. But if you stick to a healthy diet, the coolness may accelerate the metabolism and include more brown fat.

Avoid sugar and saturated fats

“The best diet for a healthy metabolism – a balanced diet, – says Dr. Griffin. – It is important to correlate the energy consumption. Simply put, do not eat more calories than you can burn. Or burn more than eaten. “Do not let your body get used to store calories from simple carbohydrates and saturated fats (in other words, reduce the consumption of foods high in both), or it may become its “default setting”, and to lose weight will be much more difficult.


Any fat weight training converted in lean mass, and thus improve metabolism. The slimmer and stronger than your body right now, the higher the chance that the metabolism slows down with age. Gym with weights or dumbbells, circular workout, the TRX, medbol – fit all that makes the muscles stronger.

Truth and myths about the means to help (or not) to speed up metabolism.

Hard diet

A diet with a minimum of calories can slow down your metabolism because the body begins to break down muscle to get the energy you do not give him food. This is called “starvation mode”.

Nutritional supplements

They often contain ingredients like chilies, which spur thermogenesis. But their number is not sufficient to lead to a marked improvement of health.

Coconut oil

It contains medium chain triglycerides – fatty acids, which increase metabolic rate. According to some studies, coconut oil helps lose weight. According to others, it is too rich in calories.

Cold water

To warm the water to body temperature, the body really spends a certain amount of energy – unfortunately, not enough to even talk about some benefits.

Spicy food

Capsaicin (a substance found in chili peppers) slightly increases the metabolic rate. But that hardly affect your weight, if you have nothing else to change in lifestyle.


Caffeine seriously accelerates the metabolism for up to 3 hours. Therefore, athletes take it before the race in order to improve endurance. Avoid sugary drinks with caffeine – they are too high in calories.

Green tea

Studies show that 2-3 cups of green tea helps burn extra 80 calories. All thanks catechines – flavonoids, which are also good for the heart.


Digestion of food – part of the metabolic process. The more effort you have to put the body to digest the product, the more calories it consumes. Protein requires more energy than carbohydrates and fats.

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