How To Get a Fast Metabolism, According to Experts

Updated: Mar. 21, 2024

Nutrition, fitness and medical experts offer scientifically-backed and expert-endorsed strategies to potentially enhance your metabolic rate.

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Boosting metabolism is a hot topic in health and fitness, often cited as a crucial factor in managing weight and enhancing physical well-being. This term refers to the complex procedure our bodies undergo to transform food and drinks into usable energy. It’s a detailed and complex process involving a series of biochemical reactions, where calories are combined with oxygen to fuel our daily activities, from moving to thinking to growing.

Each person’s metabolic rate, the speed at which this conversion occurs, is as distinctive as a fingerprint, influenced by age, gender, muscle mass, activity levels, and yes—even our genetics. This rate is critical because it dictates the number of calories needed for our bodies to carry out essential functions.

Given its significant impact on our health, it’s understandable why wanting a fast metabolism is a subject of much interest and discussion. To separate fact from fiction, we consulted experts in nutrition, fitness, and medicine. Their insights offer scientifically-backed and expert-endorsed strategies to potentially enhance your metabolic rate.

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How to get a fast metabolism

1. Strength training

Katie Bressack, INHC, AADP, a holistic nutritionist and a well-versed expert in hormonal health, emphasizes the significant role of muscle building in enhancing your metabolism. “Building muscle is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism,” she points out, explaining how strength training leads to more muscle mass, which burns more calories even when you’re inactive.

Latoya Julce, RN, BSN, a seasoned nurse and fitness expert, concurs with this approach. She advocates for weight training as an essential method for anyone keen on boosting their metabolic rate. Bressack further recommends including heavier weights and interval training in your workouts. This targets both your upper and lower body and optimizes your metabolic benefits.

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2. The power of protein

Regarding dietary choices, protein takes center stage in boosting metabolism, notes Bressack: “Include protein at every meal and snack. When eating enough protein combined with weight training, this can help with metabolism.” This is due to the higher thermic effect of protein, meaning your body expends more energy digesting protein than it does breaking down fats or carbs. Choosing whole food sources of protein, such as nuts, eggs, and meat, over processed options like protein bars and protein drinks with added sugars is key to maintaining a steady and efficient metabolic rate.

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3. Reduce stress to get a fast metabolism

Marcio Griebeler, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, offers a different perspective on metabolism in a 2019 Health Essentials blog. Rather than just focusing on boosting metabolism, he suggests changing your body’s “weight set point” (the weight your body naturally gravitates towards and tries to maintain). Dr. Griebeler explains, “Your body is fighting to keep your weight as is. But over time, you can change that weight set point.” A critical strategy in doing so is reducing stress.

Dr. Griebeler notes the challenges of weight loss when stressed: “I almost never see people losing weight if they are stressed.” This is due to changes in cortisol levels, a stress hormone that makes shedding pounds more difficult. Moreover, stress often leads us to overeat or overdrink as a coping mechanism. To counter this, he advises adopting stress-reducing activities that don’t involve food or drink, such as practicing deep breathing or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.

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4. Get enough sleep

Dr. Griebeler also highlights the importance of sleep in weight management. Too little sleep can increase cortisol levels, prompting your body to conserve energy and store fat, the preferred fuel source during energy-deficit periods. Lack of sleep also impairs your brain’s decision-making abilities, potentially leading to poor dietary choices. He recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to keep these temptations at bay and support a healthier weight.

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5. Hydration

Staying hydrated is not just about quenching thirst—it’s also linked to a more active metabolism. According to Elizabeth Huggins, RD, a nutrition expert with Hilton Head Health, drinking water may boost your body’s metabolism and energy expenditure, aiding in weight management. This was illustrated in a 2013 study where 50 overweight females drank about two cups of water 30 minutes before each meal without altering their diets. The result? They experienced weight loss, decreases in body mass index, and body composition improvements.

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6. Try laughter yoga to get a fast metabolism

To end on a fun note, recent research published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Geriatrics in 2022 reveals the surprising benefits of laughter, especially for older adults. The study focused on a 12-week laughter intervention program, primarily consisting of laughter yoga, and found notable improvements in physical and psychological functions among older Japanese individuals with metabolic syndrome risk factors. Participants experienced reductions in body weight and BMI, alongside enhancements in subjective well-being and stress levels.