When I use the word metabolism, I’m referring to how your body converts the calories you derive from food and beverages into energy. An efficient metabolism means your body converts more calories into energy rather than storing those calories as fat.
To keep your metabolism revved up, you want to be metabolically flexible. This means being both a sugar burner and a fat burner, based on your body’s needs. In other words, your body needs to be flexible enough to utilize both types of fuel.
Learn more about metabolic flexibility in this blog.
Metabolic flexibility also requires paying attention to what sabotages your metabolism. If you’ve been yo-yo dieting or doing low-calorie diets for years, you're fast-crashing your metabolism.
“From a weight standpoint, reduced metabolism is a double curse,” says Jason Fung, MD, in The Complete Guide to Fasting. “First, we feel lousy while dieting. Even worse, because we’re burning fewer calories per day, it’s both harder to lose weight and much easier to gain weight back after we’ve lost it.”
Whether you’ve struggled with weight-loss resistance or want that extra edge to reach your fat-loss goals, I’ve found some tried-and-true ways to avoid those obstacles and keep your metabolism turbocharged.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #1: Eat More Protein
When it comes to boosting your metabolism, protein is queen.
The thermic effect of food determines how much energy it takes for your body to metabolize that food. Eating high-thermic foods help boost your metabolism, keep you full longer, and help you burn more calories.1
Guess what macronutrient is tops for thermic effect? Clean, lean protein. Compared with carbs or fat, protein kicks your metabolism into high gear, so you burn fat and build muscle.
- Read why you’re probably not getting enough protein and how to fix it here.
- Learn a dozen sources of clean, lean protein, including recipes for each of them.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #2: Eat By the Plate
Eating optimal amounts of protein is key to turbocharging your metabolism, but other nutrients matter, too. Fiber is one of them. Among its benefits, eating fiber-packed plant foods help steady blood-sugar levels and lower insulin levels.
Healthy fats can also give you a metabolic boost. That’s because a simmering, silent kind of inflammation called chronic inflammation can slow down your metabolism and make weight loss extremely challenging. The omega-3 fatty acids in wild-caught fish and plant foods like flax and chia seeds can help manage inflammation levels.2
When you eat by the plate, you’re getting the magic trifecta of protein, fiber, and healthy fat at every meal to provide a triple-metabolic boost.
- Learn how to eat by the plate in this blog.
- Extra Fiber combines fiber derived from fruits, vegetables, roots, seeds, and tree extracts…including a prebiotic that supports the growth of friendly bacteria.* Altogether, it contains 12 types of fiber to create the ULTIMATE fiber product.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #3: Incorporate a Simple Overnight Fast
Intermittent fasting is a great way to support a healthy metabolism, stay metabolically flexible, and keep your metabolic engine revved up.
A simple overnight fast can lower insulin levels, which helps your body utilize fat as fuel. Regular fasting can also help lower inflammation, support hormone balance, and heal your gut. The result is a big metabolic win!
You don’t need to go crazy with fasting, either. A 12- to 14-hour overnight fast prepares your body to burn fat the next morning.
- Determine what kind of intermittent fasting is right for you (along with seven amazing benefits) here.
- Listen to my quick-start guide to intermittent fasting.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #4: Break Your Fast With a Loaded Smoothie
The best way to break your fast is with a loaded smoothie, which packs that same magic trifecta of protein, healthy fat, and fiber into a convenient, grab-and-go meal replacement.
I recommend working out fasted first thing in the morning (with a cup of black coffee, if you’d like), followed by a loaded smoothie. But there’s no need to limit loaded smoothies to the morning. You can enjoy one any time you need a convenient meal replacement.
- Order our protein-packed All-In-One Shakes here.
- Get over 60 yummy, filling, fat-burning recipes (for free) in my Loaded Smoothie Guide.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #5: Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to rev up your system and feel your best. One study found that drinking just eight ounces of water could boost your metabolism 30%!3
- Use this handy widget to calculate how much water you need daily.
- Green tea is another way to keep calm and boost your metabolism. This Peach & Mint Iced Green Tea recipe is a satisfying way to stay hydrated.
- Get support reaching optimal hydration with ElectroReplenish, which helps regulate fluid balance and promotes energy production, too. Plus, it comes in a delicious lemon-orange flavor. Get yours here.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #6: Spice Things Up
Your spice cabinet could hold the key to kicking your metabolism into high gear. Two of my favorites are cinnamon and cayenne.
Cinnamon improves your digestion, helps with your blood-sugar levels, and jumpstarts your metabolism. Cinnamon makes a great alternative to salt on your roasted veggies.
Cayenne pepper is another great way to spice up your metabolism. A compound called capsaicin in cayenne helps increase your ability to burn fat and calories by stimulating body heat.
Capsaicin is also found in chili peppers, so they’ll give your metabolism a bump, too. The hotter the pepper, the bigger the metabolic wallop. What’s more, capsaicin suppresses your appetite and helps cut cravings.
- Get cinnamon and cayenne pepper in this tasty Tandoori Chicken recipe here.
- This cinnamon-roasted pecans recipe is a delicious way to spice things up!
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #7: Add This Metabolic-Boosting Superfood
The medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil are fantastic at helping your body burn more fat and build muscle.
Your body metabolizes MCT differently than other fats, allowing it to use these fatty acids as fuel rather than stored as fat. Studies show that MCTs are thermogenic, meaning that they help you burn more calories.4
- Our Co Co Crave Fiber Bars combine tender, sweet coconut with rich chocolate. Every bar packs the metabolism-boosting power of coconut with seven grams of fiber and only three net carbs.*
- Metabolism-boosting coconut ice cream? Yes, please! Get the recipe here.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #8: Build Muscle
“When people say, I want to boost my metabolism, I'm like, Do weight training, just weight training alone will do it,” I told a guest recently on Ask the Health Expert.
Muscle supports a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform critical things like digesting food, pumping blood, and breathing. Your BMR accounts for a whopping 60–70% of metabolic energy use.
People who are physically fit tend to have higher BMRs. In other words, they can burn more calories at rest. Beyond boosting BMR, muscle helps balance blood sugar, build strength and stamina, boost your confidence, support your joints, and control body fat.
- Learn how to build muscle after 50 here.
- Want to lose weight? Focus on building muscle. This article explains why.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #9: Swap ‘em Out
Upgrading your favorite foods and beverages—what I call lateral shifts—is a great way to enjoy your go-tos without guilt while boosting your metabolism.
Here’s a simple swap to boost your metabolism: trade starchy carbs like white rice and potatoes for high-fiber leafy and cruciferous greens. Once you get the hang of it, nearly any food or beverage can be a metabolic-boosting swap!
- Learn how to swap gluten with some simple, delicious substitutes here.
- Looking for more fiber in your diet? Check out this article for the Top 15 High-Fiber Foods.
Boost Your Metabolism Hack #10: Dial Up Your Sleep
A solid eight or nine hours of sleep each night is crucial to maintaining a healthy metabolism. Late nights and early mornings are the fastest way to hit the brakes on your metabolism and hold on to fat.
- If you have trouble falling or staying asleep (it happens to us all), Sleep Candy™ is my go-to formula that helps you get deep, restorative sleep… every single night.*
- My Best Rest Sleep Cheat Sheet contains my top strategies to fall and stay asleep every night. Get yours here.
Final Thoughts: Don't Forget to Address Food Intolerance
On The Virgin Diet, you swap seven foods that are hurting you for metabolism-boosting and healing foods. Doing this lets your body recover from the inflammation, gut damage, and other factors that crash your metabolism and make your body hold on to weight.
Swapping these damaging foods with inflammation-cooling and metabolism-revving alternatives is the beginning of using food to turbocharge your metabolism, help your body heal, and finally claim your goal weight. Learn more and get your copy here.
The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004 Aug 18;1(1):5. doi: 10.1186/1743–7075–1–5. PMID: 15507147; PMCID: PMC524030.
- Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Oct 15;45(5):1105-1115. doi: 10.1042/BST20160474. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 28900017.
- Vij VA, Joshi AS. Effect of ‘water induced thermogenesis' on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Sep;7(9):1894-6. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2013/5862.3344. Epub 2013 Sep 10. PMID: 24179891; PMCID: PMC3809630.
- Hill JO, Peters JC, Yang D, Sharp T, Kaler M, Abumrad NN, Greene HL. Thermogenesis in humans during overfeeding with medium-chain triglycerides. Metabolism. 1989 Jul;38(7):641-8. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(89)90101-7. PMID: 2739575.