Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on January 12, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Metabolism is the chemical process in your body that turns the food you consume into the energy needed to run the functions that keep you alive. The number of calories your body burns for fuel largely determines your metabolic rate—and some people are known to have a faster metabolism compared to others (meaning their bodies tend to burn more calories in a given time frame). So you may be wondering whether you have a fast metabolism—and if there are any signs that could clue you into this possibility.
Here we’ll dive deeper into the possible signs of a fast metabolism, plus provide answers to other questions people commonly have about “fast metabolism”—so continue reading.
Check your levels of three key hormones that affect metabolism and weight (cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH) with the easy-to-use, at-home Metabolism Test. Note that this test does not give you a measurement of your metabolic rate.
Your metabolism, and your basal metabolic rate (sometimes referred to as just metabolic rate), is significantly influenced by genetics. That being said, a faster metabolism may be promoted over time by consistently building lean muscle mass and being cognizant of one’s caloric intake.
Several factors affect your metabolic rate, including:
Factors that may contribute to a temporarily faster metabolism include:
Wondering how to tell if you have a fast metabolism? While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact signs of a fast metabolism, there are possible indicators that may suggest your metabolism works at a faster rate.
Fast metabolism symptoms or signs of high metabolism may include:
It’s important to note that these symptoms are very often caused by other factors or serious health issues that don’t have to do with one’s metabolic rate—so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any of the above.
Experiencing changes in your weight or energy levels and aren’t sure why? The Everlywell at-home Metabolism Test lets you check 3 key hormones commonly associated with metabolism and weight to help narrow down possible causes and determine whether a hormone imbalance may be affecting your metabolism. Note that this test does not give you a measurement of your metabolic rate.
Having a high basal and resting metabolic rate means that your body naturally burns more calories in a state of rest than someone with a lower metabolic rate. This means that the faster your metabolism is, the more calories your body needs.
While having a fast metabolic rate is not necessarily good or bad in terms of health, making sure you take in enough calories to sustain yourself and nourish your body is important—while also striving not to take in too many calories, which can lead to an energy imbalance.
There is no clear answer for how long it takes to speed up your metabolism if you don’t have a higher metabolic rate genetically. Everybody is different and lifestyle, eating habits, and other factors play a role in how your metabolic rate may change over time.
That being said, here are a few, simple lifestyle changes that may help speed up metabolism over time:
Don’t skip breakfast: Skipping meals has been proven to slow down your metabolism and what you eat at breakfast can set the tone for your energy levels for the rest of your day. Skip the starch or sugar and start your day with some protein, like with a protein shake, some eggs, or nut butter.
Think twice before cutting calories or going on a crash diet: When you cut out too many calories from your diet, your metabolism can go into a state of shock and put a halt on fat-burning in an effort to conserve energy. Instead of eating less and skipping meals, try to incorporate more high-protein, nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet—such as avocados, whole-fat yogurt, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and beans.
Get enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on certain sleep and stress hormones in your body, which can affect your metabolism. Aim to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of adequate sleep every night, for the sake of your metabolism and your overall health. If you struggle with getting to bed at an ideal hour, start small by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each week and slowly work your way up to the perfect amount of rest each night.
Learn your levels of 3 key hormones (cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH) that affect metabolism and weight with the Everlywell at-home Metabolism Test. This at-home lab test lets you easily collect your sample from the comfort of your home, send it to a CLIA-certified lab for testing using the prepaid mailer provided in the kit, and get digital results in just a few days. The test can help indicate if a hormone imbalance may be interfering with your weight gain or weight loss goals. Note that this test does not give you a measurement of your metabolic rate.
Wondering how to speed up metabolism? Here’s what to know
1. Ruggiero C, Ferrucci L. The endeavor of high maintenance homeostasis: resting metabolic rate and the legacy of longevity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006;61(5):466-471.
2. Cool Temperature Alters Human Fat and Metabolism. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed January 12, 2020.
3. Ruggiero C, Ferrucci L. The endeavor of high maintenance homeostasis: resting metabolic rate and the legacy of longevity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006;61(5):466-471.
4. Ruggiero C, Ferrucci L. The endeavor of high maintenance homeostasis: resting metabolic rate and the legacy of longevity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006;61(5):466-471.
5. Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:270832.