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Why Do Some People Have a Fast Metabolism

If you are one of those lucky people who have a fast metabolism, you are both loved and loathed. A fast metabolism usually means that weight loss and/or maintaining your weight is easier than for most people.

Even though there are ways to speed up your metabolism through diet and exercise, it is certainly a lot easier for those whose metabolisms are not working against them. So why do some people have a fast metabolism?

What is Metabolism?

Before explaining why some people have a faster metabolism than others, you first need to understand the role of metabolism in our bodies.

Metabolism has two parts—a catabolic reaction and an anabolic reaction. The catabolic reaction breaks down your food so it can be easily digested and the nutrients can go where they are supposed to in your body. The anabolic reaction occurs when these smaller, broken down pieces are used to build new tissue and take care of your body.

Basal metabolic rate is referred to how fast your body breaks down your food. It is this rate that determines how fast or slow your overall metabolism is and, ultimately, how your body weight is affected. A fast metabolism is considered over the one hundred degree limit.

Symptoms of a Fast Metabolism

If you are having trouble gaining weight or muscle, that is usually the first sign that you may have a fast metabolism. This may sound good to some, but for people who are underweight, this can lead to some serious health issues.

In an attempt to gain weight, it can result in overeating fattening foods which can lead to other problems. Many people who are trying to gain weight will tend to eat all types of food that are not necessarily good for them

What Causes Fast Metabolism?

Genetics certainly plays a part in your body’s metabolism like it or not. There are three different body types—mesomorphs (those with athletic builds), endomorphs (those with bigger bodies) and ectomorphs (those with very thin builds).

Ectomorphs have a distinct build that make them the most likely candidates to have a fast metabolism. They are often thin with small shoulders, very little muscle mass and a delicate frame. Ectomorphs have a very difficult time gaining weight and putting on muscle due to their overly fast metabolism.

Aside from DNA, there are other causes for a fast metabolism. An overactive thyroid gland, known as hyperthyroidism, is one cause. Nervousness, fatigue, a rapid heart rate and weight loss are usual signs of hyperthyroidism. A doctor can have your thyroid tested if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your thyroid is the cause of your speedy metabolism.

Another reason someone may have a fast metabolism is if they smoke. This is just another reason not to pick up this habit ever in your life. In addition to all the other illnesses it can bring on, messing up your metabolism is another issue to add to the growing list.

If you are under stress, that too can affect your metabolism and speed it up. Both smoking and stress usually go hand in hand so finding a better way to deal with stress and quitting smoking is at least one cause that you can eliminate through a lifestyle change.

Disadvantages of a Fast Metabolism

For those who struggle with their weight and have tried just about everything to control it and keep it in check, having a fast metabolism sounds like a dream come true. But ask someone whose metabolizes food at the speed of light and they will tell you it is not as fun as it sounds. There are disadvantages to having a fast metabolism.

People who are overly thin tend to get accused for not eating enough or trying to starve themselves to look the way they do. For women, this is especially difficult to deal with as no woman wants to be looked at as someone with an eating disorder. Women with fast metabolisms may also experience difficulty with menstruation as their cycles can become irregular.

Another disadvantage of a fast metabolism is that building muscle is going to be much more difficult. Because your body is burning off your food so quickly, there is nothing to fuel muscle growth. The food is pretty much gone before it ever has a chance to be stored and that means losing important nutrients that assist in muscle growth.

Can You Slow a Fast Metabolism?

You can slow down a fast metabolism just like you can speed up a slow one. Diet is the most important factor when trying to slow things down. There are foods that metabolize slowly like sugars and processed and fried foods. But those are not the healthiest options.

Sure, if you have a fast metabolism you can indulge in these foods with little risk of weight gain, but ideally, you want to stick with healthier fats, proteins and carbohydrates to provide your body with some much needed weight.

Getting plenty of sleep also has metabolism-slowing effects as it helps to store the fat in your body. When it comes to exercise, avoid anything too strenuous as you will just burn off what you worked so hard to put on.

According to Judd Handler, a weight management consultant based in California, “If you’re used to doing 45 or 60 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill, try reducing to 20 minutes and instead, add a challenging weight-training routine that limits the amount of repetitions to 10-12 per set.”

If you suspect that you have a fast metabolism, you can either accept it as having something that is the envy of most people or you can check with your doctor to make sure that there are no underlying causes that need to be fixed.

While advocating a lifestyle of fatty foods and decreased exercise goes against most expert advice, people with a fast metabolism fall into a category all onto themselves.

You want to make sure that when you do eat foods to gain weight, they are still the healthier variety like whole wheat pasta and brown rice as opposed to the “white” foods. Being underweight can lead to health issues down the road so eating an extra serving of linguini now may save you from a more serious issue later.

To your success,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

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COMMENTS

  • http://SA Anna Malatjie

    Hi

    I would love to know how to speed up my metabolism as I keep gaining weight whether I eat or not. Even when I exercise. I used to be very thin before having my son and I never had a weight issue. I just dnt know what changed and what should I do inorder for me to reverse that

    Thank you

  • Bob

    I have a high metabolism. I sleep and 8 hours a day including a 2 hour nap (so 10 hour every day) and it doesn’t slow my metabolism down at all

    • http://www.ttfatloss.com cbathletics

      Great, thank you.

  • IBS

    It is quite interesting article, however something important is missing entirely to fully explain this problem. I am one of those who are suffering from this problem. Maybe you forgot to mentioned something about Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) those who it will never gain weight like me!!

    • Skinny Like Hell

      Is this IBS a serious disease?

    • jenner118

      My friend has IBS however the thing that triggered it most was his diet. He’d consume tons of junk food and drinks so i think its got something to do with a diet, cant really say much as i don’t know alot but i hope this helps

    • Reyna P.

      Not true, my aunt (mid-30s) has IBS and she’s fat.

  • ben-jammin’

    The idea that an overweight person burns less calories than a skinny person doing the EXACT SAME exercise or daily activities is silly. This article hit the nail on the head when they so briefly talked about DNA, but more specifically, your genetics. Unfortunately you can’t change your genes yet, so they can’t make money off of it. Shame on companies taking advantage of people that don’t know about biology.

  • Mathew Parker

    I have a very fast metabolism, so much so even on high calorie diets, my body speeds up further, then shall I skip a meal it’s almost painful. On the plus side, I’ve learned to manage it, regular eating and exercises and I’ve build a nice body. I would say the last is bitter sweat, drinking, I can drink 5units in an hour and an hour later, my body has burned the alcohol and I am fine. Good for party’s, bad for my pocket, to get drunk I have to constantly drink every 15 min. A full unit. Ah we’ll

  • Sophia

    My metabolism is eye-wateringly fast. I could be feeling bloated then about two minutes later I don’t feel full at all.

  • GuestPotto

    I don’t know if I have a fast, I was born normal weight but I got really skinny when I was around 6 and now when I’m 14 I’ve started to put on weight (after all the years of sitting still watching TV and eating candy and crap) is it my metabolism that’s slowing down or is it puberty that’s making me gain weight (I’ve read that you put on weight so muscles can grow better) and I started training my muscles 2 years ago because I was tired of being weak and well it worked I’m a lot stronger now (it took me 1,5 years to even get close to my friends and they’re still ALOT stronger than me) (Height: 1,60 weight: 37-39 and I’m 14)

  • rach

    I think I have a mediumly fast metabolism because I put on weight but im always hungry also I suffer from a contraction like pain when I need to go
    the toilet and get contipaited is this a problem

  • ibs

    it is just basically were you have a sensitive stomachs EG. so u get constipated a loT, If u feel u have ibs can it be due to having a fast metabolism

  • Skinny kid

    I think I have a High metabolism. My parents jat bring food home for anyone to eat and I can eat food whenever I want when I’m at home. I usually eat junk food. Ik, Ik, it’s bad to eat junk food, but I don’t gain weight. When I went to the doctor some time ago, I only gained 10 pounds in 1 year. It’s not that much and I’m only 15. I don’t think high metabolism is bad, I think it is good, then you won’t get fat. Speaking of fat, my parents are on the fat side, but my siblings and I are all skinny, so I think genetics have little to do with it.

    • Jesus

      Or…perhaps your parents were skinny earlier in their life, just as you are now, but with age your metabolism naturally slows down; hence the genetics. You might want to consider changing your eating habits a wee bit..

  • Liz

    I know I have a high metabolism and I have tried everything known to man or should I say doctors and friends/family. Nothing has helped me gain the weight and keep it. I have tried a weight gainer from GNC and nothing but I have lost 5lbs that I couldn’t afford to loose. Help would be nice, I hate being over 30lbs under weight and looking like death warmed over.

    • BeatHiMeta

      Hi Liz! I am 28 year old male. Struggled with a high metabolism my entire life. Could NEVER gain weight. What you described in your comment is exactly how I felt for about 24 years of my life. Not any more. There is a super and easy to understand way to beat this problem. Email me and we can talk about it. ( I’m on an iPad and typing is way to slow for me to write it here)

      • Skinny mini

        Hi BeatHiMeta,
        I wonder would you mind sharing how to beat hi-meta, I struggle with high metabolism most of my life also, Im 31 & would really appreciate some advice..

        Skinny mini

  • Beth

    I am so glad i found this since iv always wondered what is going on with my body , I know its not healthy but i eat junk food everyday mostly fries and i am around 6 stone my friends always ask me why I’m i not ‘larger’ since my diet isn’t the best and i simply don’t know! Also i have no muscle i can’t even open a bottle of water lol , I’m so week but now i know whats going on , thanks.

  • Kari

    i think i have medium-fast metabolism, i never eat vegetables and hate healthy food i eat fast food and pizza all the time ive basically weighed same weight since i was 12 except when i became a vegetarian i lost 25 lbs. ive always generally weighted 120-130 and am pretty tall but im not ectomorphs body type, i have more natural build to my body like mesomorph.

  • Lisbeth

    I’m so glad i found this website!!! This helped me so much! This explains everything I need to know about my body. I’ve had fast-metabolism since I was a child. I eat an abundance of food each day, but nothing seems to work since it burns it right off the bat. I learned that i need to eat foods that have alot of nutrients and protein (6-7 small meals a day) and exercise each day for 20 mins to gain some muscle. I used to generally weigh about 110-120 and tall, but now my weight is average! Thank You Craig Ballantyne for giving us this advice! Helped me so much! I can’t thank you enough.. :)

    • ttcert

      Thanks Lisbeth!

  • Andrew Powell

    Okay. So, i’m a 16 year old male. I think i have a fast metabolism because i can eat any amount of food and any type of food and i never get fat. But, i still have a decent muscle growth. I’m only 5’6″ but i am strong for my size and have more muscle for people my size. I eat very unhealthy. I usually get a good amount of sleep. Does anybody really know what i’d be catagorized in? I love to not have to worry about how much i eat and yet, i still look healthy. (Doesn’t sound so great but it definitely feels great) Anything will help. Thank you, in advance.

  • i love water

    if your over 18yrs of age and weigh 120-130 you defiantly have a ectomorphs body type.

  • EctomorphBry

    I can really relate to this be cause even though i havent checked up with the doctor i know that i have a fast metabolism and i can completely relate to this subject because first of all i am an ectomorph , i have quite a thin body , and what i’ve just read has just answered my question to why is it that its so very hard for me to gain muscle , yes , it might seem that having a fast metabolism is a dream come true, it’s sometimes not, its not very fun because for me when i’m eating , and because i have a fast metabolism, i’m not finished eating yet my body has already digested the food and ready to be pooped out, so the feeling of that everytime is not good, yeah you can eat so many pizza ang not get fat but it doesnt stay in you stomach for more than 5 min , so you cant feel that satisfaction of being full when everthing you eat you poop out 5-20min later , so guys, be happy you dont have what we got :)

  • Kalen Krause

    The average weight for a grown man is 130-160, Americans are just overweight so we bump the standards to 160-190. I’m 21 years old 5’11 and 125 pounds. I am classified as “underweight” but even still my body doesn’t look deprived of food. I can eat twice as much as most of my “average weight” friends and not gain an ounce. Although most people will tell us not to do a lot of cardio because it doesn’t build the desired muscle, I say do what your body is designed for. Bulky people are better at lifting weights, thin people are great distance/speed runners. The important thing is to stay fit and stay healthy and forget what other people think. Remember that people are attracted to all different shapes and sizes so don’t let your stature discourage you.

  • JC

    The description you gave made you sound like a more toned ectomorph or someone whose in between an ectomorph and a mesomorph. Slim but still muscular. But if you’re tall, 120-130 lbs sounds a little light? I’m 18, 5’11”,145-148 lbs, and have a pretty fast metabolism. I’m pretty slim but have an athletic build, mostly from sports and lifting weights. So I guess you could say I’m in between ectomorph and mesomorph. I peak at about 150-155 lbs when I’m lifting and eating good everyday, but when I’m not as active I fall between 145-148 lbs.

  • Yo

    I have fast metabolism, and in school people are like “gosh, your so thin! And tall! And u have curves! Let’s switch bodies” sometimes it annoying but also flattering and Yada yada yada

  • Isaiah

    I have a fast metabolism & all my life people always tell me your so skinny you need to eat more meat blah blah blah & if you know me then you know that I eat a lot plus my dad is a pro body builder which makes me look even more pathetic I try hard to gain weight but it barely works this sucks but its nice to know that some other people are going through what im going through

  • Bisi

    I’m glad I stumbled on this, I know I have a high metabolism. I’m 27 and still struggles between 102 & 105 pounds and I am trying to gain at least 10pounds in 6months. I’m so desperate about this and need immediate help!

  • cesar

    6’2, 122 pounds. I cant gain weight threw exercise or eating and it kinda sucks

  • starlightshimmers

    I have a fast metabolism. I often eat a combination of vegetables, fish, meat, fruits, rice and bread. I also drink tea and milk often, I avoid carbonated drinks (i.e. soda) and I only drink alcohol occasionally. Its all about a balanced diet, don’t eat too much fats or else you’ll get high cholesterol without gaining any weight. I am underweight but having a balanced diet works for me. I don’t mind being thin.

  • James

    I have had a lightning fast metabolism my entire life. The most I have ever weighed was 155 lbs, this was during middle school in my football years, I was always the smallest guy on the field but no one was faster. You say that muscle mass is harder to gain which I disagree with, the important thing is to eat high protein foods mixed eith carbs during recovery from strenuous activity. My bmi is still roughly 122 at the age of 26, it appears as though I am gaining muscle mass as I age..perhaps to a slowing metabolism, but my weight remains the same. I am 5’7 and barely in the 130 lb range, any I gave up on gaining weight in my early twenties and just let my body do what it was naturally made to do, if you have a fast metabolism like mine stop worrying, let people think what they want, you can call us skinny and weaklings all you want. At the end of the day the fa t remains the weight I do have is natural lean muscle mass, I viewed myself as skinny and weak for too long…until the day I was physically threatened by a much larger man yet I left the situation with no bodily harm…to myself that is..he was a different story. This is mostly for all the other guys out there like me…yes we are physically smaller but we possess much greater potential ot generating explosive power when needed. We are just as much of a man and fan protect our family as well if not better than the guy standing next to you who with the protruding belly..and we never really had to work hard at building such a body… we we’re lucky enough to have a body willing to do it for us. Bruce Lee prooved time and time again power comes from efficient lean mass as easily as it does from a greater less lean mass. Remind those who reticule you they are only jealous because you have what they have worked so hard to generalt and you never broke. I can tell you as most of my peers lose strength with age i continue to gain it..so stop worrying about what others think about your lean body and enjoy it…though it will last longer than most it WILL NOT last forever.a sweat.

  • James

    Oh..and if you want to put on a fast few pounds…eat a lot of peanut butter on whole wheat…no jelly…just enough PB to stick your mouth closed lol…it works.

  • WEL

    I was looking for some info on this because I always had a fast metabolism but in the last week I’m not sure if I have lost it now that I’m nearing to my 30’s but I have gained a ton of weight all of a sudden and it’s kind of alarming. For the first time in my life I’m getting fat!

  • EASIB

    Thank you. Im always being accused of eating little when I know im eating the most in the household. I like ur thinking James

  • SA

    I’m 19, female, 158cm and 42kg. I’m so depressed when everyone says, “oh you’re so skinny” “oh you should be lucky becoz you’re skinny” “why are so skinny?” “Have you ate often?” I’m so stress with all of these comments. I do eat a lot and try to gain my weight. The last time when I gained weight was 6 years ago. I don’t want to do. I want to gain weight but in the healthier ways. I need help. Please help me.

  • Mihai

    i make gym for 3 years and i manage to get 84 kg. This summer i made 1 month break and i got 77 kg.. 7 kg in 1 month after 3 years of training.. now i strugle to get 80 kg… i hate my fast metabolism…

  • nickname

    smoking doesn’t make you thin. have you ever seen a fat person that smoked? yea, i have too. and i was told that by a doctor. if you replace food with smoke, then you can loose weight.

  • farru

    I train really hard to gain muscle, and if i stop going to the gym for 1 month for school reasons, all that hard training go away really quick :(

  • Indy

    I’m 35 and weighing 132, most people say they admire my size because I eat like a pig lol and I don’t gain weight.I’d eat every half hour if u ask me and still no weight gain.I’ve tried every thing in the books to put on a little weight and to my avail, I’ve already come to the conclusion that I have a fast metabolism so I give up on the weight gain but after reading some of u guys comment, I realized I’m not alone on this.

  • Christina

    I’m 14 5’5 and I weigh 100 lb. feel really self conscious about my weight because my friends tell me I have to eat more because I’m underweight even though tbh I eat more than they do. It makes me feel like something’s wrong with me because even though I eat that much I don’t really gain weight

    • mariah

      omg I wish I had your weight. I’m 15 5’3 and weigh 120:/ I have a belly pudge at the bottom and can’t wear anything tight

    • Jess

      I’m the same weight and height. I eat heaps and gain nothing. Like whatsoever. People always say they envy me but I hate being so skinny. I can’t eat anymore than I do. Nothing is wrong with you.

      You’re beautiful.

    • Jessenia

      Christina don’t worry for what they say, ur tall u could be a model. I’m 12 and 5 foot and I weigh 100 I’d probably not be able to be a model even though I wish I could.

  • Steven

    Im 22 6’3″..160/180 I do shift work , month of nights and days thats why the two different weights …in shcool Iwas 5’11” 115lbs not the biggest kid but one of the fastest ..playing sports in hight school didn’t help to much…I would eat more than most.. if not I would get hunger pains ..i still do Doc told me to eat more hight protein foods to stop the pain it worked-ish…i have been told to do less cairdo less does not mean no cardio and more free weights ….dumbells and such….seemed to work for awhile but not much …..its good to know there are more people like me out there…..but does anyone else get hunger pains after about 5hr without eating. .??

  • Shadow Rebirth

    i’m age 15 and weighed 101 pounds(46 kg). yeah, people call me skeleton. i usually take that as compliment though :D.

  • TheChosenSix1 .

    im 16 and I am 45kg people call me lean and skeleton. And those who have seen themselves they know that i can eat thrice as much as normal person but i still remain very thin and im an underweight as im 6ft and 45kg. what should i do?

  • Flashback13

    I used to be in the same boat as you guys and to this day i still am struggling with gaining weight. I am 21 and from jan 7 to now i have put on 23 lbs of muscle. I have a body fat percentage of 6.4 and weigh 164 lbs. That being said by me gaining weight i have also lost about an inch or two around my waist just because i gained muscle and burned off the fat. Literally every morning i wake up i lose at least 2 lbs while i sleep. My doctor said that i am in great shape but the most difficult thing for me to do is eat as much as i do. I am not on any diets or anything like that though. I just eat healthy and train a lot. I eat over 5000 calories a day just to stay at the weight i am now because my body has a extremely fast metabolism. If you want to not just gain weight but feel better about how you look, have a very healthy diet and workout at least 4 times a week. It helped me gain weight and i have never looked better or felt better. It’ll be hard but trust me when i say its worth every it. Don’t give up!

  • Aejhaey Chester Cisnero

    Im 24 6’4 height i think im so thin..no need to ask for my weight dont know what to do.. any suggestions.. -_- thank you..

  • dale

    I’m 34 and 6’4″ and still have a high metabolism. I eat healthy for the most part, but occasionally I’ll eat whole pies or pizzas and I really don’t gain much weight. People I work with wonder where I put all the food I eat, and even I get surprised at how hungry I can be just a few hours after eating a meal that would satisfy the hunger of 2 or 3 people.

  • will289

    Im 5f10 and just turned 30, I weigh 73 kilos but if I have a big weekend I can lose 4 kilos easy, I eat a stupin amount of food, drink alot of beer not so much lately but back 1 month ago had a lot of inbetween meals like kfc and maccas, I love it, except especially when I was younger I was really small and ppl just assume you dont eat, another bad point is always feeling hungry(so try and eat a couple of bannas during the day as they are low gi)and going to the toilet 2/3 times aday, and how easy it falls back off after all that hard work. yous can all put on weight it just takes abit longer and your diet is very crucial, Always carry around food with you at work like tins of tuna, protein bars, bannas, a cpuple of hard boiled eggs, nuts, beef jerkyor little tins of baked beans,that aleays gets me through till lunchI i put it on the easiest when I hit the gym hard and feed your muscles propaly, heaps of protein and alot of pasta and rice as our bodys need it alot more than others, and dont get disheartened.
    But as I have been getting told by heaps of ppl I know that are older and jealous, “wait till ya get to 30 You will start looking like me….. ha ha suckers
    I would much rather start training at gym thin and put on weight, than starting at the gym trying to lose weight