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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!!

    • 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

  • 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.