Eating to Increase Your Metabolism [Pt 3]

If you read Part 2 of this series you will have a solid action plan to get your metabolism back to normal levels. In the process, you may add a touch of body fat, but will be in a much stronger position to get lean for summer.

This post will outline how to keep your metabolism healthy while systematically getting in shape for summer.

By the time summer hits, the ideal situation is to be lean without destroying your body’s ability to burn calories. In other words, lean with a high metabolism.

Long-Term Low Calorie Diets Suck the Life Out of You

A lot of people can look their best after a short term aggressive diet. I’m not against short term low calorie diets. I believe they are fine for 1-3 months. The problem happens when they are extended past that point.

It is pretty easy to miss out on vital nutrients when calories are drastically cut back…and here are some of the negatives.

  • Dry skin.
  • Dry and brittle hair.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Lack of color to your skin.
  • Lack of sex drive.
  • Low testosterone.
  • Muscle loss.
  • Rebound fat gain.

 Note: The older you are, the more of these issues you will experience with long term calorie restriction.

The 6 Month Outline

Months 1-2: Follow the guidelines I outlined in Part 2.
Months 2-4: Increase activity levels to lose fat without drastically cutting back in calories.
Month 5: Cut back calories a bit and increase activity levels. Fine to go low carb and use various strategic diet strategies.
Month 6: One month of being super active and tighten up your diet further. Can go really aggressive during this time if you still have a decent amount of fat to lose.

[The absolute best scenario would be to keep the low calorie period of time as short as possible leading up to summer.]

Months 2-4

You can’t expect to eat as much as Michael Phelps training for the Olympics, but my advice is to add in more activity, instead of cutting back calories during this time.

In the first 2 months your body will increase the ability to burn calories even when you are at rest (increased metabolism). In months 2-4 we want to turn your body into a calorie burning machine.

Eat plenty of good food, limit omega 6 oils, limit sugar, and train at least 4 times per week.

Month 5

The main difference here will be to limit food consumption a bit. I know this advice sounds old school, but try and make your dinner meal a bit lighter than normal during this month.

Cut back in the carbs a bit during the week and try and workout 5 times per week, if time permits. It is fine to add in a higher calorie day, but not an all-you-can-eat type of cheat day.

Month 6

This would be the time to do a short term aggressive fat loss diet if needed. A better solution here would be to increase activity levels and just clean up the diet a little. Do your best to eat nothing but clean organic whole foods during this time.

[Pro soccer players are so active they would probably have a tough time eating enough to put a substantial amount of fat on their body.]

…but “You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet?”

Right, but this is not a bad diet. What we are doing here is almost a “metabolism detox”.

The idea is to get your body into calorie burning mode, by giving it plenty of whole foods and nutrients. Then we cut back in calories just a bit to create a calorie deficit, while eating more than what it used to take to get into a calorie deficit.

Finally…we keep the body in fat burning mode, while dropping the calories down low for the final month before summer.

Flood Your Body With Activity & Nutrients for 6 Months

The biggest causes of health issues in our society are from not getting enough exercise and lack of proper nutrition.

I honestly believe that anyone who increases their activity levels along with increasing good nutrients, will look younger and more vibrant within a few months.

What are the Best Workouts?

Obviously I’m biased when it comes to workouts for men and women, but I’m not closed-minded.

There are countless effective workout routines: CrossFit, body weight circuits, bodybuilding splits, Zumba, etc. Same with diets: Paleo, carb back-loading, vegan, raw food, etc. I am simply suggesting you use the principles laid out in this 3 part series to fit your circumstances.

[Strategic cardio routines work well any time after the first two months.]

What About Supplements?

I’m going to list supplements that I have found to make a difference. You can take all, some, or none of these and get good results.

  • Omega 3 Fish Oil – This goes to the top of the list, when it comes to repairing a damaged metabolism. Think of this as counteracting the small amount of omega 6 vegetable oils that you will inevitably wind up eating. It is hard to avoid these omega 6 oils completely.
  • Leptin Sensitivity Supplement: This supplement was created to make sure your metabolism doesn’t slow down while dieting. It makes your body more sensitive to leptin (which is our goal here). This isn’t cheap, but they do have a “buy 4 get 2 free” promo if you want to take all 6 months. If money is an issue, add this in once you reduce the calories a bit.
  • Pre-Workout Caffeine Fat Loss Combo: I like caffeine supplements that are created with natural ingredients to take right before exercising, to maximize fat release during intense training or cardio. This is something you would begin taking 60-90 days before summer. A cup of black coffee works as well, but this is a bit more effective.
  • Creatine: This is something to take 1-2 months before summer…if you want to add size to your muscles. I recommend you use this as a quick muscle boost while dieting or right after dieting (when the muscles look a little flat).

Note: Give this game plan a go, especially if you are over 30 and have a bit of flab you haven’t been able to shake.

This is also a great game plan for anybody who is “skinny fat”…more nutrients and more activity is just what the doctor ordered!

26 thoughts on “Eating to Increase Your Metabolism [Pt 3]”

  1. great to see someone confirming that you can’t expect to lose weight and look good by just reducing the calorific input – starvation just isn’t a cool look.
    I’m interested in the supplementation regime you indicate although where I live its pretty hard to get hold of a decent range of good quality supplements.
    I think its pretty important as we age to keep up with keeping muscle as part of a overall fitness regime.

  2. Great guidelines here. I like your approach to workouts and diet. I have found that people get too hung up on being strict paleo, etc. rather than finding something that works and using it within an overall plan like this.

  3. Nice series here. What you eat, as well as frequency and size of meals all makes a difference. It can be tricky. What i usually do is think about how it would of been before the coming of shops etc and out in the wild. We would of had to find the food before we ate it, so it would have been in little bits and pieces, not just eating it all at once. Grazing is what I have heard it called before.

  4. After having a baby and being on bed rest my entire pregnancy for complications, I gained nearly 80 pounds. Now that I have had time to recover from that experience, I am ready to get back in shape and regain a new sense of health and vitality. I enjoyed reading your post because I feel I have a game plan to get fit planned for the next couple of months. Thanks for the tips.

  5. The food you eat is the fuel for your body, so if you want the best result you have to eat a good diet. Carbohydrates should be of the complex type with a low glycemic index so that they release energy slowly. Around 30% protein to repair the damage of training and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

  6. There are several natural ways to increase your metabolism – exercise, eating smaller meal potions about 5 times a day as well as consuming certain foods such as avocado, almonds and coconut.

  7. It’s not only important what you eat but also how often you eat. Eating once a day, for example, is going to slow down your metabolism significantly. Eating three times a day might not be good for you either. When we eat only three meals a day we tend to eat more to compensate for the time we don’t get any food (our blood sugar works on a 2-3 hour cycle). When you eat 6-7 smaller meals a day, your metabolism increases.

  8. As an older man I found the article on long term low calorie and the “sucking-the-life” out of you reference. I may need to adjust as I am noticing too many of the signs you indicated. Thanks

  9. No cardio for two months? Omg, what is a good routine to follow? Split training or 3 days full body? So after the two months we add in cardio and then after that month we start to lower calories a bit right? So in the first two months, what is an appropriate amount of calories to eat? Thank you

  10. I eat a lot and noticed that I don’t get fat that easily. But one thing surely is my problem, even though I’m not getting fat but in one way I get belly fats.

  11. I recently have gone on a wait loss program, mainly consuming natural fruits and vegetables. It actually is amazing, but I get much less hungry when I am consuming healthy versus processed crap. Plus since there are less calories per serving, one generally needs to eat a lot more to get the caloric content — even with more calorie rich fruits like bananas (my new favorite). Makes staying at 1600 a day a lot easier.

  12. Great article as always mate!

    The only supplement I’m not 100% sure about is the leptin one, is it really worth the money?

    I always take caffeine before workouts as I always get a few more reps in and tend to not waste time with longer rest periods between sets.

  13. Wow Im really impressed with your info here, its very simple and very accurate!! I love whole foods personally and youre absolutely right you really dont need to cut back on cals much if you just focus on whole foods…

    I was wondering though how you felt about meal timing, do you think its better to eat at the same time every day or do you try and change it every day? I ave heard a lot of fitness pros say “eat at different times evry day so your metabolism doesn’t get use to it” but I have never seen this work for a client of mine or myself.

    As soon as I regulate my system I notice 5 lbs come off in the first week and all my puffiness goes away! Im curious as to what you think?

    And have you ever tried cordyceps and raw cacao before your workouts? Freakin amazing superfoods that will act as a natural anabolic and stimulant!!!!!

  14. Hey Rusty!

    I am a huge fan of your blog! I am also a fan of the idea that you should eat more to increase your metabolism! The schedule you suggest here sounds a bit difficult especially during the 5th and 6th month! If we don’t follow the last 2 months program we aren’t going to achieve any fat removal?

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  16. Rusty,

    Great series of posts! I always thought that increasing activity alone would boost metabolism, but feeding and nourishing the body appropriately to match the increase in activity is really what revs it up. Restricting calories too much while being super active will cause your body to put its guard up and not burn energy as freely. This is truly a synergistic approach.


  17. What are your suggestions of natural ways to make your body more senstive to leptin, w/o taking a (potentially dangerous) supplement?

    I already take Omega-3 flax seed oil, but other than that I really prefer to stick to natural. This stuff may work, but is there an alternative you would suggest? Already drink black tea.

    I’m a woman with the last 15 pounds to lose.

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