By: Mary Ann Marsala

Spring is just around the corner! You know what that means? Speedy fat loss endeavors!  For most, this is often attempted through overtraining, undereating and the excessive use of supplements like fat burners (thermogenic add-ons which increase the body’s metabolism through the use of stimulants, e.g. caffeine and ephedra). While thermogenic supplements can be effective (if used appropriately) they are often abused due to their heavy reliance to maintain energy, feel somewhat functional and achieve a desired look. The reality is that overuse can leave you feeling more tired as it places heavy demands on your adrenal glands; these are the endocrine glands that sit on top of your kidneys which produce hormones like cortisol (which regulates metabolism and helps the body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps the body control blood pressure).

Not only do these supplements hurt your wallet they can also hurt your health! The overuse can translate to higher cortisol output which is linked to blood sugar problems, weight gain, compromised immune function, exhaustion, high blood pressure, irregular body temperature, irritability and insomnia, decreased bone density and even heart disease!

At CrossFit Bolton we believe in food first!  Instead of taxing your health and hard earned dollars we encourage you to try a different approach by optimizing your diet, reducing stress and getting a good daily dose of movement!

Remember these Top 3 C’s to Boost your Metabolism

Cayenne Pepper:
Cayenne, the fruit of Capsicum annuum longum, is a moderately spicy fruit loaded in vitamin C! It’s got quite an extensive use as a past and present remedy and is used for digestive disturbances, asthma, fevers, sore throats and other respiratory tract infections. It’s also great for pain relief and beneficial to cardiovascular health! The heat produced by cayenne pepper comes from it’s high concentration of capsaicin. This component is responsible for cayenne’s ability to increase basal metabolic rate and stimulate the burning of fat for energy! Cayenne pepper is available as a whole (fresh or dried), crushed or ground. If you are consuming cayenne as a dried spice it’s best to choose organic whenever possible as organic herbs are less likely to be irradiated (exposing food to ionizing radiation which is said to reduce spoilage and increase shelf life). You can add cayenne to any dish as desired.

Cruciferous or ‘Brassica’ vegetables:
Not only are they low in calories, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens, are extremely high in nutrient-density! This family of vegetables contains many compounds important for liver detoxification and the suppression of tumor growth. Take broccoli for instance: there are compounds in broccoli known as glucosinolates, specifically indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which have been shown to arrest growth of both breast and prostate cancer cells. This family of vegetables is also high in B vitamins which have great effect on your metabolism speeding up your fat loss endeavors!

TIP: Cayenne pepper and lemon juice make great complements to cooked bitter greens such as collards, kale and mustard greens. Add a dash of cayenne to 2 tbsp of lemon juice and mixed into your cooked collard greens.

Coconut Oil:
Don’t let this fat fool you! Coconut oil has very powerful effects on metabolism. Coconut oil is distinct from most common fats we consume in that it’s entirely a medium chain fatty acid which is metabolized differently than longer chain fatty acids. With respect to coconut oil, a calorie is not just a calorie! When you consume coconut oil it will increase fat burning more so than the other fats that are at same caloric density. According to one study, the thermogenic effect of a high calorie diet containing 40% fat as medium-chain fatty acids was compared to one containing 40% fat as long chain fatty acids.  The end result yielded an energy expenditure increase by 120 calories per day from the medium-chain fatty acids vs. 66 calories per day from longer chain fats.  Coconut oil is also a really great oil to use when heated as it’s less susceptible to damage when heated at high temperatures.

Incorporate the 3 big C’s of thermogenic foods into your diet on the regular to help stimulate that sluggish metabolism of yours so you can turn fat and flaccid to a leaner, hotter you!


Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno & Lara Pizzorno.  The encyclopedia of Healing Foods. 2005.

Elaine N. Marieb. Essentials of Human Anatomy, 11th Edition. 2015.

Patrick Holford. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. 2004.

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