Acceleration of metabolism is defined as a long-term increase of respiration, that is faster than the typical trajectory during the life cycle of an individual, from embryo to adult. The Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model is used to quantify the typical trajectory. All DEB parameters were estimated for over 300 animal species from most large phyla and all chordate classes. The goodness of fit is generally excellent, including embryo development (embryo weight, respiration, amount of yolk). Although many species match predictions for metabolic rates, particular taxa, including all those with larval development, but also ones with less clear larval stages, deviated and have a lower metabolic rate as embryo, compared to late juvenile and adult stages: they accelerate their metabolism during the life cycle. Five different types of acceleration are identified, examples are given, and methods are presented to recognise these different types. Associated life history traits are discussed in an evolutionary and ecological context. Arguments are presented for why accelerating species have an extra slow start of metabolism and why parental care evolved in endotherms. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.