• Awesome stuff Cheney … Always good to keep learning!

    From Jeff
    June 3, 2010

Have you ever said to yourself….it must be my metabolism…?

Always intrigued by topics brought up during classes, I decided on today’s blog topic.  Here at H3, we have a seminar on Maximizing your Metabolism, offer metabolic tests, but exactly what role does your metabolism play in weight loss? 


What exactly is your metabolism?

Here is your quick and easy physiology lesson for the day:  Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.  During this process, your body combines these calories with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.  Even at rest, your body needs energy for functions such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. 

These ‘hidden’ functions to live require a certain number of calories, which is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  This number is essentially your ‘metabolism’.  Your BMR is determined based on a few factors:

Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn up more calories, even at rest.

Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.

Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

Your BMR makes up about 60 – 75 % of calories burned on a daily basis.  Another 10 % is through digestion (which is an essential part of living) and the rest is burned via physical activity, which I’ll get to in a minute.


‘My metabolism is making me gain weight’ and other metabolism myths

Because we have heard it over and over, it’s really easy to blame your weight gain on a slowing metabolism.  In all reality – unless you have a rare condition affecting your thyroid – your metabolism is working just fine. 

Don’t mess with Mother Nature – when trying a ‘starvation’ diet your body actually compensates by slowing down these bodily processes and conserving calories for survival.  Make sure you never dip below 1200 calories, so your body doesn’t backfire and actually conserve your extra energy.

Unfortunately, weight gain is most commonly the result of eating more calories than you burn. To lose weight, then, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both.


Can I speed up my metabolism?

There is no magic pill available to help increase your metabolism – so don’t believe the claims.  Essentially – the more active you are the more calories you burn – so it’s time to get moving.  Here are a few ways physical activity can help burn more calories:

–  Regular aerobic activity – This includes any type of activity that gets your heart rate going – for example walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, aerobics, dancing…  The goal is to do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 5 days per week. 

– Strength training – Strength training exercises are important because they help build muscle and counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.

–  Lifestyle activities – Don’t be a couch potato!  Any extra movement helps – yard work, cleaning your house, walking up the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farthest away from your destination.   These activities contribute just a little extra calorie burn and will add up!


Source: Mayo Clinic.com

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