Metabolism gets referred to alot when it comes to weight. I often hear phrases such as “i have a slow metabolism”, as one of the reasons why people cannot control their weight. Let me take a few minutes to explain what exactly metabolism is and whether we can do anything to change our metabolic rate.
Metabolism basically refers to all the chemical processes that take place within your body in order for you to live. Basically it allows you to breathe, keeps your brain functioning, pumps blood around the body and extracts energy from your food.
When we talk about metabolic rate (or more accurately basal/ resting metabolic rate) we are actually referring to the number of calories that you need each day when you are at rest, just to keep your vital organs functioning. You will burn addition calories throughout the day through different activities and exercise. Calories burned each day directly relate to your overall body composition, body fat % and then everything else (muscle, organs, tissues, fluid etc). The size of your fat free component determines your metabolic rate, and every pound of fat free mass will burn approximately 14 calories per day.
Your muscle mass in simple terms works like a furnace, burning calories and stored fat for energy. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism and the faster you burn calories.
So with that in mind I have heard many different phrases throughout my time as a trainer that relate to metabolism and weight loss, so what is right and what is wrong....
Myth 1 – Aging slows down my metabolism
Truth – Yes people do tend to put on weight as they get older, but this isn’t inevitable. The reason people tend to put on weight as they get older is that they exercise less, or less vigorously, and that relates to fewer calories burned throughout the day. As activity levels and intensity goes down, loss of muscle mass occurs. Cardiovascular exercise will burn calories and resistance training will preserve muscle mass, a great defence against age related weight gain.
Myth 2 – I'm stuck with the metabolism I have, I can’t change it
Truth – We all know people that can eat what they want and never seem to put on weight, and we all know people that can just look at food and put of 2kg. Lifestyle plays a big part in determining the calories you burn throughout the day. Whilst it may seem like some people can eat what they want and never gain weight, they are probably making healthier, reduced calorie choices more naturally, and many of these people probably burn more calories throughout the day as they are moving around alot of the day this is called (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). They may fidget more, get up from their desks more, not work at a desk, use the stairs more or go and speak to people more rather than sending an email.
Myth 3 – If I cut out calories my metabolic rate will slow down, so what is the point in exercising?
Truth – Its true, your metabolic rate will slow down if you cut out calories, after all your body’s natural inclination is to conserve calories as best as it can to keep essential organs functioning. Now unless you have drastically reduced your calories, which I would strongly disagree with, these decreases are relatively small and as you begin to lose weight you will move around alot more offsetting these small changes. By following the correct diet and exercising you can preserve the rate at which your body burns calories.
So YES you can change your metabolic rate but eating healthier, eating cleaner, and exercising or moving around more, these myths to the majority of people are just excuses. Find out ways to increase your metabolic rate by contacting one of personal trainers at www.buildabodypt.co.uk and rev up that metabolism today.