Fitness 101: Metabolism

» Posted by on Feb 12, 2009 in Blog, Fitness | 0 comments

Intro to Metabolism

Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body needs to burn in order to function.  No matter the activity, your body is constantly burning calories in order to maintain itself.  Metabolism can also vary depending on the activity and when its being performed.

Difference in Metabolism

Metabolism is affected largely by your body composition and your level of activity.  Your body composition is the amount of muscle versus the amount of fat in y0ur body.  Muscle require more calories (energy) than fat to maintain itself.  Therefore, people who are more muscular (greater percentage of muscle) tend to have a higher metabolism (faster) metabolism.  These tend to be the more active, lean body types.

Metabolism & Weight Loss

First off, metabolism affects how fast you’re able to burn calories- 3,500 calories equals one pound of body weight.  So for every 3,500 calories you burn, in excess of the calories your body needs to function, you will lose one pound of fat.  The faster (higher) your metabolism, the faster you’re able to burn those 3,500 calories (one pound of body weight).

To put things in perspective, if you eat an extra 350 calories of food a day, which is about equal to a large piece of cake or a medium milk shake, you could gain an extra pound every 10 days (350×10).  Or you would gain a pound in about 20 days if you eat or drank an extra 175 calories a day (175×20).  However, on the other hand, eating 175 fewer calories a day would mean that you could lose a pound every 20 days.  I know it doesn’t seem like much but over time those pounds (and calories) will add up.

Ways to Increase your Metabolism

The best way to increase your metabolism is to stop dieting and to exercise.  Dieting isn’t necessary, just watch what you eat and have a balanced nutritional intake.  When dieting (cutting your calories) too much, it causes your body to go into “starvation mode” where it slows your metabolism to conserve calories and store fat.  When exercising, aim to increase muscle mass, as muscle requires more calories to function than fat.  You can do so by doing some type of resistance training (weight lifting, using resistance bands, calisthenics, etc…).  You can also decrease your body fat by doing some form of aerobic exercise (jogging, aerobics, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc.) at least 4 days a week for at least 20 minutes, which will help you attain lean muscle mass.  While building muscle, your body will in turn increase its metabolism to make sure your “new” muscles are functioning their best.  Meanwhile, your entire body reap the benefits because your body will begin to target fat first in order to turn into energy to give to your “new” muscles.  When this happens, your body is burning extra calories, which in turn translates to greater weight loss.

Hope this helps! JCF Boot Camp – where fitness is a way of life!


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