It’s no secret that metabolism plays a huge role in weight maintenance and muscle building. But first things first, what is metabolism? And what does it mean to say metabolic rate?
A person’s metabolism is the chemical pathways that take molecules in one form and convert them to some other form for the body to use. From oxygen to glucose, a person’s metabolism is the chemical processes that make your body do what it does. In a sense, metabolism is a very broad term, accounting for many key bodily functions.
Metabolic Rate is a term specifically used to describe the rate at which energy is used to maintain the body’s state. Resting metabolic rate is the energy expended to maintain body state while the body is at rest. Energy expenditure, of course, is just another way of saying burning calories. In some metabolic pathways, these calories come in the form of glucose (sugar). In other pathways, lipids or fat.
The two main metabolic modes that a dieter or body builder would be interested in are anabolism and catabolism. In anabolism, molecules are combined to form larger molecules. Muscle building, for example, is an anabolic process. Conversely, catabolism involves the breakdown of larger molecules into smaller ones, releasing energy. Oxydation of glucose to produce ATP which is a form of energy for movement, is an example of a catabolic process.
Now that the basics are out of the way, think about this – at rest, how much is going on in your body? How many functions to keep your body working, to keep you alive? Think about it for a second – heart functions, lung functions, muscle maintenance processes, brain processing, temperature regulation, oxygen movement, liver function… the list is incredibly long. Now how much energy do you think that takes? Lots. And remember that the energy requirements generally come from the burning of calories. In fact, an average male could burn around 2000 calories in a day, doing absolutely nothing but watching tv! So think about this some more… Next time you are running on a treadmill and look down and see that you’ve burned a measly 200 calories, that’s just a tenth of what you can burn doing nothing! Why even bother working to burn calories at the gym!? Doesn’t tt really seems like a waste of time?
Truth is, working out with the intention to burn calories is a waste of time. Sure you can spend an hour on the elliptical machine and leave the gym with a 400 calorie deficit, but is that really an effective use of time? Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend just a half hour at the gym, burn 200 calories while there, but actually perform training that raises your metabolic rate for the next 24 hours, increasing your calorie deficit through the rest of the day? Wouldn’t it also be great to incorporate other techniques to boost your metabolism and let it do the work for you for your weight loss?
If you intend to lose weight, you need to train your metabolism. You need your metabolism operating in the most effective way possible to help you reach your weight loss goals.
This is the first of a series of articles, in which I will be presenting some techniques to help boost metabolic rate and increase fat loss.