Exercise only accounts for 10 percent of the average person’s caloric output.
“Metabolism” is one of those words that we seem to hear a lot these days.
Effortlessly thin people, for example, are often said to be blessed with “fast metabolisms”. And, the key to weight loss is to “boost your metabolism”…right?
Kind of. But that’s easier said than done.
First things first: What exactly is your metabolism?
Basically, your metabolism is all the energy (calories) that you burn every day.
But burning calories doesn’t just happen when you exercise – you burn calories every minute as your body keeps you alive.
That means all of your body’s processes, voluntary or not, contribute to your metabolism – everything from digesting food to breathing to punching out a text message on your phone.
Your metabolism is made up of 3 factors.
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body burns just to stay alive – i.e., keep your organs and bodily functions working properly, and turning food into usable energy – and it accounts for about 70 percent of your metabolism. You can Google it, and calculate your own; mine is about 1,500 kcal.
- Non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis (NEAT). Which is all the calories you burn by doing things like fidgeting or shivering, or walking, etc. It accounts for about 20 percent of your metabolism, and it can vary from day to day, depending on the things like what you’re doing or what you’re eating.
- Actual exercise. It only accounts for 10 percent of most people’s metabolism. Surprised? You shouldn’t be – that’s why I keep telling you that I would have to run about 42 kilometers to burn one pond of fat.
It’s possible to make your metabolism work more efficiently.
So, you can “boost” your metabolism, but it’s going to take work, starting with your diet.
Remember the part of your metabolism – your BMR – that burns calories just to keep you alive? Part of it is influenced by how much energy your body expends digesting the food that you eat – and some foods take more energy to digest than others.
Eating adequate protein and fiber can definitely increase your metabolism.
Protein burns more calories than carbs and fats. About 30 percent of the calories in protein go towards its digestion and absorption, whereas that number is only about 10 percent for carbs, and even less for fats.
Fiber is another nutrient that costs a little more energy, so keep this in mind.
What we’ve just put forth doesn’t mean you should shun fat and other carbs – you need a balance of all three to keep the body functioning properly.
While no vitamin or mineral or nutrient has the power to increase your BRM on its own, being deficient in any of the essential vitamins and nutrients can have negative effects.
Eating too little can actually slow down your metabolism.
When you drastically reduce calories for an extended period of time, your body thinks it’s starving because there’s not enough food available. Its response is to hang onto every calorie by burning as few as possible – and the longer this happens; the further your BMR may drop.
You can turn things around by simply amping your intake about 100 calories per day, until you’re within a healthy range.
A note about alcohol.
When you consume alcohol, your body tries to eliminate it as quickly as possible and lets the food you ate sit around and turn into fat.
So don’t drink and eat at the same time – I know this is not easy.
I’ve written about it many times, and evidence suggests that high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT), burns more calories in half the time as steady-state cardio (like Jogging), and your calorie burn may remain elevated for up to 24 hours after exercise.
Did you know that muscle burns 6 calories per pound, while fat burns 2 calories per pound?
So, the best way to increase your BMR is to increase lean muscle mass.
As I have stated many times, the best way to EXERCISE both the cardio vascular system and increase lean muscle mass is resistance training.
Just don’t overdo it; frequency wise and session duration wise.
That’s it for now; see you all next time.