What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that break down the food we consume into energy. It is commonly thought that speeding up your metabolism will increase fat loss. However, this is not necessarily true – because significantly speeding up your metabolism isn’t really something that you can do.

Metabolism and BMR

You’ve likely heard it before, “He has an extremely fast metabolism – he can eat anything and doesn’t gain ANY weight!” In reality, what people are actually referring to is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the quantifiable number given to the energy that your body uses. This is the energy required to exist day to day.

The amount of energy you use for these processes every day largely depends on your specific daily functions; how much power our brain, kidneys, liver and digestive system use.

This rate is affected by a lot of things; height and weight, genetics, the amount of lean muscle mass you have, your exercise history and habits, your gender and your hormones.

Popular Metabolism Myths

Popular misconceptions around metabolism state that the more muscle you have, then the more calories you burn throughout the day. This is partially true. Lean muscle mass does have some contribution to an increase in BMR however the most energy we spend is through our organs and their daily functions.

There is also evidence that supports the idea that cardiovascular activity increases BMR. However, the evidence shows that this is only for a small-time post-workout (it lasts about an hour or so). It’s also been shown to have quite a small effect – that is, not enough to cause any significant weight loss.

You’ll also often hear people talking about certain foods that boost metabolism. Even if this were true, eating certain metabolism foods would not be enough to make a noticeable difference in your weight. In order to lose weight, you must create a deficit between the calories you consume and the calories you burn. These calories can be burned through diet, exercise, and your body’s natural metabolic processes.

The Main Factors That Contribute To BMR

Genetics is the main factor that affects BMR. Many studies have shown that your BMR is largely due to genetic factors. You likely share similar BMR traits with your family.

Another factor that can affect your BMR is age. As we age, we become less efficient at metabolic processes. This is likely due to the loss in lean muscle mass and cellular changes. The main reason for this change is less physical activity.

So, What Can I Do?

All in all, it’s very difficult to change your BMR. However, it will improve with exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Continuing these habits into older age will ensure you preserve as much of your BMR as possible. Do both cardiovascular exercises to ramp up calorie burning and resistance training to improve your lean muscle mass.

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?