Metabolism is the total of all the chemical and physical processes by which the body builds and maintains itself and by which it breaks down its substances for the production of energy. About 70% of the calories your body burns is used for basic vital processes (e.g., breathing, digestion, muscle anabolism, fat storage, and blood circulation). The remaining 30% may be attributed to physical activity (e.g., walking, cycling, weight training, etc.). Metabolism involves two distinct processes: anabolic reactions, which involve the building of cellular structures and energy storage; and catabolic reactions, which involve the breakdown of molecules for energy.
Metabolic rate, not to be confused with metabolism, is the rate at which your body burns calories or the speed of your metabolism. Both metabolism and metabolic rate are affected by many factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, and hormonal levels. The thyroid gland produces hormones which regulate how fast or how slow your body burns calories and for such things as when your body uses energy to build muscle tissue from protein or stores energy as fat.
The most obvious modifiable factor for affecting your metabolic rate is lifestyle (e.g., physical activity and diet). Exercise, including weight training and cardio, will elevate the body's basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is essentially a baseline metabolic level, even during rest. Weight training, in particular, elevates one's metabolic rate because it increases muscle mass and muscle is a very metabolically-active tissue within the body. As the body ages, muscle mass slowly decreases and as a result, so does metabolic rate. A double whammy is the gain in bodyfat along with the loss of muscle mass, compounding the problem. Interval training (e.g., high-intensity interval training known as HIIT) is a very effective technique used to stimulate positive changes in one's BMR.
Nutrition also plays a part in terms of affecting metabolic rate. Not eating enough food (less than 1200 kcals daily) slows down metabolic rate because the body "thinks" it's starving. Going too long between meals (e.g., more than three hours) will slow down metabolic rate. On the other hand, a relatively high-protein diet will boost metabolic rate because protein is a macronutrient which the body must work harder and therefore expend more calories to digest. Caffeine and some spicy foods (e.g., hot peppers) can boost metabolic rate due to their stimulant qualities.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.