Mar 1, 201204:47 AMMind & Body
Want to Lose Fat? Start With Understanding Your Metabolism.
In dealing with people who desperately want to lose weight and fat on a daily basis, I am continuously reminded that most people just don't have a true understanding of metabolism. Let's take a look at the components of your metabolism and how you expend energy:
1. Your Resting Metabolic Rate:
This is the number of calories used by your body each day at rest and represents an astounding 70% of your total calorie expenditure. It might be hard to believe, but even if you simply sat on the floor all day long, your body would still burn a certain number of calories in order for it to function. An easy way to estimate your basal metabolic rate is to multiply your current body weight by 12.
2. Non Exercise Activity/General Movement:
Any muscle contraction in the body burns calories. Getting up and down out of a chair, putting groceries away, climbing stairs, etc. all burn calories. Obviously, some people receive more general physical activity per day than others. A construction worker doing manual labor all day long will obviously burn more calories than a person who sits at a desk all day.
3. Structured Exercise:
Exercise and the "stuff" that I instruct my clients to do while training with me is physical activity, but it is structured. This type of activity helps to maintain lean muscle mass, which is important for preventing a slow metabolism as we age. Finally, consistent, structured exercise improves components of fitness and performance: muscular strength, conditioning, mobility, flexibility, injury prevention, etc.
Ok... Stay with me on this next one...
4. The Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF): quite simply, this is the number of calories your body uses in order to process and assimilate the food you eat, and actually represents about 10% of the calories your body uses daily (assuming a mixed diet). The TEF value of protein is 20-25%, the TEF value of carbohydrates is 5% and the TEF value of fat 2-3%....stay with me here, this is the important part:
So...if you eat 100 calories worth of pure protein, you’ll only absorb 75-80 of those calories. If you eat 100 calories of pure carbohydrate, you’ll absorb 95 of those calories (yikes!), and, if you eat 100 calories worth of pure fat, you’ll absorb 97-98 of those calories (oh boy!). It becomes obvious that eating a diet higher in protein is a great way to expend more energy through processing and end up “netting” fewer of those calories. GO PROTEIN! Take a look at the above again...where do you fall short and what areas can you improve your weight/fat loss efforts?? Here are my suggestions for improving each of the 4 areas above:
1. Strength train. If you want to prevent a decline in your RMR, lift some weight to the point of feeling challenged. If you put a consistent stress and overload on all of your major muscle structures, you'll be able to offset the age related loss of lean muscle tissue. If is important that the weight you lift challenges you. Lifting very light weights will not stress the higher threshold muscle fibers ~ I REPEAT - LIFT A CHALLENGING WEIGHT. If you begin to lose muscle tissue as you age (and you will if you don't get moving and do something about it), your metabolism WILL slow down. For every pound of muscle you lose, you will expend 6 fewer calories daily. Let's say you lose 5 lbs. of muscle from age 30-40. That's 30 less calories per day you are expending. 30 calories a day X 365 days/year=10950 calories. That's 3 lbs. worth of calories. If you've heard the phrase "creeping weight gain", this is what we are are talking about. I often hear folks past age 30 tell me "I'm not eating anymore than I used to and I'm still gaining weight". They are telling me the truth: their input probably hasn't changed, but their output has because they are losing muscle.
2. MOVE more on a daily basis. We've all heard the advice to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Many people laugh at this advice. I don't.
I'm telling you, adding in more low intensity general movement whenever possible can really, really add up. So go do something - chase your kids around the park instead of just watching from the park bench, run up your stairs, and run down them too while you're at it, play more fetch with the dog or look for the farthest parking spot instead of the closest.
3. Get in more structured workouts. In addition to burning more calories and directly impacting RMR, assuming the program is sound, you are going to get stronger, get in better condition, move better and pain free, prevent injuries, relieve stress etc.
4. Rearrange your diet in favor of more protein. Because protein has the highest TEF value, by simply rearranging the percentage of protein, carb and fat in your diet you can make a positive impact. NOW, it's important you understand that I said REARRANGE the composition of the diet...NOT add in MORE protein (calories) on top of what you are already eating.
So, there you have it...a crash course in metabolism and how to manipulate if for better weight/fat loss. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
~ Take Care Of You ~