- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Monday, February 15, 2010
What You Need to Know about Metabolism
First we need to establish what "metabolism" is to understand its importance in maintaining, losing, or gaining weight.
Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body takes to live and maintain itself. This would include any activity on your part such as exercise, walking, or any task that causes you to move.
Your Basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories it takes for an individual to be in a resting state as if they were in bed asleep all day. There are general calculations for determining your basal metabolic rate, but it is just that, a generality. The variable factors are weight, height, gender, age, genetics, muscle mass, and activity levels that influence basal metabolism.
If you are active, of normal weight, female, young, and have a normal amount of muscle on you, your basal metabolism should be around 1500 calories. That means that if you were in bed asleep for 24 hours, your body would burn 1500 calories just keeping you alive.
This is one of the reasons food labels always say "based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. They assume that your basal is around 1500 calories, and they assume you are going to be doing another 500 calories of activity. They then assume that in eating 2000 calories a day you will maintain your weight. A lot of assuming going on there by the way!
If only we all had that kind of metabolism, but we don't. People who have slower metabolisms, usually move less, are over weight, have less muscle mass percentage than fat, could be older, and they could have genetics that do not serve them well. There are many factors that determine someones metabolism.
Top athletes require 4 to 6 thousand calories a day due to their fast metabolisms and high caloric burning activities. They have more muscle and work out more than the average person.
So basically losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight is all about math. It is understanding what your basal metabolic rate is, and then adding in the amount of activity you do in a day to come up with the total daily amount of calories that you need.
If you want to lose weight, begin by figuring out your daily calorie burn. For instance say your basal is 1500 calories, and during your day of activity you burn an additional 600 calories. (that includes your exercise) Your total calorie burn for a day is 2100 calories.
Lets say you want to lose 10 pounds. If you ate only 1600 calories a day but burn 2100, you would lose those 10 pounds in about 10 weeks. Remember it takes 3500 calories to lose a pound. By cutting your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you will lose approximately 1 pound a week. That adds up to 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
If you pick up your exercise, you will lose more weight at a faster pace. It is all about calories in, and calories out. Simple math!
It is a matter of being conscious of how much you are eating, and how much you are burning. And remember, the better you eat, the more you exercise, the faster your metabolism will run.