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Understanding Metabolism – What You Need To Know

Understanding Metabolism

The word metabolism is thrown around on marketing literature for weight loss products. “Increase your metabolism overnight” is the general message in the marketing ads. But what exactly is metabolism, what does it do, and can it really be manipulated?

The rate at which your body uses energy (burns calories) is called your metabolism. “Resting metabolism” measures the calories that your body needs to keep on functioning. “Energy metabolism” is the process in which your body breaks down nutrients and converts them to energy.

The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn during exercise and your daily routine. The lower your metabolism, the harder it is to get rid of those calories. While everyone has a metabolism and its function is the same, the rate in which metabolism metabolizes nutrients and converts them into energy is unique to each individual.

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How Do I Figure Out My Metabolic Rate?

Your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, is the term for rating the speed in which your body burns calories while you’re resting. To figure out an estimate of your BMR, multiply your weight by 10. That means if you weigh 200 pounds, your BMR is approximately 2,000.

The mathematical formula is: BMR = 150 x 10 kcal/lb = 1,500 kcals

The figure kcals represents calories for every pound of bodyweight. This means that your body’s metabolism uses about 1,500 calories a day and if you take in anything more than that, you’ll gain weight. That’s why exercise and diet are important to increase the amount of calories your metabolism burns during the day.

If you’re looking of an exact estimate of your BMR, a professional trainer or dietitian can take your body’s measurement.

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Metabolism And The Effects On Your Weight

As said before, someone with a high rate of metabolism can burn more calories than someone with a slower rate. If these two people ate the same amount of calories a day and exerted the same amount of energy, the individual with the higher metabolism would lose more weight. The person with the slower metabolism will have the extra calories saved in their body and stored as fat.

Even if your metabolism is slower in your younger years, aging and the hormonal changes you go through during your life slows metabolism. As you get older, weight gain and metabolism increases can be combated with strength training and other resistance training exercises. These exercises limit the affects of a slow metabolism because your muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat — the more muscle you have and the lower your body fat percentage, the higher your metabolism will be.

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