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Your Metabolism and Fat Loss, Part 1

Posted May 09 2008 11:33am 1 Comment
There is tons of information out there about metabolism and fat loss. In this article series, I will guide you through the tricky waters of metabolism facts and fiction. Metabolism is basically the rate at which your body burns calories. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you'd burn if you did nothing all day (or the amount of calories your body needs to maintain itself).

The starting point for determining your daily caloric needs starts with your BMR. It is critical for you to know your BMR if you are attempting to burn fat and lose weight. If you maintain a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), you will gain weight and fat no matter how fast your metabolism hums . For example, my BMR is about 2000 calories, so I would need to consume at least this amount of calories just to maintain my weight. I will talk more about BMR and the energy equation in part 2 of this series.

Here are a few facts about metabolism:

Fact #1 A slow or sluggish metabolism is not the major cause of weight gain.

A caloric imbalance is the cause of weight gain (consuming more calories than you burn in a day). If you have a slow or sluggish metabolism? A brisk 30 minute walk each day would get you started in the right direction to speed it up.

Fact #2 Lifting weights (or other resistance exercises) and cardio exercise will give you a higher metabolic rate.

Specifically, a combination of circuit weight training and high intensity interval cardio will get your metabolism "revved up."

Fact #3 Sweating is not a gauge of how many calories you are burning.

This may be bad news for sauna and steam room lovers! Weight loss or gain is a product of calories consumed or burned. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight and vice-versa.

Fact #4 The best time to exercise is whenever you have the most energy.

Working out at any time of the day will increase metabolism for several hours, depending on intensity.

Fact #5 Your metabolism doesn't necessarily have to slow down as you get older.

In general, your metabolism slows down at a rate of 5% per decade after age 40 (source: WebMD.com). The easiest way to keep a healthy metabolic rate for life is to engage in consistent weight training and interval cardio. This way, you will maintain important muscle mass and burn fat. So, how many daily calories are burned by one pound of muscle? And the answer is---35 to 50 calories!

So, what determines the rate at which your body burns calories? Some factors include age, heredity, gender and lean muscle mass. Men tend to have faster metabolisms than women. Thyroid problems may also cause your metabolism to slow down.

In part 2 of this series, we'll take a glance at the energy equation as it relates to fat loss and weight loss.
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Mark, Thanks for explaining this information in terms that we can all understand.
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