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Metabolism 101

Two things you might not know about your metabolism–but should.  I hear these phrases time and time again.  Metabolism 101

Metabolism 101

1.  “My metabolism is slow (its to blame).”  

MYTH:  The amount of body fat you carry affects you metabolism.

FACT:  The amount of muscle you carry in your overall body composition determines your metabolic rate.

Can so many of us really be suffering from a slow metabolism?  In general, when someone refers to their metabolism, they are talking about their resting metabolic rate (RMR)–the amount of calories you need to sustain all the body’s operations at rest.  The strongest predictor of metabolism is your fat-free mass.  Fat free mass is everything but the fat tissue.  It is made primarily of muscle, bone, and water.

It’s the muscle that makes all the difference.  When you think about fat’s job, it’s actually to store energy. It just makes sense, fat isn’t a tissue that burns a lot of calories because that would be counterproductive.  Metabolism is very much tied up into body composition, and the more muscle you have, the more likely you are to have a higher resting metabolism.”


2.  “Thin folks are blessed with a faster metabolism than overweight folks.”

MYTH: Most people who are overweight have a slow metabolism.

FACT: Overweight folks actually have faster metabolisms than average folks.

A lot of folks like to blame their metabolism for their weight gain. But it’s interesting: There’s hardly any variance from person to person, when it comes to fat-free mass. In other words, humans are very similar when it comes to the energy it takes to keep a pound of fat-free mass alive.

It is a myth that people, especially larger people, can blame their obesity on a slow metabolism.  In fact, it may be just the opposite.  As you get bigger and bigger, your metabolism increases; it actually works in favor of those people trying to lose weight.  The down side is, because they’re burning more calories, they keep eating and eating too much, and that’s why they gain the weight. The metabolism isn’t the issue, it’s their eating habits.

Bottom line:  If losing more weight is your goal, you’ll have to either exercise more or restrict your calories more.  The best and safest method to increase your RMR is to participate in a vigorous strength training program that will add muscle to your body. Muscle burns more calories than fat so having more muscle will lead to an increase in your RMR over time.

All in all, it can be said that metabolism is the great equalizer. The body likes to defend its weight and its going to make adjustments to protect itself. Ultimately, the metabolism wants to maintain balance, and in the grand scheme of things…that’s a function that actually makes a lot of sense.

Talk to me…

Have you heard any metabolism fish stories (good or bad)?

Are you working on increasing your lean muscle mass?


***Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor first before starting new fitness routines to ensure that they’re right for you.***All opinions expressed are 100% my own.