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Burn Baby Burn – Metabolism Simplified

Over the course of our lives we have heard so many things about our metabolism. This has left us in a very confused state where logic has gone completely out of the window. Let’s take a trip back in time to before the madness started in your life and set you up for success from day one…

In its simplest definition, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. When we are young, super-active and growing into our bodies it makes sense that our metabolisms are through the roof. We eat pretty much anything that we want and as long as we stay pretty active, we can burn it off and live a care-free life. No enter the aging process which takes us through our 20s, 30s and beyond.

Truths:

  • YES, our metabolism slows down as we age but NOT as much as we once thought
  • YES, hormones CAN play a role in a slower metabolism but NOT for everyone 
  • YES, the more muscle that you have, the higher your metabolism will be
  • NO, we are not doomed to have a steadily decreasing metabolism until the end of our days

Here is how we burn our daily calories (See pie chart below as well):

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): This represents the energy it takes for your body to just be alive. Even if you laid in bed all day and tried not to move an inch, you would burn a significant amount of calories. RMR accounts for ~50-70% of the calories you would burn in a typical day.
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): This is the energy it takes to digest and absorb the food that you eat. Yes, digesting food actually burns calories…just not nearly as many calories as you get from the food itself. TEF accounts for ~10% of the calories you burn in a typical day.
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This is the energy you use just moving around and doing your normal daily activities (walking around, picking things up, talking, scrolling IG, etc.) These movements add up throughout the day and account for ~10-20% of the calories you burn each day.
  • Exercise Energy Expenditure (EEE): This is the energy you use to perform formal exercise. Things like lifting weights, going for a jog, etc. The amount of calories burned from exercise varies depending on the intensity but can account for ~10-20% of the calories you burn each day.

As you see, even though it may be hard to believe, we burn most of our calories at REST and NOT while working out! If you think about it, that could never have made sense as most consistent exercisers train 2-4 hours per WEEK. We rest more than that in a single day! Now I’m not saying that we forgo all workouts for resting…don’t be silly…but what I am saying is that we need to train well, fuel your body properly and get enough rest to complete the process.

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