Thursday, 7 July 2011
What is a Metabolism? By Linda Moore
When it comes to weight loss and dieting, one word that you hear often is “metabolism.” But what is a metabolism, and how does it play a role in your weight loss goals and what is its value to you? First let me give you the commonly accepted definition of what a metabolism is.
The word metabolism is derived from the Greek language. And it means “change” or “transformation”. For our purposes of body function, metabolism is the amount of energy or calories your body burns to maintain vital functions. At every moment, be it sleeping, shopping or exercising, your body is constantly burning calories. It needs fuel just as a car needs fuel to power itself. Your metabolism is the regulator and manager of your body’s fuel.
Now here’s where it really gets interesting. Your metabolism is affected by your body composition. In plain English, this means the amount of muscle you have compared to the amount of fat you have on your body. This comparison is important because your muscle tissue burns or uses up more calories to maintain itself than fat does. That being, people who have a lot of muscle on them or mostly muscle on their frame, tend to have a higher metabolism than others who have more fat. So why should this matter to you?
Consider this: Take two people who have the same height and weight. Let’s say one exercises on a regular basis with weights plus she does aerobic exercises and she has a low percentage of body fat. The other woman, never exercises, and has more fat on her frame. The first woman will have a higher metabolism than the second one will. Because of this, the first woman will find it much easier to maintain her figure and will not pad on much fat to her body. However the second woman will find that gaining more fat and consequently weight will come much easier and that’s why her weight will balloon at a much faster pace. Ask yourself this question:
Which woman would you rather be? By now you’re probably wondering how you could increase your metabolic rate. That’s a good question. Here’s a simple formula for making it happen. First you’d begin to start exercising and you’d stop the dieting. Keep in mind that if you haven’t exercised in a long time, you’ll want to first check with a doctor to make sure your body can handle it.
Next, you’ll want to begin to increase your muscle mass by lifting weights, using weight machines, rubberband, or exertubes. The key idea here is to engage in what’s called resistance exercise. And to build your cardio while burning off unwanted fat, you’ll want to do some aerobic exercise – 3 times a week for longer than 20 minutes. That’s the average for a lot of people. Examples of aerobic exercise would be walking, jogging, treadmills, step aerobics, biking and swimming. The key thing is that you increase your heart rate into your target zone and keep it there for a set time. You’ll want to talk to a personal fitness trainer, doctor or physician about this.
The next thing to consider is that you need to eat the right foods in the right amounts. Ideally you want to eat foods that are lower in fat. However, it’s important to eat olive oil and fish, which contains healthy oils. Of course you can look at product labels to see how much fat content there is in the product.
It’s important to note that some people were born with a faster metabolism than others. That’s why they can eat and eat some more and they rarely gain any weight. While other people are hard-wired for a slower metabolism. But with the right program, you can certainly speed up your metabolism and the benefits are definitely worth it. So what is a metabolism? Now you know the answer to that question and you have the key to slimming your body.