Understanding metabolism and how to manipulate it can be a powerful ally in the fight to control weight.This article will show you how to enhance metabolic rate as a method of long-term weight control.
Metabolic Rate refers to the rate one expends calories in a given period of time. Essentially, it is the rate by which we expend energy through the chemical breakdown of “burning calories“. Not only do we spend calories during periods of work and during exercise, we also burn calories at rest simply to keep our cells alive.
This is a vital point to understand! What I am referring to is known as the “Basal“, or resting metabolic rate. In fact, you burn more during your ‘resting hours’ than you do during periods of exercise!
For example, one hours worth of tennis or basketball could burn about 600 or so calories. One hour at rest may burn only 90 or so.
But you might only play one hours worth of tennis three or four times a week, while your resting metabolic rate is what you burn 24/7. It is easy to see that 90 times 24 times 7 is significantly greater than 600 times 4. (90 * 24 * 7 = 15120 vs. 600 * 4 = 2400). The point I am making is not that exercise is useless, it is the importance of the basal metabolic rate in determining the caloric balances within an individual.
Balance in caloric levels is the whole point in weight control. The basic calculus is simple: calories in / calories out. A number of calories consumed should approximate the number of calories burned for a caloric balance in maintaining weight levels. For weight loss calories in must be less than calories expended. This is a very obvious, even simplistic point, but you need to have a clear focus on that basic truth. We simply have to reduce our intake (in a healthy way) while we simultaneously increase our output. The reduction of intake through a healthy diet is the subject of a future article. This article focuses on the expenditure of calories as a tool of weight control and weight loss.
The main weakness of many weight loss programs, even the good ones, is that they do not stress the importance of exercise. The main goal in weight loss ought to be the improvement of one’s health and well-being; not merely upon a more superficial look into the mirror! In fact: you CANNOT be healthy without exercise.
A very powerful tool in regard to weight loss is the manipulation of the resting or Basal metabolic rate. This rate does vary between individuals and even within a single individual from time to time. Size and age are important factors, which account for differences in metabolic rate between individuals.
Another very important factor in influencing resting metabolic rate is the physical condition of the individual. Why this is true is a little too technical to fully explain here, but suffice to say that it has a lot to do with how your body is able to efficiently utilize oxygen in the chemical breakdown of sugar molecules in the process we simply call “metabolism”. If we can enhance the efficiency in which this oxygen is utilized, we can thereby increase resting metabolic rate.
A different and simpler way of looking at this is with the understanding that the human body in its miraculous design is amazingly adaptive. Push the body to habitually utilize more oxygen, push the body to habituate to burning energy at greater levels and the body will adapt to do so.
What this all adds up to is the ability to increase the resting metabolic rate. This again is the rate which we burn calories 24/7, 365 days a year. We burn calories even at sleep. The idea is that even a small increase in the hourly rate of caloric expenditure will add up in time to real and permanent weight loss.
Of course, bearing in mind that the increase in caloric expenditure cannot be offset by an increase in intake. Calories consumed must be less than calories expand in order to create a caloric deficit that will translate to weight loss. Just understand that you actually need to create an imbalance of calories: calories in < calories out.
Resting Metabolic Rate can be increased, and such an increase, when coupled with healthy dieting, will lead to a healthy weight loss. Because it includes exercise as a necessary component, such a method will be among the Healthiest plans you will ever come across!
The way to increase resting metabolic rate, very simply stated is through aerobic conditioning. This is, of course, the same as what some people refer to as Cardio exercise. You should exercise at a sufficient intensity to reach about 80% or your “maximum heart rate“. Don’t let this term scare you! To find maximum heart rate, take your age – 220 = “Maximum Heart Rate”. Now find 80% of your Maximum.
This becomes your “Target Heart Rate”
A NOTE OF CAUTION: If you are very overweight or over forty, use a healthy dose of common sense. Please don’t kill yourself! If you are much older, you might consult a doctor before beginning a strenuous program. Even if you are younger and in fair shape, gradually work up to this over a few weeks time. At least in the first few weeks, don’t push too hard!
This program will SURELY work if you follow it correctly, but please don’t go overboard and kill yourself trying to drop a few pounds! The #1 goal should always be good health. This is well above that of looking good in a mirror! Actually, when you take good care of yourself, through good exercise, proper diet, and other healthy habits; everything should fall into place. You will be healthy, feel more energetic, look better, sexier, think clearer, and have a better sex life.
For the first week or two slowly condition yourself to program. Begin with a five-minute warm-up of simple walking. Then build to a heart rate of about 60%. If you opt for playing sports rather than running on a treadmill in a gym, just try to go a moderate pace to gradually condition yourself to where you want to be. When you are at the point where you can exercise to the full, then you still should begin with a warm-up of about 5 minutes. Some pre-exercise stretches can both help to warm the muscles up and prevent injury.
After a five-minute warm-up, get your heart rate up to your target rate; hold it in that range for 20 to 30 minutes. Begin at lower levels and build over several weeks toward the 60-minute range, Do this initially at three times a week. Build to four. Then to five if your schedule allows. I do understand that many people have busy schedules but you must at least find time for three to four sessions if you want to gain the benefits of the program.
Over the period of several weeks, you will find your energy and stamina improving dramatically. Remember, energy = the burning of calories. Therefore, if you are more energetic throughout the day, as you certainly will be, then just as certainly it means that your metabolic rate has been increased. This can be a very powerful tool in weight control!
Again, watch the caloric intake as well! Eat healthily, but keep the calories down. Before long you will notice the benefits on the bathroom scale! Weight will come down as body fat is reduced. More importantly, your general state of health and well-being will be significantly enhanced! You’ll have more energy than you have experienced for years, and will even experience a sharper mental focus as well.
I truly hope that this article will influence your life for the better. I do know what I am talking about; however, I have no claim to absolute knowledge. Certainly, there can be informed disagreement with some of the points I have expressed and the more knowledgeable among you may feel that I have only scratched the surface.
There is a wealth of information on the web and elsewhere on the subject of health and fitness and I do hope that you continue to seek out that knowledge and understanding. This holds true whether you choose to obtain it from me or another source. I thank you for your attention and trust that your health and well-being will grow from this day forward!