Whenever there’s a discussion about health, Metabolism is definitely the focal point. Is it fast or slow? Will eating this affect it? Does exercise have a role in it? Let’s delve into the inside out of this term.
By gaining an understanding of what Metabolism actually means and what is actually happening in the body, you can then make more empowered choices to improve your lifestyle and to bullet proof your metabolism, making it work for you.
Energy Balance in the Body
Think of energy balance as a pair of kitchen scales, on one side we have energy out and on the other energy in:
Energy In – Energy ingested through the food and drink we consume. If Energy In exceeds Energy Out then we are in Positive Energy Balance and weight gain is usually experienced.
Energy Out – Energy expended through metabolic processes and activity. If Energy Out exceeds Energy In we are in a Negative Energy Balance and weight loss is usually experienced. Understanding this law is an essential part of understanding metabolism and how Energy Balance affects your Health, Body Composition and Performance.
Components of your Metabolism
Your Metabolism or Metabolic Rate is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body along with energy produced and expended through its various functions. Your overall Metabolism or Metabolic Rate can be summed up by the following 5 metabolic components that utilize energy throughout the body:
BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate: This is the measure of energy used by your body to undertake the most vital functions in the body.
RMR – Resting Metabolic Rate: This is the sum of energy expended by your body during rest.
TEF – Thermic Effect of Feeding : This is the measure of energy your body uses on a daily basis to digest, absorb and assimilate the food you eat, which can be upto 10% of the daily energy expenditure.
NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: This is the amount of energy your body expends to perform everyday activities such as walking up the stairs.
Exercise Activity: In active individuals they may expend up to 30% of their daily energy expenditure through exercise, maybe more depending on the length and intensity of the sessions.
The first two BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate) and RMR(Resting Metabolic Rate) are indicators of a healthy and optimally functioning Metabolism and are stimulated by both Energy In and Energy Out.
Now let’s have a look at the components we can actually manipulate and stimulate to get the desired effect to help with body composition.
Eating and Metabolism!
What and When to Eat:
Making sure your diet is made up of whole (single ingredient), unprocessed foods with a good balance of essential fats and low in refined carbohydrates ensure that important metabolic hormones are balanced within the body, so that your metabolism is functioning optimally.
If fat loss is your immediate goal then follow the general rule of thumb. The short term approach will have the desired effect for most, by saving the consumption of the starchier carbohydrates in your diet for only your post-workout meal and removing fats in this meal to aid efficient assimilation and absorption of carbohydrates and protein.
Balancing Hormones to light up your Metabolic Furnace
Here are 5 different systems to focus on in the body, which need to be balanced and maintained for optimum overall hormonal output for not only a healthy metabolism but for overall health and some basics to help you manage these:
- Blood Sugar: Eating real food, avoiding flour, sugar and excessive intake of processed carbohydrates while regularly performing high intensity exercise will help to balance blood sugar and the relevant hormones.
- Adrenal System: Taking regular time out from stressful schedules to meditate, relax and step away from the constant chatter of thoughts that can manifest in the body and cause health issues, will reduce the stimulation and release of adrenal hormones. Focus on sleep and relaxation where possible, to balance out this system that is abused by the modern way of life.
- Gut and Digestive Health: This system is also related to the adrenal system and vice versa. Poor dietary choices and gut health such as parasites, dysbiosis, leaky gut etc will lead to inflammation that will suppress the production of hormones throughout the body, creating a stress response, which in turn can lead to a cascade of autoimmune related disorders and a poorly functioning immune system.
- Detoxification: Increasing sources of Folate (Folic Acid), vitamin B6 and B12 will help with the detoxification pathways in the liver and gall bladder. These are found in foods such as fish, eggs, walnuts, leafy green vegetables and liver itself.
- Essential Fatty Acid Balance: Improving the intake and ratio of long chain omega 3(EPA and DHA) derived from oily fish and algal sources to omega 6’s can help reduce inflammation in the body. This can be bought on by an excessive omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, which can also lead to the blocking of hormone receptor sites. Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) also improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
So now using this new found knowledge as your flame, light your internal furnace and experience the improved long term health, body composition and performance benefits that come with a healthy Metabolism!