Metabolism and You

Written by: Maggie Kyle, Lonestar Fitness Intern

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One key factor in fitness that many people don't take enough time to understand is metabolism. In other words, the metabolic/chemical reactions or processes that keep your body alive. These can range from breathing, eating, digesting food, and expelling waste (among other things). Why is this important for you fitness goals? The rate at which we burn calories is our metabolic rate or the number of calories needed to fuel your body at rest. This is the highest contributing factor in burning calories and losing weight; therefore, it is important to understand the different factors that affect metabolism to keep, not only a healthy metabolism, but the constant ability to burn calories and lose weight.

There are many things that can affect metabolism, including muscle mass. It may not seem like much, but muscle cells take more energy to function at rest than other cells. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn while resting. So, you all should look forward to working out to build more muscle in the gym. 

Another factor for all those adults over twenty one years old, is alcohol. It's a sad truth, but when you drink alcohol it shuts off other metabolic processes. One process that gets shut down is digestion. This is so you body can focus on expelling toxins from the body. It stops those metabolic processes from burning calories too. Instead, the focus of all functions on the liver is to clear the alcohol from your system. Therefore your body is not burning calories. This means, you stop burning calories, and in the event that the alcohol has extra  compounds in it like sugar, your body will actually gain calories (which can and will be stored as fat).

 A healthy meal plan schedule can go a long way in terms of metabolism. It is important to keep a consistent eating schedule, skipping meals can definitely affect the metabolism. Metabolism is controlled by each individual cell in our body, and they all have a metabolic clock that is affected by the times we decide to eat. The disturbance in the coordination between the body's biological clock and the cell's metabolic clock that comes from skipping meals. An irregular eating schedule should be avoided.

Finally, to end on a high note, another important factor to increase your metabolism is the amount of sleep we're getting. The optimal metabolism can be reached with eight hours of sleep. Those who don't get enough sleep aren't as active in the following days, are more hungry, and less likely to work out. 

Your metabolism contributes directly to the amount of calories you can burn through the ever-present metabolic process that go on throughout your body. It is important to maintain a healthy metabolism, and understanding the different things that affect your metabolism can help you keep it in a healthy, stable condition.