For people wanting to lose weight, exercise is always part of their regimen. This is because exercise is linked to burning calories. The more exercise you do, the more fats and sugar are being used up.
That’s the short-term goal for your weight loss program. On the other hand, the long-term goal is often to speed up your metabolic rate so that your body can easily burn the calories that it takes in. Before you attempt to increase your metabolic rate, it’s important that you understand what metabolism is and how exercise is linked to it.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes that your body does in order for it to convert food into energy. It can also refer to the rate at which your body converts calories to energy.
Metabolism can be broken down into two categories – catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is the breakdown of nutrients to obtain the energy needed by your body. Anabolism refers to the synthesis of simple molecules to form complex molecules. These two categories are opposites and both play a vital role in the whole metabolic cycle.
How are exercise and metabolic rates related?
Most people connect exercise and metabolic rate with weight loss. The idea is simple: the faster your metabolic rate is, the more calories your body burns in a shorter amount of time. However, there is more to metabolism and exercise than most people know.
First, there are three ways that your body burns energy.
- Through RMR – RMR refers to the resting metabolic rate which is the energy you need to do the basic functions of your body. Basic functions include breathing, digesting, walking, sitting, and other daily functions. Although these functions are nothing close to strenuous activities, it makes up 75% of the energy that your body needs.
- Through TEF – TEF, or thermic effect of food, is the energy needed for your body to digest the food you eat. When you eat, more energy is required to digest the food than when your stomach is at rest. This accounts for another 10% of the energy that your body needs.
- Through PAEE – Last but not the least is the PAEE which stands for physical activity energy expenditure. PAEE refers to the energy burned when you do other things aside from basic body functions. This includes workouts, long walks, sports activities, and other strenuous exercises that you would not normally do.
Now that you know the three ways your body uses up energy, you can now infer how exercises play a role in your metabolic rate.
Exercise and Metabolism
When you exercise, the metabolic rate that gets affected is the PAEE. If you want to increase the calories burned, you can increase the amount of exercise you do. Cardio exercises are a great way to increase the metabolic rate for PAEE.
If you’re into strength training, don’t worry because it also boosts your metabolic rate. Unlike cardio, strength training uses the energy stored in your muscles. Notice how coaches advise athletes to stock up on carbs before strength training. They recommend a lot of carbs and protein because high-intensity training use up muscle energy and your body burns all of these even if you only work out for an hour.
To add to that, after strength training, you need to refuel by eating more carbs. This is when your RMR is increased. If you want to increase your RMR rate, you can take advantage of the refueling stage of your muscles after strength training workouts. The RMR rate is increased during this time because your muscles are looking to replenish the glucose that it has lost during the workout.
How to Speed Up Your Metabolic Rate
While there are misconceptions regarding the connection between exercise and metabolism, there is some truth that exercises speed up your metabolism. What you have to remember is that different exercises target different metabolic rates.
To maximize results, you can do both strength training and cardio exercises to increase both PAEE and RMR. At the same time, you shouldn’t forget about your diet because weight loss should be a balance of exercise and proper nutrition. Good nutrition is also needed so that your metabolism is able to break down the needed nutrients for your whole body to function well.