By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
“It must be your metabolism”. It’s a phrase that’s uttered all the time when people are trying to move the needle on the scale, whether it’s up or down, and it won’t budge. When our weight isn’t doing what we’d like it to do, our instinct is to blame our metabolism, but what is it and what does it do?
Simply put, our metabolism is the process by which our body converts what we eat and drink into energy. Even when we are completely at rest, our body is doing this. The minimum number of calories you need to take in to simply wake up and have all of your organs and systems in your body run is called your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Each person has her own unique RMR, and contrary to many of the myths out there, there’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to “revving up” metabolism. Here we break down the three biggest metabolism myths we’ve heard.
- “Special” foods and/or supplements can raise your metabolism: Although certain things like spicy food or caffeine can boost your metabolism a few points, these boosts are only temporary and won’t help you burn any extra calories long term. In fact, many supplements that are sold as a way to boost metabolism can be dangerous and do more harm than good.
- Certain types of exercise like strength training and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) dramatically speed up your metabolism: Strength training and HIIT both help you to build muscle. The more muscle you have on your body, the more efficiently you burn calories. This allows you to continue to burn calories for a period of time after you finish your workout (known as “afterburn”). However, while adding muscle to your body is good for your overall health and can help you maintain your metabolism as you age, adding muscle is not going to cause any drastic increase in your metabolism.
- The thinner I get, the faster my metabolism will be: For most people, losing weight means they are also losing muscle. This can be avoided if you do strength-training workouts while you’re losing weight. Otherwise the loss of muscle causes your metabolism to slow 5 calories for each pound you lose. So if you lose 20 pounds without working to maintain or develop muscle mass, your metabolism will burn approximately 100 fewer calories each day. This means that your metabolism actually slows the more weight you lose.
Many people find that by learning their RMR, they are better able to manage their weight. If you want to learn what your own unique resting metabolic rate is, The Karen Yontz Center can help. We can measure your RMR with a simple, 10-minute breathing test known as BodyGem. Call us at (414)649-5767 to learn more and to schedule an appointment for your measurement. While you might not be able to speed up your metabolism like you want, you can learn how to better work with what you’ve got.