The calories in vs calories out equation will always stand true. However, what many of us don’t consider is the variability of our metabolism. Our basal metabolic rate is a measure of how many calories our bodies need at rest. If you were to lay in bed or sit on the couch all day long, how many calories does your body physiologically need to sustain itself? Our basal metabolic rate can be effected by a number of factors: lean body mass, activity level, and nutrition habits. By conditioning our metabolism through the strategies discussed below, we can use our body’s natural ability to adapt while supporting our weight management goals.
Lean Body Mass
The first step in conditioning your metabolism is to build MUSCLE! Depending on your activity level, a kilogram of muscle can burn up to 25 calories per day. As we age, especially men over 40 or women approaching menopause, our bodies lose their ability to produce testosterone and other anabolic hormones to support muscle growth. Overtime, this conditions our body to store more fat and reduce muscle mass, further baring down the scale with unwanted weight. When starting a weight-loss program, it is essential to regain muscle to support a revving metabolism. Performing high volume (3-5 sets of 15 reps) pure strength exercises like deadlifts, squats, sled pushes, pull-ups and bench-presses can help build your muscle mass.
To further coach our metabolism, remaining consistently active is essential. We can lose 25% of our aerobic capacity in just two-three weeks if we don’t regularly perform cardiovascular training. 150 minutes of moderate 60-70% Heart Rate Reserve cardio training or at least 75 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) per week can help regain or sustain your cardiovascular health and condition your metabolism. An added bonus to HIIT? EPOC! Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, is the after-burn effect your body goes through when working to recover from high intensity exercise. Your metabolism can remain elevated up to 48hrs after an intense bout of exercise. The Row Machine, Kettlebells, and Battle Ropes are a great way to get a quick, HIIT workout in!
If you’re stuck in a plateau and can’t seem to lose weight, it’s time to reassess your regimen… particularly your diet. The Biggest Loser is a prime example. This population becomes conditioned to working out a high level while consuming very little. By training their body to sustain itself on low calories, reeking havoc and crashing their metabolism in the process, inevitably many people get stuck in a plateau if not gain all the weight back because their body has not been conditioned to BURN and USE calories, rather working to avoid them. The greatest athletes in the world eat to perform, to fuel their bodies to take on the challenges they face. Although not all of us are training to compete at such level, we should be eating so. Nourishing our body the way we want to feel, to look, to perform. We’re not going to be breaking PRs, finishing our first marathon, or managing weight if we don’t construct an environment where our body can be in its prime.
To foster such an environment, we must eat like champions. Although it takes some consistent tweaking and guidance, we must coax our body to eating as much as we physically can, in a healthy manner. This entails eating whole foods, primarily plant based, lean protein, veggies galore, fiber and of course healthy fats. If you’re stuck in a plateau and eating 800 calories a day, you’re not going to break it by exercising harder or eating less. Rather, by reconditioning your metabolism through lifting heavy, mixing in HIIT and eating to support your lean body mass, we can regain control of our metabolism. Adding in 250 calories for women or 500 calories for men every three to four weeks until you are at your metabolic capacity will be essential in breaking the plateau. Using your body comp and lean body mass as a guide, or better yet a metabolic cart, we can build a body made to be active and burn calories.
For further metabolic coaching, schedule a complimentary prescription session with Precision Personal Training today!