I’m sure you’ve all used this word or at least read it somewhere, and it was most likely pertaining to diet, weight gain or loss, or exercising. But do you really know what it is and what it means?
Well, you’re in luck because today’s question is…
Q: What is Metabolism?
Simply put scientifically, metabolism is the chemical processes inside all living cells that maintain life.
Those chemical processes inside your cells are what happens when your mitochondria (the ‘workers’ in each of your cells) convert the calories from the food you consume into energy for the body to use. This is what happens when you hear ‘calorie burning’. Your cells are literally burning food calories for energy production. Think of your mitochondria and the process of burning calories (your metabolism) as a furnace; as your inner fire igniting! That’s how I feel when I work out anyway…I get warm and go all out #BEASTMODE when that furnace is fully fueled and I have energy to ‘burn’!
It gets much more complicated scientifically, but maybe this will help you visualize what’s going on in your body when you eat calories (food):
Where is gets tricky, is when you start to try and manipulate your body’s natural processes to change how your body looks, acts, or feels. These aren’t bad things, but to really be successful at doing any of those things, it’s a good idea to try to understand the underlying processes first.
Let me help you understand a little better, as simply put as possible, because it can get confusing fast.
Everyone has a personal metabolic rate (the calories your own body, not your favorite celeb or your best friend’s body, needs) to a few things. Genetics play a role in this number, but a very small number, so out with that excuse! I like to tell my clients the good news that you can actually change your genetic ‘future’ with proper knowledge and application of training + nutrition. Think of it like this: ‘bad’ genetics are only a disadvantage not an excuse to be unhealthy or give up trying to be healthy.
Your body burns calories (and needs a certain number of calories daily: remember your personal metabolic rate mentioned earlier) doing the following tasks:
- Staying alive (normal bodily functions, etc.= your resting metabolic rate)
- Exercising (fuel, rebuild and repair)
- Digesting and using the food you eat
So how many calories do you need? Check out last Tuesday’s Q&A, and remember these things when you open your fridge! :)
What question should I answer for you next Tuesday? Leave your Q’s in the comments below!