Last updated: October 23. 2013 9:33AM - 691 Views
By Tim Hlivia Special to the Weekender

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Most people, at one time or another, have probably heard the term metabolism. But what is it exactly? What is it responsible for and how can it help change our bodies?

Your metabolism is the fuel furnace in your body. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a complex series of hormones that not only convert food to fuel, but also how efficiently your body burns that fuel.

Your metabolism has several influencing factors, a few being your gender, age, and the amount of lean muscle tissue you have on your frame. These all contribute to your metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories.

The objective when trying to lose body fat and keep it off is to elevate your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the rate your body burns calories at rest. One of the best ways to positively affect your RMR is through exercise. While all exercise is beneficial, it’s not all created equal. One of the most powerful drivers of fat loss is resistance training. Aerobic exercise (cardio) burns calories in the short term, while resistance training is more of an insurance policy for your body. Weight training builds muscle and adds it to your frame to ensure you burn calories long after you complete your exercise.

This is especially important because you only spend (for most people) a small portion of your time exercising. There are 168 hours in a week. Seven of these hours (a significant commitment that few people have time for) are actually only four percent of your week. Therefore, it’s very difficult to make a difference with fat loss based on four percent investment.

That’s why the exercise you choose has a tremendous bearing on whether or not you succeed. Success is measured by losing the weight and keeping the weight off, not merely losing and regaining the same five, 10, or 50 pounds.

Gaining muscle does more than just look attractive; it also serves a function in your metabolism. The actual number varies, but muscle burns more calories than body fat does, even while you are not exercising.

The bulk of calories your body burns is at rest, the other 23 hours of the day. If you can turn that number up slightly, then you can make a big difference in total fat lost.

If we took that half hour to an hour of exercise that we do everyday and choose exercises that make a big impact, then we are affecting the big picture.

The number of calories you need varies from person to person. If you’re interested in figuring out how many you need on a daily basis, contact Leverage Fitness Studio at 570.338.2386. We’re happy to help.

-Tim Hlivia is the owner of Leverage Fitness Studio in Forty Fort.

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