Burning fat is at the top of everyone's fitness wish list, but does anyone really understand how their bodies actually burn fat? If you want something, then you should probably understand the how and the why’s. Let’s break it down.
What is Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the sum of all the various chemical reactions that are continually happening inside your body 24/7 that keep all of the systems and processes in your body going. It’s the process of food being converted to energy, and that energy being used to power everything from blinking your eyes to keeping your heart beating, to growing your hair. While you might think that you burn the majority of your daily calories moving, working or exercising, you are actually burning the majority of your calories each day just keeping your body's systems running.
Get your burn on: There are 3 different types of Metabolic burns.
Burn #1: Basal metabolism. The largest burn by far, your Basal metabolism represents about 60-70% of your overall metabolism. These are the calories that you burn at rest, from watching NetFlix to sleeping, these are the calories that your body burns to keep the ‘open’ sign in the door and power all of your internal organs, processes and bodily functions running.
Burn #2: Digestive metabolism. Digesting food, and the process of turning that food into energy burns between 10-15 % of your daily calories. Interestingly burning protein requires more energy than carbs or fat - roughly 25 out of 100 protein calories are used up in the process of digestion compared to 10-15 for fats and carbohydrates.
The first two burns, which come from you doing nothing and eating, burn between 70-85% of your daily calories. So what happens with the remaining 15-30 percent?
Burn #3: Movement metabolism. This burn includes all of your daily activities and movements that are non-workout related - walking, moving around the house etc, and all of the calories that you burn purposefully exercising and working out. Movement and exercise only account for 15-30% of your daily calorie burn, and this small fraction of your overall metabolism can easily be offset and overwhelmed by poor diet choices. It’s the old adage - that you can’t out train (or out move) a bad diet.
Why Fat = More Fat.
Your Basal Metabolic Rate is determined by two factors: your parents, and the amount of fat vs. lean muscle that you have on your body. There isn’t much you can do about who your parents are, but you can tweak your Basal Metabolic rate so that it becomes more optimized and burns more fat.
Fat is incredibly lazy from a metabolic standpoint. Every pound of fat requires just 2 calories per day to maintain. Compare that to lean muscle, which burns 3-5X this amount of calories per day to sustain itself. Better still, lean muscle sources the calories that it burns from your fat stores. I think that you can see where I’m going with this. Lean muscle burns fat like crazy all day long. The more lean muscle that you can build, the more efficient your Basal metabolic rate will be, and the more fat you will burn doing absolutely nothing at all.
More lean muscle.
After the age of 25, we start to lose 1/5th of a pound of muscle per year. After 50, you can lose up to a pound of muscle each year, and unless something is done to prevent that loss, it all just goes downhill from there. We know that from 25 on, the loss of lean muscle starts to slow down the biggest metabolic burn you have, and worse, muscle loss has been linked to compromised immune systems, weaker bones, joint difficulty and abysmal posture. We are still waiting on the research, but it’s believed that reduced muscle mass may have links to cancer.
The best way to lose fat, build new lean muscle, and preserve the existing muscle that you have, is to strength train. Strength training will add lean muscle mass, which will boost your metabolism and keep your body burning calories at an elevated rate 24/7. It’s the fastest, easiest way to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.
The fastest way to build muscle and burn at.
The easiest way to start strength training. Is to snap on one of our weighted vests, and then go for a walk, hike, bike ride - even cutting the lawn or doing housework - you can add strength training resistance to almost any activity or movement just by vesting up. Check out our weighted vests options here - if you are just starting out, we highly recommend the 6lb vest, and then as you get stronger, you can upgrade to the 10lb version. You can check out our vests here.
If you want to learn strength training as a workout, you can try our Intro to Strength Training Bootcamp on our streaming service BodyRockPlus.com.
Really interesting and informative article. Not overly complicated and straight to the point.