You’ve been dieting all year long and you can seem to get rid of that spare tire. "What’s the problem," you ask. It might be your metabolism. That’s right hard-chargers, we’re here to talk about the metabolism and how it affects fat loss. Well, let’s get down and boogie with the scoop.First of all, what is the metabolism? I’ll give you the technical definition and then put it into the terms of the layman. The new Lexicon Webster’s dictionary defines metabolism as; the sum total of the chemical processes of living organisms, which result in growth, the production of energy and the maintenance of the vital functions, and in which the waste products of these processes are rendered harmless. Whew! that’s a mouthful. Let’s get a little more simplistic. Simply put, the metabolism is the process that the body conducts to change the food that we eat into energy that can be used by us.

This energy is needed for our hearts to beat, eyes to blink and lungs to breathe. You must understand that the body must take in a certain amount of calories just to maintain its everyday vital functions. The amount of energy that we need to maintain our daily functions determines what is called our basic or basal metabolic rate. I will interchange basic and basal for variety’s sake.

Most personal trainers take the formula from their manuals to determine a clients basal metabolic rate. That formula is different for men and women. For men, take your weight and multiply it by ten (10). Then take that product and add double your weight to it. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., multiply that by 10 to give you 1500. Then add twice your weight to that number. In this case we would be adding 300 to that number (150 x 2). The total would be 1800. What that means to you is that this 150 lb man needs to take in 1800 calories per day just to live and maintain current weight. For women, the formula is to multiply your weight by 10 and add your weight to that number. Let’s explain the importance of this caloric intake number.

The significance to us about the basic metabolic rate is crucial for weight loss or gain. You see, anything that you eat that is above the basic metabolic rate must be used or it will be stored as body fat. To give you an example of this, let’s take that 150 lb. man. His basal metabolic rate was 1800 calories per day. Let’s assume that he took in 2000 calories today. His body is going to burn 1800 calories just to live. That leaves him with 200 calories that he has to either use (exercise) or store as bodyfat. What this means, is that in order for a person to lose weight or maintain weight, he or she must consume close to or a little less than their metabolic rate in calories. Now what about the person that says I only eat one meal a day and I can seem to keep the weight off for any long period of time? Let’s take a look.

The human body is the smartest and most efficient machine in the world. It can adapt to almost any situation. "What does this have to do with the metabolism," you ask. Well, for those who believe that not eating will help you lose weight, let me help you to understand what the body does when you don’t take in enough calories. As you start to deprive yourself of calories, your body tells your brain that you are starving. Your brain in turn sends signals to your body to fix the problem. The first thing that occurs is a slowing down of the basal metabolic rate. Next, the body says we need to burn muscle instead of fat. Third, the body says we need to conserve as much fat as possible to stay alive. Understand that the body wants to live as long as possible. Finally, the body says, when we get some food in, convert as much as we can to bodyfat and store it for later energy use. This process is very efficient and explains why you gain more weight after you come off of a diet. This is why experts say diets don’t work.

I hope that this article can give you some insight into your metabolism. Use this information wisely and you just might be on the road to that six pack. We will go further in depth about the metabolism in the future. That’s it this week from Semper Fitness. Stay pumped, stay motivated and OO-RAH!

Semper Fidelis!