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Metabolism v. Metabolic Rate

People confuse words all the time. Some say “supposively or supposably” when they mean “supposedly.” Others use “for all intensive purposes” when they should say “for all intents and purposes.” Many use metabolism and metabolic rate interchangeably as though they are the same thing. But they’re not. One you’re born with and the other one you can change. You can boost your metabolic rate in a number of ways to promote better health or weight loss.

Born with One – Building the Other One
Metabolism is something you’re born with. It’s your body’s ability to take nutrition (everything you eat and drink) convert it into things your body needs (proteins and nucleic acids) and then use it to create energy. Metabolism is a natural process and if you’re reading this article – yours is working!

Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body takes the nutrition and creates the energy. If you want to lose weight, you will need to increase your metabolic rate so you are burning more calories per hour.
Factors that affect your metabolic rate include:
  • Gender. The metabolic rate of women is 10-15% slower than that of men – even when they are the same height and weight. Sorry ladies.
  • Age. After the age of 25, our metabolic rate slows by a rate of about 2% per decade. As we age we tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat.
  • Height. Tall thin people have a naturally higher metabolic rate compared to short people. They simply have more skin, bone and muscle mass due to their size.
  • Weight. People who are heavier need more calories just to maintain life. This is why it’s easier to lose weight at the start of a weight loss diet, and harder to lose weight as you approach your goal weight.
  • Disease. Some people have conditions that lower their metabolic rate. Two examples of this are Cushing's syndrome and having an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

How to Increase Your Metabolic Rate
You have three types of metabolic rates: resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy you burn just being alive and accounts for 60% of your metabolic rate; your thermic effect of feeding (TEF) takes into account the energy you burn during digestion and is about 10% of your total metabolic rate; and your thermic effect of activity (TEA) accounts for about 30% of your overall metabolic rate and includes the energy you use when moving.
Together, they make up your metabolic rate. Here’s how you can give it a boost:
  • Weight training. Building muscle mass is the first thing you can do to increase your metabolic rate. Even when you’re sleeping, your new muscles are stoking your weight loss engine.
  • Cardio. Research shows that people who exercise 3-5 days per week for 20-45 minutes burn 129 more calories per day. Also, if you make cardio a lifelong habit, the impact of aging can be minimized.
  • Interval training. Follow this formula: warm up and then exercise intensely for a brief period of time (30 seconds) followed by light exercise for a longer period of time (2 minutes). In other words, warm up and then sprint, jog, sprint, jog and repeat. Do that for 30 minutes and you’ll notice a difference in you RMR.
Keep in mind that metabolic rate directly affects your potential lifespan. Metabolism affects your life but not your lifespan. All clear?

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