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Keen To Be Lean? - Some Metabolic Musings

Metabolism is the process by which your body changes food into living tissue and changes living tissue into energy and waste products. Metabolic Rate is the speed at which the body uses energy (burns calories.)There are two genetically-determined types of people; those with a naturally low metabolic rate (slow fuel burners), and those with a naturally high metabolic rate (fast fuel burners). Slow fuel burners tend to have trouble keeping weight off.

Two primary concepts will help to explain how metabolic rate may be increased:

1.) Diet affects metabolic rate.

2.) Lean body mass, or muscle, is essential for fast and efficient fuel burning.

1.) Diet Affects Metabolic Rate

A balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy types/ quantities of fats, adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals, etc. will effectively fuel your metabolism. Taking in an appropriate number of calories to meet your needs by eating regular, healthy meals and snacking on healthy low calorie foods will keep your metabolism working efficiently throughout the day.

On the other hand, if you skip meals or follow a diet that's too low in calories, you will send the message to your body that you are starving. To compensate for this perceived threat of starvation your body will lower it's metabolic rate and you will burn fewer calories.

2.)Lean Body Mass, or muscle, is essential for fast and efficient fuel burning.

An average body burns about 2 calories per day per pound of fat and about 35 calories per day per pound of muscle. Muscles are always metabolically active, even when you are sleeping.

Weight-bearing exercise speeds up your metabolic rate quite simply because it builds muscle and for each pound of muscle gained, your body will burn about 35 more calories per day. As well, you will get the added benefit of burning off calories and fat deposits as a direct result of the energy used in doing the exercises. Exercise will help to attain a leaner, stronger, metabolically efficient body.

On the other hand, if you fail to exercise adequately while reducing your caloric intake, up to one third of the weight loss is likely to be muscle, not fat, leaving your body burning 35 fewer calories each day per pound of muscle lost. i.e. If you make your goal only a goal to 'lose 9 pounds', at the end of the diet you are likely to have lost up to 3 pounds of muscle and your body will be burning about 105 fewer calories per day. i.e. Again? your metabolic rate will have become slower, making it easy for the fat to creep back on in a short period of time.

In summary, for metabolism to function in prime form and lead to your attainment of that lean look you'd like to keep forever and learn to love, both a balanced diet and adequate exercise are required.

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