Just like any topic related to fitness, there’s a lot of misconceptions going around about metabolism. Today, we’re going to clear up five common myths about metabolism for a better fitness journey. Let’s get started!
Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of food to energy to run cellular processes; the conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates; and the elimination of metabolic wastes.
Often, when people talk about metabolism in relation to fitness and weight loss, they are actually referring to basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the rate at which the body burns calories and converts it into energy used to sustain bodily functions. Simply put, BMR is the energy your body needs to perform basic functions.
The higher your BMR is, the more calories you burn. This, paired with a healthy diet can put you in a caloric deficit and help you lose weight.
5 Metabolism Myths Debunked
Myth 1: Your Metabolism is the Same Throughout Your Life
While metabolism and BMR is naturally-occurring, you’re not stuck with what you have. While certain factors like age, gender, and genetics set your BMR at a level that is unique to you, there are ways to boost it. This includes keeping an active lifestyle by regularly working out and putting on more muscle mass.
Myth 2: Cardio is the Best Way to Boost Your Metabolism
The thing about cardiovascular exercises is that your only burning calories while you’re doing them. Once you stop, your metabolism will go back to its normal levels.
If you want to increase your metabolic rate, you’ll need more than just racking up mileage on the treadmill. You need to build your muscles through strength training or HIIT workouts.
The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you can burn even when you’re not exercising.
Myth 3: Skipping Meals Can Slow Down Your Metabolism
It’s a common notion that skipping meals can cause your metabolism to slow down overtime. However, this is a myth. You’ll need to be in a very low calorie diet for your body to go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism.
So what happens when you skip meals? For starters, you’ll be missing out on important nutrients that can keep your body healthy and nourished throughout the day. Also, when you skip meals, you tend to be hungrier as the day goes on so your likelihood of binge eating goes up. You may end up eating more calories than you burn which leads to weight gain in the long run.
Myth 4: The More You Weigh, the Slower Your Metabolism
Body weight is not a good indicator of how high your metabolic rate is. Instead, a better gauge is your body composition. Two people with the same weight but different body fat ratio burns calories at different rates. If you have more lean muscle than body fat, then your metabolic rate will be greater.
So why do slim people seem to be burning more calories than those with bigger bodies? It all comes back to how much calories they burn and how much calories they take in. You’ll only lose weight if you’re in a caloric deficit i.e. if you eat less than what you burn.
Myth 5: Working Out More Increases Your Metabolic Rate
More isn’t always better when it comes to exercise. If you push your body too far, your body can enter a an inflammatory, stressed state. This can get your hormones get totally out of whack, which in turn messes with your metabolism. So give your body enough time to rest in between high-intensity workouts.