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Metabolism: Frequently Asked Questions
Will metabolism change over time?
Metabolism varies from person to person and can change over time.
It is determined by many factors including body composition (amount of muscle and fat), weight, age, genetics and gender.
Weight loss or a change in body composition can significantly affect RMR.
I exercise a lot and my resting metabolic rate has not increased.
Aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise burns calories during the activity,
but doesn't have a significant effect on increasing your RMR over time.
The calories you burn during aerobic exercise will help you balance the
calories you eat. Strength training, on the other hand burns fewer calories
during the exercise, but can add more muscle to your body, which can lead to
an increase in resting metabolic rate over time. A combination of aerobic
exercise and strength training should be included to improve health.
Can I increase my RMR?
The best and safest method to increase your RMR is to participate in a
vigorous strength training program that will add muscle to your body. Muscle
burns more calories than fat so having more muscle will lead to an increase in your RMR over time.
I have lost weight. Why is my resting metabolic rate lower?
A decrease in resting metabolic rate during weight loss is normal. Metabolism is
influenced by total body mass (your body weight). When you lose weight, your total
body mass decreases and it takes less energy for your body to maintain vital functions.
In order to minimize this decrease in RMR with weight loss, you can participate in a
strength training program. Strength training, if vigorous enough to increase lean muscle
mass, can help increase your resting metabolic rate over time because muscle is more
metabolically active than fat and burns more calories to maintain, even at rest.
Does losing weight speed up my resting metabolism?
You might be surprised to read the answer is NO! Your resting metabolic rate (RMR)
actually tends to decrease as you lose weight. This happens because it takes fewer
calories for your body to support a smaller you. This is one of the reasons that it is
important to have your RMR remeasured as you shed pounds. Otherwise, you might find yourself
plateauing too soon and not reaching your goals. One way to counter this trend is to add
strength training to your workout plan, because, lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat.
And remember to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
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