Metabolism is defined as a set of biochemical reactions in the body. In practice, it is a process that consists of transforming the calories that we ingest into energy. For all simple and vital tasks such as breathing, thinking (it is estimated that the brain needs 420 kcal every day to function) or moving, the body’s cells need energy.
Indeed, just as a car needs gasoline to move forward, we need calories to live. In the strict sense, we can therefore rather speak of catabolism than of metabolism. It should be noted that we all have different energy needs, which is why we speak of the basal metabolic rate or BMR (in English: basal metabolic rate). The TMB, for example, helps to explain why some people gain weight by eating sweets and others not.
Here are 3 interesting facts about metabolism
You can improve your metabolism
Even if we all have a different basal metabolic rate (BMR) depending in particular on our genes, it is possible to influence our metabolism through the practice of exercises and weight training. Muscles are great fat burners, on average 4 times more than fat. Therefore, maintaining and increasing muscle mass can be useful to increase your BMR and then be able to ingest more calories without necessarily gaining weight. Seek advice from a physical education teacher for more personalized information, but simple exercises like jogging, cycling, swimming, or skipping rope already help build muscle and melt fat.
In addition, exercising increases the level of testosterone, a hormone that decreases appetite. Another positive effect of regular exercise is improved sleep. Finally, stress is harmful to the metabolism. It is in particular chronic stress that can act negatively on the digestive system by releasing certain hormones, which slows down the metabolism (food burns more slowly).
Diet has little influence on metabolism
According to studies, it is difficult to influence the BMR through food such as consuming coffee for example. BMR is mostly related to exercise practice and muscle mass. However, the important thing to understand with diet and BMR is that each day the body has a certain number of calories to burn. In other words, it is not the number of meals that one takes per day, 3 or 5 meals, which is so important. The goal is not to exceed your daily calorie quota. That said, some specialists recommend eating every 3 to 4 hours for a positive influence on metabolism. That means, having breakfast in the morning after waking up.
It will also be a question of avoiding overeating in the evening before going to sleep, because during the night we spend fewer calories. Thus, nutrients like protein can be quickly turned into fat by the liver. In addition, medicinal plants such as cayenne pepper (rich in capsaicin) could possibly have a catabolic effect, thus acting on the metabolism, but there are currently no serious studies showing its effectiveness.
Age does not necessarily have an impact
It is true that with age the TMB decreases, in particular because of the natural decrease in muscle mass under the effect of a drop in testosterone, especially from the age of 40. There is also a gender difference, men naturally have more muscle mass than women. At menopause with the decrease in estrogen, there is generally a decrease in TMB. It will therefore be necessary to eat less since the caloric need is lower. But by doing regular physical exercise and especially weight training, it is possible to increase your BMR. It is advisable to do workouts with periods of high intensity (in English: HIIT).