Your metabolism is a term that refers to the body’s ability to convert food into energy. The rate at which your body burns calories determines how much weight you lose, how many pounds you gain and how much energy you have. The metabolic rate factors in two aspects: basal metabolic rate (BMR) and thermic effect of food (TEF). BMR measures the number of calories you burn per day doing absolutely nothing. Thermic effect basically means the calories burned from digesting food (about 10% of total calories).


Metabolism is a term that refers to the body’s ability to convert food into energy.

It’s a process that occurs in every cell of your body and involves breaking down nutrients, absorbing them into cells and converting them into energy.

The speed at which you burn calories depends on several factors: genetics, hormones and age are just some of the things that can influence how quickly or slowly your metabolism works.

Metabolic rate.

Your metabolism is basically how fast your body burns calories. The rate at which you burn food, drink and even breathe determines how much weight you lose, how many pounds you gain and how much energy you have.

It’s important for everyone to understand what their metabolic rate is because it can help them make healthy choices about dieting and lifestyle habits that may affect their health in the long term.

Factors that affect metabolism

Your metabolism is affected by many factors, including your age and gender, genetics, body composition and level of physical activity.

The most important thing to know about metabolism is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all process. Your body uses energy differently depending on how old you are (the older you get the slower your metabolism), what gender you are (men tend to have faster metabolisms than women) and even what kind of genes you were born with.

In addition to these factors being different from person to person, they can also change over time as we get older or after going through weight loss/gain cycles or other major life changes like pregnancy or illness.

Basal Metabolic Rate.

BMR stands for basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body burns at rest. At Marble Strength, we have everyone hop on the InBody scale and we can see there BMR there. If you aren’t a member, check out the BMR Calculator and you can calculate it on your own.

Your BMR is different for everyone and it’s based on a few factors:

  • Your body size (height and weight)
  • Gender (men tend to have a higher BMR than women)
  • Age (as you get older, your metabolism naturally slows down)

Thermic Effect.

The thermic effect of food is the energy required to digest, absorb and metabolize food. The average person burns about 10% of their total calories through this process, so it’s important to understand how it works if you want to improve your metabolism.

  • Food type matters: The thermic effect varies by macronutrient content (protein vs. fat vs. carbohydrate). Protein has the highest thermic effect at 25%-30% while fat and carbs are closer to 5-10%. This means that if you eat 100 calories of protein, only 75-80 will be available for use as fuel; meanwhile, only 95-100 will be available for use as fuel if those same 100 calories were made up primarily of carbohydrates or fats rather than proteins! Therefore, a diet higher in protein can help boost metabolic rate duelling with weight loss efforts because more energy goes toward digestion rather than being stored as body fat.

Building muscle to increase BMR.

The real way to burn calories is to increase your muscle mass. That means lifting weights.

Let’s say you have a basal metabolic rate of 1,000 calories per day. You eat 1,500 calories per day (yeah right—no one eats that little) and you do spin class for an hour. Let’s say your food choices are pretty good, and you have protein or fat with every meal.

Your BMR + thermic effect from food + exercise = 1,300 calories. You’re still gaining weight. If you did this exact thing every day, you’d gain a pound around every 18 days.

Now let’s say you boost your BMR. The ONLY way to do this is by building muscle.

If your new BMR is 1,200, and you eat the same 1,500 calories per day, the thermic effect of food will be the same. But the calories you burn during exercise will go up along with the calories you burn to live.

Your new BMR, thanks to a bit more muscle, is 1,200.

Your BMR + thermic effect from food + exercise = 1,530. You’ve actually lost a bit of weight. You burn calories right after exercise, when your muscle feeds itself. But you burn far MORE just walking around … and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn off.

Metabolism helps us understand our bodies on a deeper level.

Metabolism helps us understand our bodies on a deeper level. While it’s possible to change your body composition (the percentage of fat vs muscle) through exercise alone, it is definitely more difficult. You can increase or decrease your metabolism by changing your diet or making other lifestyle changes such as sleeping more or less than usual.

Creating a caloric deficit is the first step to losing fat. It’s not the only step. But if I were going to tell a person the first step to weight loss, I’d tell them to lift weights. The second step: Cut out sugar.


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