The Cold Truth About Exercise and Metabolism

truth about BMR

The subject of metabolism and exercise seems to be a popular one. Many people wonder such things as ‘Does exercise increase my metabolism?”, or, ‘Will I burn more calories if I exercise in the morning that at night or the afternoon?”. Today we are going to address these questions, but you might not like the answer that I am going to give.

What is Metabolism?
First of all, lets clarify what metabolism is. Metabolism is process of converting food into energy. All organisms have some sort of metabolism to create energy. The metabolism rate is the amount of calories consumed over a given time. Your Resting Metabolism Rate (RMR) is the amount of calories you would burn over the day if you did nothing but lie around all day. One way to calculate your RMR is to take your weight and multiply by a factor of 10. For example, someone weighing 180 pounds would have a RMR of 1800.

Note: Sometimes the terms Basal Metabolic Rare and Resting Metabolic Rate are used interchangeably. I understand that they are quite similar, but should not be used interchangeably. Just use the RMR term, because it is what most people mean anyway. This link has some information on metabolism and how to calculate your metabolic rate, excluding specific excercise.

When you exercise, or do other physical activities throughout the day, you burn extra calories in addition to the RMR. The more of these physical activities we do, the more calories we burn. At the end of the day, we need to burn more calories than we consume in order to lose weight. This explains metabolism, but really does not answer the questions at hand. Let’s look at those in more detail. These answers are based on a report from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Does running exercise increase my Resting Metabolism Rate?
For those of us that are running for relatively short lengths the RMR is not really affected very much at all. If you are running more than around 45 minutes to an hour several times a week, then your RMR will be increased slightly over the course of the next day, but that is about all.

Does my metabolism continue to stay higher even when I am done with my workout?
According to the article by the American College of Sports Medicine, after a run of less than an hour, your baseline energy level resumes within an hour after the workout. Further, the article goes on to say that during that hour you will only burn about 10 to 30 extra calories. In other words, this amount of calories is peanuts compared to any real results.

So What Should I Do to Burn More Calories
So exercise for the recreational runner such as you and myself does not help us to burn calories after we workout, and it really does not increase our metabolism throughout the day. First of all, this should not be a major blow to you. Now you are a little closer to understanding what it will take to lose weight.

What this truth about metabolism tells us is that we probably cannot outrun our eating habits, and it also tells us that in order to be successful, we must have a good nutrition program and a good running for weight loss program. As we learned from the article from Dr. Rob, exercise will only account for about 20% of the weight loss strategy. The other 80% of your strategy needs to come from a balanced diet, and how many calories you consume. In looking at the exercise portion of that, however, we can try to make our exercise times more effective, and continue to improve our running. Both the running and the nutrition are important parts of the weight loss strategy, and you shoal continue to make improvements in each of these areas.

What Do You Think?
Now that you understand that exercise has little to do with your metabolism rate (and that more  jogging calories are not burned after you run) what will you do to make improvements in your goal of running to lose weight?


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