Questions & Answers

From understanding what metabolism means and how it can help with weight loss to finding out if exercising on an empty stomach is really a good thing – discover all the answers to your questions.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which the body burns calories to meet the energy demands of the body. Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and drinks are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.

Which factors influence metabolism?

Metabolism is influenced by physical activity, diet and the basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the energy needed in rest conditions to maintain vital functions such as breathing, your heart beating and your organs working. In someone with a sedentary lifestyle, the BMR will be less than that of someone who’s physically active. Physical activity can increase energy expenditure at rest because a greater amount of muscle mass has greater metabolic demands therefore they use up more calories.

How do you speed up metabolism?

It is recommended that mixed activity which consists of high intensity exercises, toning with weights or machines and aerobic activity such as running, swimming, as well as walking and cycling. This promotes an increase in muscle mass with an increase in metabolism even during rest and a reduction of fat mass. Good muscle tone helps to burn more calories both during exercise and after it. Strength and endurance exercises also maintain a high energy expenditure for several hours after the end of the training session.

What is the correct workout intensity for weight loss?

The ideal intensity of physical activity for weight loss is by exercising with a workload and maintaining a heart rate of 60-70% compared to the maximum one. Knowing your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) allows you to set more accurate heart rate training zones for the highest level of effectiveness, enjoyment and weight loss. It can also show improvement over time, giving you critical feedback on your fitness level.

How do you work out the MHR?

The MHR can be calculated different ways. The simplest way is to subtract your age from 220. 85% Intensity: (220 − (age = 40)) × 0.85 → 153 bpm. The Karvonen method factors in resting heart rate (HRrest) to calculate target heart rate (THR), using a range of 50–85% intensity: THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × % intensity) + HR. This will give you the value frequency to maintain during exercise in order to burn fat and lose weight.

Is it effective exercising on an empty stomach?

Exercising on an empty stomach definitely has advantages because it increases the use of lipids due to the reduced blood sugar level that you have in the morning. It’s ideal not to do too much exercise on an empty stomach – anything up to about 30 minutes doesn’t pose a threat to your health, but longer than this can cause muscle catabolism, where the muscle proteins are used to obtain energy resulting in muscle shrinkage.

It is best to work with weights before doing aerobic exercises?

It depends on the person and their specific weight goal. Generally it’s ideal to do some weights first in strength training to use up carbohydrates and then do some aerobic exercises.

What is the right amount of nutrients for moderate activity?

The energy derived from the three major macro-nutrients – carbohydrates, fats and proteins varies according to your lifestyle. To cover energy needs, you must have the correct amount of nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, vitamins and minerals). Carbohydrates should cover about 60% of individual needs, the remainder being 25% fat and 15% protein.



Read An introduction to losing weight
Read How to lose weight effectively
Read The benefits of losing weight