Metabolism – The Basics*

Thursday, 14 May 2020, By Drew Robinson

To put it simply: Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we eat and drink into energy.

Metabolism is broken up into different sections.

The 2 main parts are:

Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) this is the energy we burn when we are resting, your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of energy / calories you need just to stay alive throughout the day. And as you can see from the table it equates up to 70% of the calories for the day.

Non-Resting Energy Expenditure (NREE), this covers all the extra things that we do on top of just staying alive. The first of these is Non-Exercise Thermogenesis commonly known as NEAT.

This is easily the most important one for you to think of and can greatly speed up weight loss results if that is what you are after. This is all the exercise during the day that isn't done by working out. It can be taking the stairs at work, using your stand-up desk more or parking in a spot further away.

These small changes will have a greater effect on your weight loss, rather than sweating it out in the gym.

Trying to be more active in your day to day lifestyle will have a better effect in long term weight loss. As you can see from the scale NEAT is 3 times greater than EAT.

Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT) equates to less than 8% of your daily expenditure for calories. We all get drawn into the conclusion that I must go to the gym and train to burn calories when in fact across the week it doesn't hit the numbers, we think it does. Lots of people overestimate the amount we burn in the gym (this does however, depend on the intensity and duration of the exercise). It pales in comparison to NEAT though so really being active outside of the gym should become a priority.

Lastly, we look at Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). This is energy expenditure for use and storage of foods. Some foods have a greater thermic effect and require longer to breakdown than others. One such food is protein. All your trainers would have banged on about eating more protein in your meals to help with muscle growth and repairing the body but you also burn more calories eating protein. So, by having a higher protein diet can help you lose weight just by eating it.

As trainers we hear people say that they have a 'slow metabolism' or it is 'broken'. For one you can't break your metabolism and you can't kick start it. It is what it is, if it had stopped you would have died. You can help it though by adjusting a few things in your lifestyle and increasing your NEAT. Weight training is also great as this helps increase your muscle mass which in turn increases your BMR, as more muscle needs more energy leading to an increase in expenditure.


*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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