Tag: metabolism

Metabolism…what is that?

Our RMR test uses a Cardiocoach machine to measure the amount of oxygen you breathe out compared to the oxygen level in the air (muscle will use more of the oxygen in the air you are breathing compared to fat). The test consists of you sitting in a chair breathing through a tube with a nose clamp on for about 13 minutes. Once done the machine gives you your RMR number and estimates your other TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) numbers to give you your daily metabolism.


What this TDEE/Metabolic number is good for:

1.   It tells you how many calories your body needs in a day with normal daily activities

2.   It can tell you how many calories you need to eat based on your TDEE number to lose weight

3.   It can help calculate you how many more calories you need to eat to build muscle

4.   Your nutritionist will need this number to help design an appropriate food plan


Tips for prepping for an RMR test:

•   Doing the test in the morning is better so you are in a more rested state

•   Try not to eat or drink anything 4 hours before the test

•   Do not do any exercise the day before the test

•   No coffee or stimulants


Ways to increase your metabolism:

1.   Increase lean muscle mass

2.   Adequate sleep

3.   Decreased stress

4.   Small frequent meals

5.   Adequate water consumption

6.   Regular exercise


For more information please contact Fitness Director, Jacob Luckey, at jluckey@sacdt.com.

Strength Training for Women: Dispelling Misconception

Myth 1: Strength training causes women to become larger and heavier.
Actually, strength training helps in decreasing body fat and increasing lean body mass (muscle mass). Many people when trying to lose weight overlook the benefits of strength training for fear of weight gain. Now, there may be a slight increase in body weight initially but the key to losing weight has very little to do with the number on your bathroom scale. “Your weight reflects only the amount of fat, muscle and other substances in your body; if you lose weight you cannot determine what you have lost, fat or muscle.” This is why your metabolic rate (metabolism) is important. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. This figure is mostly dependent upon your specific body composition, the relative amounts of fat and muscle in your body. Muscle burns more calories than fat! With understanding this concept, if weight loss is your goal you should focus on fat loss and muscle gain. Lowering your overall bodyfat and increasing your lean body mass (muscle) will help you to burn more calories throughout the whole day.

Now, I get a lot of questions regarding size and strength training. “I don’t want to get big.” Women that get big in the weight room already have a genetic predisposition for muscle growth (hypertrophy) and train with high volume, high intensity exercise programs. The best way to increase muscle size is by lifting light weights with more repetitions and to increase strength by lifting heavy weights with low repetitions. Muscle size will usually not increase as much as it will with lighter weights and more repetitions. A general rule is that heavy weights for about five reps or less is better for strength and more reps and lighter weight is better for size. Therefore, an exercise program that varies the intensity from heavier weights, fewer reps (5–8) to lighter weight more reps (12–15) 2 – 3 days per week is just what you need to give your metabolism that boost to help you “loss weight” without “getting big”.

Myth 2: Women should use different exercise programs than men.
It was once thought that using free weights, plyometrics (high velocity, low force) body weight or even manual resistance would cause injury.

In fact, there is no evidence that woman are more likely to be injured during strength training than man. Using proper form and technique when exercising is the key for both men and women in reducing the risk of injury. Following a strength-training program that gradually increases the intensity and load will also help in reducing the risk of injuries.

Myth 3: Women should avoid high-intensity or high-load training.
Strength training programs that most women perform are light weight in nature. Often such programs are below those necessary for physiologic adaptations and are much lower than those used by men.

“Most women are able to train at higher volumes and intensities than previously believed. In fact, women need to train at intensities high enough to cause adaptation in bone, muscle, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.” Thus, training at lower levels will keep physiologic benefits to a minimum and in turn, will keep you from reaching your goals. To get the most benefit from your strength training program, one should, occasionally lift weights at or near repetition maximum for each exercise.

Using the OVERLOAD principle is one way to ensure you get the most out of your strength training routine. There are three ways one can overload: by increasing the weight, the repetitions, and the sets. As discussed earlier, strength is increase more by lifting heavy loads for fewer repetitions than by lifting light loads for higher repetitions. So, if you are now able to lift a given amount of weight 15 times instead of 8 times, you are ready for an overload change. Here we have used both weight and repetitions as the overload. You can also use just repetitions as a way to overload. Trying to increase the reps puts added stress on the muscles. As muscle strength increases the number of reps you can do increase. Be aware that at some point weight will need to be increased as well to ensure proper overloading. Also, by adding a second or third set will allow those muscles to work harder even at the same intensity.

Remember, that lifting weights (strength training) is a great tool for increasing ones strength for overall functioning, preventing osteoporosis, speeding up your metabolism and losing weight. It takes a lot of hard work with varying intensities, rest periods between sets and how much food you consume to “get big” in the weight room. And that bathroom scale isn’t showing you the whole truth.

Break-FAST, Rev Up Your Fat Burning Machine!

You know the how the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” It’s true. Studies show that eating breakfast can dramatically help a person lose weight and/or maintain a slim figure. Now, this doesn’t mean you get to order that tasty pastry at Starbucks or eat a bowl full of sugary cereal. What you choose for breakfast will make a huge difference in your overall health and how your body will burn fat.

After fasting all night, breakfast will kick start your metabolism and give you long lasting energy if you choose the right foods such as whole grains, fruits, non-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, etc. Watch out for foods loaded with refined sugars! These foods offer little nutritional value and will cause your blood sugar to rise and fall very quickly. Leaving you feeling tired and hungry, and in my case, cranky. No bueno.

The sooner you eat, the sooner your body will become a fat burning machine. Yes please! Here is one of my favorite recipes for guys and gals who tell me you do not want to wake up 10 minutes early to prepare breakfast.

Oatmeal While You Sleep
This recipe uses steel cut oats and a slow cooker; assemble the ingredients before bed and breakfast will be waiting for you in the morning.

1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped apple
4 cups water
½ cup non-fat or low-fat milk
¼ – ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pecans make a great addition)


  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the nuts, in a slow cooker and set to low heat.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and let cook for 8-9 hours overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir the oatmeal and add the nuts.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

If you would like more ideas for a healthy, fat-burning breakfast, please contact personal fitness trainer Stephanie Weishaar.

When Should You Re-Test Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

Scenario: A member started a work out program six months ago and had their resting metabolic rate tested. At what point should RMR be retested?

Resting metabolic rate is an individual’s nutritional consumption needs, having this value measured allows for the mathematically precise amount of calories needed to gain, maintain, or lose weight – all depending on the individual’s goal.

After participating in a workout regimen for a given time, such as six months, the body’s caloric demands change. If someone is trying to lose weight, and they hit a plateau of weight loss, they would need to retest their RMR; or if someone is trying to gain muscle mass, and they hit a plateau of weight gains, they would also need to retest their RMR.

With any change in body composition, such as an increase in fat free mass, caloric needs fluctuate. Because muscle burns three times as many calories as fat, a more muscular physique would require more calories than the average overweight physique. The transition into a more muscular body thus causes an increase in metabolism; burning the calories consumed even more quickly then before. This has a snowball effect, as you burn more calories you continually lose body fat, creating a larger fat free mass, again increasing your metabolism.

Factors that contribute to RMR include:

  • Body weight – more body weight requires more calories
  • Muscle mass – each pound of muscle consumes up to 50 calories a day for maintenance
  • Frequency of meals – the body knows to store less fat as it gets fed regularly
  • Hydration levels – slight dehydration can decrease your metabolism by 2%
  • Age – as we age the amount of muscle in our bodies decrease along with metabolism
  • Genetics – Pituitary and Thyroid issues can cause one to gain weight uncontrollably (this occurs in less than 1% of our population).
  • Environment – warmer climates have higher metabolism as they don’t need to store the energy for heat that the colder climates do
  • Gender – men burn more calories daily than women, and women naturally need to store ~ 10% more body fat then men

If you have any questions about resting metabolic rates or would like to schedule an appointment to find out what your RMR is; please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Losing Weight Safely

It is safe to say that a majority of our population today is looking to lose weight, but most are unsure of how to go about doing so. Whether it may be a few pounds or 30, most are striving to get to a place where they are comfortable, confident and healthy. Unfortunately, this leaves many turning to fad diets and/or extreme exercise measures to drop the pounds quick. While you may lose weight initially, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good. There is no supplement, no magical device and no “fad diet” to help you lose weight. The safest and best way is tried and true…through nutrition and caloric expenditure.

Many gym goers believe that weight loss is 80% what you do in the gym and 20% of what you put in your mouth. This is the first mistake many people make. If you would like to see any substantial change in your physique, nutrition is one of the most important factors to the equation. Getting your nutrition under control should be your top priority, followed by your daily exercise.

Weight loss is an equation, we burn a certain number of calories per day based on our metabolic rates. Calories come in through the fuel we feed ourselves and calories are expended either through exercise or everyday functions and daily living. The goal in this equation is to consistently make a big enough deficit in our caloric intake/output to then yield a lower number on your scale. Sound confusing? Well by numbers it is actually much easier than you think!

The first thing we need to find is your RMR* (resting metabolic rate) or how many calories your body burns in a day. You also have to determine what rate you would like to lose weight, I would recommend to achieve safe and permanent weight loss stick to .5-2lbs per week, meaning you need to create a deficit in calories through diet, exercise or both and consistently stick to that deficit.

So, since 1lb=3500 calories…

  • To lose .5lbs/wk you must make a deficit of 250 cals/day
  • To lose 1lb/wk you must make a deficit of 500 cals/day
  • To lose 2lbs/wk you must make a deficit of 1000 cals/day

Take and utilize the following example to jump start your own weight loss!
So let’s say I want to lose 2lbs per week and my RMR=2300 cals/day. I would need to make a 1000 calorie deficit per day in order to stay consistent with my weight loss. Cutting 1000 calories out of our diet would be a bold task, the safest way to make this deficit is to cut back on food intake while also supplementing with exercise.

On days that I exercise I will strive to burn at least 400 calories (which is equal to about 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise) this will allow me to only have to cut 600 calories out of my diet.

After taking my RMR I have found that I expend approximately 2300 calories per day.
Our equation would look something like this…

  • RMR=2300 cals so to create a 1000 calorie deficit I must subtract 400 cals(from exercise)-600 cals(through diet) to equal 1000 calories expended.
  • So now that we have our deficit we can determine how many calories we should eat per day. We do this by taking our RMR and subtracting our 600 calories we will cut out of our diet to contribute to the deficit.
    • RMR=2300 cals-600 cals(through diet)=1700 calories total to consume/day.

On days that I do not exercise I have to be cautious to still maintain a deficit making it a little more difficult if I wanted to stick to my 1000 calorie deficit. This would mean I would have to limit my intake to 1300 calories on those days; although you may choose to consume slightly more as long as you stay within a deficit you should not gain weight.

Getting a grip on your nutrition will not only help yield promising results but will also give yourself a sense of empowerment knowing that you are in control of your results. You might find that the simple act of being aware of how much is going in and what effort is being expended will make you feel better in its own. Now granted there are a number of other factors that can go into weight loss, this is one of the safest tools you can use when it comes to planning out your weight loss safely and remember it is always a good idea to speak to a physician first before you begin any weight loss program! If you have any questions on how to set up an RMR test or how to get started on your weight loss program please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Christine Moore at 206-443-1111 x292.