What is Metabolism / Metabolic Rate
The scientific definition of metabolism is a set of life sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms, or in our case the body. These reactions allow for growth, maintenance, digestion and transportation of substances around the body.
Metabolism is usually divided into two categories. Catabolism, which breaks down organic matter and harvests energy, and anabolism that uses the energy to construct components of cells such as protein, which of course is the athlete’s goal.
Metabolic rate therefore is the rate at which your body uses energy to perform all the different tasks necessary for the maintenance, growth and repair etc. just to get through the day. So for example, your rate will be higher during intense exercise than it is just sitting in the chair, and at its lowest when you’re asleep. A good measure of your M.R. is the rate at which your body consumes oxygen (O2), that’s why athletes often talk about their “VO2 max”, this is the maximum rate at which their body consumes oxygen, and so reflecting on their maximum metabolic rate.
So, in plain terms and for us at the gym, your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body creates energy to burn off fat. All the time your digestive system is working, so is your metabolism. You can help raise your M.R. by eating little and often and by exercising. This is important if a healthy weight is to be maintained. An important point to consider is that as we get older our metabolism generally becomes slower as we slow down.
So regardless of age, keep active!