Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in your body to keep life going. For example, it turns food into energy, builds and repairs tissues, and preserves essential functions like digestion and heart rate in check. For those who lift weights and gain muscle, knowing how the body uses energy is critical to achieving their fitness goals.
The two primary processes of metabolism are anabolism and catabolism. As your body breaks down carbs and fats for fueling muscles during an exercise, catabolism, the breakdown of molecules to produce energy, is essential. After training, anabolism, the process of building proteins and other components of cells, is crucial for muscle growth and repair.
The energy your body requires for essential functions when at rest is known as your basal metabolic rate or BMR. Age, gender, genetics, body composition, and size affect BMR. Since muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue, increasing muscle mass through strength training can raise your BMR, leading to higher calorie burn even when not exercising.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which describes increased energy demands during and after a workout, causes strength training to temporarily raise metabolism. After a workout, your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate due to the "afterburn" effect.
However, metabolism can slow down due to various factors. The primary factor is age. As you age, your metabolism gradually slows down, partially caused by a loss of muscle mass. Since physical activity is essential for sustaining a higher metabolic rate, leading a sedentary lifestyle can also result in a slower metabolism.
Furthermore, an extreme calorie restriction can cause metabolism to slow down. Your body may go into conservation mode when you eat too few calories, which lowers your calorie burn to preserve energy and makes weight management and muscle growth more difficult.
Muscle growth and repair depend on proper nutrition, including enough protein. Hydration is also crucial because water is required for metabolic processes.
Add compound exercises like deadlifts and squats to your training plan to keep your metabolism active. These exercises target numerous muscle groups, improve calorie burning, and help you build muscle.
The Alpha Progression app provides customized, efficient workout plans for strength training regimens that align with your metabolic requirements and fitness goals.