Is your Metabolism Holding You Back?
You’ve probably at least heard the word metabolism, or metabolic rate. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, metabolism basically refers to the process through which our bodies take the food we eat and convert it into energy. We use that energy to go about our daily lives, rebuild tissues, or just sit there and breathe. Even at rest, our bodies burn energy to run your other organs like your heart, liver, or kidneys. Even your brain uses energy to process our thoughts and memories.
Typically we think of our daily food intake in the form of Calories. This is just a number assigned to carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. That number describes approximately how much energy our bodies can get from a certain amount of each.
So how many calories do you need?
We can estimate the amount of calories you your body requires with The Harris Benedict Equation (HBE). This equation takes into account your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level throughout the day to determine your basal metabolic rate. Again, this is an estimate and sometimes that estimate can be a little off.
Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that the equation does NOT take into account. Some of these things are the most important pieces of determining your individual metabolic rate!
The equation is only taking general information and plugging it in to estimate your metabolic rate. Even your activity levels are estimated into a few general categories.
One of the things not in the equation is body composition. In other words, this is how much of your body is made up of body fat versus muscle and organs. Higher levels of lean muscle and lower levels of body fat would increase your metabolic rate, and vice-versa. Therefore, it would be possible for the equation to tell two individuals with very different body compositions to have a similar predicted metabolic rate, even though they would certainly have different rates.
Individual Cellular Health
Another important factor not taken into account by the HBE is personal cellular health. Personal cellular health is dependent on numerous other factors. Things like diseases you have or have had in the past, the area you live in, or even your personal hydration levels all affect how efficient your cells are at converting food to energy.
Every single person’s cells work differently. An equation like the HBE just cannot determine your personal level of cellular health.
Likely the most important factor to consider here is genetics. Our health is greatly affected by what we got from our parents. This can be good or bad for each of us. Our genetic makeup might dictate that your metabolism is faster than someone else who is the exact same age, height, weight, and occupation. This would be great, but our genetics can also mean that your metabolism is slower than normal. Unfortunately, this is one of the few things that we cannot change, and that is why it is one of the most important factors to consider here.
We can, however, optimize all the other factors to make the most of what we get from our genetics.
This is where metabolic testing comes in!
While the HBE mentioned earlier does not account for the things above, we can still get a more accurate measurement of your metabolic rate. RAPS uses a machine called the ReeVue that gives you an exact readout of your personal metabolic rate. What it gives you is your “resting metabolic rate” or RMR. This is the number of calories your body needs on a daily basis to just breathe, sit on the couch, and go about basic bodily functions.
We can then take into account your activity level and give you a precise amount of energy you should be getting on a daily basis!
If you find out that you do have a slow metabolism, RAPS can show you how to get back on track and speed it up!
If you would like to find out more about metabolic testing or to schedule your metabolic test, give us a call at (412) 963-6480 today!