Firefighter Fitness and Metabolism… Part 2
How to Make Your Body Burn More Calories.
Here is the low down on weight gain/loss.
Metabolic Rate is the rate at which the body burns up calories. A body that consumes 2500 calories a day, and burns 2500 calories a day will stay at the same weight. A body consuming 2500 calories daily but burning only 2000 will gain weight at the rate of about 1lb a week.
This may explain why that ‘lucky’ person across the table from you does not get fat from all that junk food; they consume less calories than they burn.
1) Basal Metabolic Rate (Metabolism or BMR) — This is the amount of calories you burn just by being alive – even when you are lying down, doing nothing. BMR accounts for approximately 60% of the calories burned for an average person.
2) Burning Calories with Activity- This is the energy used during movement – from lifting your arm to driving your car to cleaning the windows. This accounts for approximately 30% of the calories burned by an average person.
3) Dietary Thermogenesis — The ‘thermogenic effect’ described as meal- (induced heat production – the calories burned in the process of eating, digesting, absorbing and using food.
You can influence all these factors, and speed up your rate of burning calories using some, or all, of the following tactics:
1) Build Muscle—Increase the amount of muscle in your body. For every extra pound of muscle you put on, your body uses around 50 extra calories a day. In a recent study, researchers found that regular weight training boosts basal metabolic rate by about 15%. This is because muscle is ‘metabolically active’ and burns more calories than other body tissue even when you’re not moving. If you need help getting on track with a fitness program, you can get one here (click here to start getting Fire Rescue Fit).
2) Move More-Although the average person burns around 30% of calories through daily activity, many sedentary people burn around 15%. Simply being aware of this fact – and taking every opportunity to move can make quite a dramatic difference in the amount of calories you burn. Aerobic exercise should also be performed regularly not only to burn calories but also to work the heart. Try this, wear a pedometer or a fitbit (or similar) around the station, see if you can get above 10000 steps in a day (shift).
In addition to the actual amount of calories burned during exercise – studies have shown that after sustained, high-intensity exercise (like that in the FRF Workout Programs) you burn more calories for several hours.
3) Eat Smaller and Often-There is some evidence to suggest that eating small, regular meals will keep your metabolism going faster than larger, less frequent meals. There are two reasons why meal frequency may affect your metabolism. First, levels of thyroid hormones begin to drop within hours of eating a meal, and metabolism slows. Second, it may be that the thermogenic effect of eating several small meals is slightly higher than eating the same amount of calories all at once. Provided your small meals don’t degenerate into quick-fix, high fat, high sugar snacks, eating little and often can also help to control hunger and make you less likely to binge.
To find out how many calories you are burning each day, and how many you are eating – try to log your food. There are plenty of websites that allow you free access to calorie databases (myfitnesspal.com, fitday.com) Try to log a couple of days, I think you would be surprised at what you find out about how many calories your consuming.
I hope these tidbits of information help to motivate you to get on a regular workout program….the benefits of exercise (proper exercise) are endless for the fire rescue athlete.
Stay safe and Get FRF!
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