Losing weight: 6 factors that affect the number of calories you burn

Some factors that promote weight loss are in your control, but most are not. Here’s what you can do to support your metabolism.

If you’ve ever attended a group fitness class where everyone’s heart rate and estimated calorie expenditure are shown on one screen, you know that these statistics vary greatly from person to person. You’ve probably also noticed that, in general, men tend to burn more calories than women. But have you ever wondered why different people burn calories at such different rates, even in the same workout?

The truth is, metabolism, an umbrella term for all of your body’s processes that break down nutrients for energy, fueling growth, and more, is far from straightforward. There is a constant ebb and flow of reactions that build or repair our bodies (anabolism) and reactions that break down food and energy stores for fuel (catabolism). It is an extremely complex subject and very difficult to study. Different factors affect how quickly or how slowly you burn calories at any given time.

Here are the six factors that have the most impact on the number of calories you burn. you burn while exercising

1. Body weight

In general, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn per session. Calories are only a measure of energy, so the more you weigh, the more energy it takes to move your body In other words, from two people of different weights, the one who weighs the most will burn more calories, because it has a greater energy expenditure when moving.

Tall people also tend to have larger internal organs (such as the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs), which is an important factor in the amount of calories burned during exercise and at rest. Because these organs and their processes require energy. One study found that up to 40% of the variation in total calorie expenditure between people could be explained by differences in size of their internal organs.

This is one of the many reasons why losing weight is so complicated. Your body burns fewer calories as your weight drops, which can lead to a weight loss plateau or even weight regain. However, this is not the only reason. A previous study explains that weight loss can trigger other physiological adaptations as well, including the body’s tendency to burn stored fat for energy, a process called fat oxidation; increased hunger, due to higher levels of the hormone ghrelin; and decreased satiety, due to lowered levels of the hormone leptin.

If you are looking to lose weight and you’ve reached a plateau, consider working with a dietitian who specializes in weight loss and can help you reach your goal in a healthy and sustainable way. Also, keep in mind that exercise is good for your overall health whether or not you lose weight. A study published in October 2021 in iScience suggests that while increasing exercise typically does not lead to long-term weight loss, improving fitness Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with better health outcomes and a lower risk of premature death, regardless of weight.

2. Muscle mass

This is where things get a bit tricky. Someone with more muscle mass will burn more calories than someone who is the same weight but less muscle. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Yet claims about the number of calories burned by a pound of muscle are often grossly exaggerated. In fact, it is proven that a pound of muscle burns around five calories per day, while a pound of fat burns around two.

During exercise, muscle mass more will increase your total calorie burn, because your body must produce more energy to support the increased rate of contraction of your muscles. In summary, if you want to increase your calorie intake, consider stepping up your strength training. Weight lifting is proven to burn more fat and that the long-term results are more promising.

3. Gender at birth: male / female difference

Men generally burn more calories at rest and during exercise than women. But the reason is not magic, is because men tend to be taller than women, and have more muscle mass than women of the same age and weight. Men typically burn 5 to 10% more calories than women while at rest, and this percentage is increasing usually with exercise.

And while women can certainly add muscle mass through strength training, physiological differences mean that in general women cannot be as thin as the men. Women are genetically predisposed to accumulate more fat to support hormone production and childbearing. This is because body fat is also essential for functions such as storing energy, protecting internal organs, and supporting key functions such as growth, immunity, hormone production, reproduction and health. metabolism.

Men need at least 2-5% body fat for good health, while women need a minimum of 10 at 13%. But these minimum numbers may not be enough. Although there is no official recommendation for the optimal percentage of body fat, the most cited study on the subject indicates that the healthy range for adults under 40 years is 8 to 20% for men and 21 at 33 % for women. That said, the relationship between health and body fat is complex and not fully understood.

Instead of worrying about how your birth sex affects your calorie burn , focus on the things you can control. The bottom line is that both men and women focus on building muscle and improving cardiovascular health through a balanced program of cardiovascular training and strength training

4. Aging

As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass. After 21 years, you start to lose up to 3-5% of your muscle mass per decade. The reasons for this are not fully understood, but a review published in July 421 in Aging Research Reviews explains that it is probably because your body is becoming more resistant to hormones that promote protein synthesis, essential for maintaining muscle. This loss of muscle mass lowers your metabolic rate, the rate at which you burn calories, both at rest and during exercise.

A study on human metabolism, published in the issue August 2021 of Science, made headlines for its findings that the metabolic rate does not decline throughout adulthood, but rather reaches a plateau between 20 and 60 years, then would start to decline. In this study, the authors measured the energy expenditure of 6 421 men and women aged 8 days to 89 years using the double-labeled water technique, the gold standard for this type of measurement.

While you cannot prevent your body from aging, you can preserve or even increase your muscle mass through regular strength training. Strength training can help you increase your resting metabolic rate, which helps you burn more resting calories over time.

5. Fitness Level

The more you do a certain type of workout, the easier it looks. It’s not in your head, your body is actually adjusting to do things easier over time. Overall this is a good thing. This means that you can run faster or longer with training, and your muscles will be able to lift heavier weights with proper training.

But it also affects your calorie expenditure. As your body adapts to the workout, you will burn fewer calories with the same workouts. From your lungs and muscles, to your heart and brain, your body becomes more efficient as you get in shape. This is why a beginner can burn a lot more calories than someone who has been doing the same workout for years. That’s why changing your workout routine can increase your fitness level and potentially improve your calorie burn.

6. Workout Intensity

It is also possible that two people doing the same workout burn different calories because they are not doing the same workout. A person who exercises at a high intensity, which means you breathe heavily and cannot carry on a conversation, can burn twice as many calories in the same amount of time as a person who exercises at high intensity. low intensity. And just because you walk the same distance as someone else, or perform the same movements, doesn’t mean that you both train at the same intensity.

For example, walking and running have the same benefits in terms of reducing blood pressure and the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. An earlier study has shown that adults who walk a mile burn about 60 calories, while adults who run that same mile burn about 113 calories.

A goal of 150 minutes of low-intensity walking per week is sufficient to achieve many health benefits including reduced anxiety, better sleep, lower blood pressure, better cardiovascular fitness, and reduced risk or slower progression of certain s chronic diseases.

Incorporating higher intensity exercise into your routine will increase your calorie expenditure and further amplify these benefits. To increase the intensity of your workouts, try increasing your speed, range of motion, or the amount of weight you use for strength training.

Ultimately, you should try not to worry too much about things that are beyond your control. Exercise has countless benefits beyond just burning calories, and the most important thing is finding the types of movement that are enjoyable and long lasting. What type of exercise is best for a person ultimately depends on their goals, fitness and abilities.

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