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Saturday, 3 May 2014

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Nutrition

Everything you have always wanted to know about Metabolism: what it is, what it is influenced by, how intense exercises should be to lose weight, and much more.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which our bodies burn calories to satisfy their energy needs. 
It is determined by a combination of energy and biochemical reactions that take place in the human body to provide enough energy to satisfy the needs of body tissues, starting from the food we eat.

What are the factors that influence metabolism?

Metabolism is influenced by physical activity, diet and basal metabolic rate. The latter corresponds to the minimum energy expenditure at rest, that is, the energy consumption required to maintain vital functions.
In sedentary individuals, this rate is lower than in physically active individuals. Thanks to physical activity it is possible to increase energy expenditure at rest since a greater quantity of muscle mass determines higher metabolic demands, thus burning a higher number of calories at rest.

What is the best activity for accelerating my metabolism?

We recommend a combination of high intensity toning with weights, machinery or floor exercises together with aerobic activity such as running and swimming, walking and cycling.
Doing this will help you increase muscle mass and, therefore, increase your metabolism even when you are at rest, plus a reduction in the fat mass thanks to resistance activity. Having good muscle tone helps to burn more calories both during and after physical activity.
Strength and resistance activities also result in high energy expenditure for hours after the end of your workout session.

How intense must workouts be to lose weight? How can I check the intensity?

The ideal intensity to ensure that physical activity achieves benefits in terms of weight loss is represented by sustaining a workload while maintaining your heart rate at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
Various formulae can be used to calculate your maximum heart rate (MAXHR). 
The simplest formula is to subtract your age from 220.
The formula proposed by Karvonen is a more precise method which takes account of the state of fitness of the person exercising. After calculating your MAXHR with 220-age, you need to measure your resting heart rate and subtract it from the MAXHR you have just calculated. 
By multiplying the result by the percentage of intensity you wish to achieve and adding your resting heart rate back to this new result, you can obtain the heart rate you should maintain during your workout to guarantee consumption of fat.

Is working out on an empty stomach really effective?

Working out before breakfast certainly provides advantages since it increases the quantity of fat you burn due to the lower level of glycemia you have in the morning. 
Since your reserves of sugars are lower, you are certainly more likely to burn more fat.
Working out on an empty stomach may be advised provided that you are careful not to overdo the intensity and duration of the workout. 
When you perform an activity for 30 minutes or fewer, it does not normally pose any health risk. If, however, you overdo workouts on an empty stomach, it may result in muscle catabolism, that is, a reduction in muscle mass because the muscle proteins may be broken down to obtain energy.

Is it better to perform weight exercises first followed by aerobic exercises or the other way round?

That depends on what you want to achieve: but to lose weight, it may be preferable to begin by performing strength exercises in order to use up carbohydrates and therefore reduce their availability to encourage subsequent use of fat during the aerobic activity.

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