I knew that’d get your attention! While I hope not to disappoint…a more appropriate word would be “gender” as it relates to metabolism. But first, let’s talk about our metabolism since it’s important to understand how we can use it to our advantage in keeping a fit body for life.
In past blogs I’ve talked about calories in/out and that not all calories are created equal, but to LOSE weight, there needs to be a negative energy balance or deficit (we need to burn more energy than we take in). That can be done by eating clean, eating less, and moving more.
What does that have to with sex, you ask? Well, quite a lot…let me explain…
Our Resting Metabolic Rate, or RMR, is what we normally think of as our metabolism. It’s basically about 60-75% of our daily energy expenditure and what our body burns performing normal stuff like brain function, breathing, heart beats, etc. So, it makes sense that a taller or larger person would require more energy than a smaller person, right? That’s partially true, but the bigger differentiator is composition. Or muscle vs. body fat. Yep good ol’ fat vs muscle. Generally, athletes have a higher RMR than their non-athlete friends due to more muscle.
What else affects RMR? Age. Yeah, I said it. But it’s because we lose 2-3% of our RMR each decade after 30. Doesn’t have to be so, though…if you lift. Age related muscle decline is NOT something that occurs to everyone. It occurs due to sedentary lifestyles, my friends. That’s a lifestyle choice.
But…I digress and you are waiting to read about SEX, err I mean, gender. And sex DOES impact metabolism. So, here’s the sex part:
Men generally have higher metabolic rates b/c they typically carry less fat and more muscle. As a result, they typically have higher RMRs.
There are other things that can impact RMR…like hormones, having a high fever, or dealing with an injury or illness.
I do want to share a word of caution regarding energy intake. If you take in too few calories, your body will break down protein. Less protein/muscle = lower body weight. It’s amazing how the body works, but if you don’t give it the necessary amino acids, it will steal them from your muscles. So that “weight loss” is simply muscle break down and not fat. That is NOT the result you want, trust me. That kind of weight loss will slow your metabolic rate and you will need fewer calories. Plus, the less you eat, the more efficient your body gets in using calories, again resulting in fewer calories needed.
So, if you aren’t up to changing your gender, you can boost your metabolic rate by moving more, lifting weights, and focus on clean eating as there are differences with the thermic impact of food.
Oh…and there IS another way to increase RMR and that is living and exercising in a tropical climate, which can increase RMR from 5-20%! Now that’s a prescription I want!