Calculating your personal metabolism

Minute 1: Anabolism vs. catabolism

One of the guilty pleasures of regular running is planning our refueling with another mile or 2 still ahead of us on the road or trail. Our run sometimes provides the excuse to refuel with whatever is handy or whatever tastes best in the moment. As Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray has explained, “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything.” Even an epic pavement pounder like McGillivray learned the hard way that the furnace won’t completely burn the stuff that can lead to clogged arteries. Many of us rely too heavily on our furnaces and believe that our metabolism will keep us healthy and trim. We learned a lot more about how human metabolism works last week in this piece from the Cleveland Clinic: "Anabolism vs. Catabolism: The Role They Play in Your Metabolism." Anabolism takes nutrients, cells, etc., and bonds them to make bigger structures, promoting healing. Catabolism is akin to digestion, breaking down the foods you consume and using the fuel produced immediately while storing the remainder for later (fat). The takeaway is this: anabolism = anaerobic, catabolism = aerobic. Understanding that a combination of targeted exercise can impact specific aspects of your metabolism will help you keep it on track. Dr. Chih-Hao Lee of Harvard explains that you can trigger your metabolism to work harder in this story from earlier this year: “The truth about metabolism.” Your personal metabolic rate and healthy weight loss is impacted by the “right'' type of exercise (think intervals, weight training, and drinking green tea). All of this ties into what you've probably heard of as "fast or slow metabolism" which really is an individual's basal metabolic rate (BMR). If you're curious about your BMR, you can use this calculator to estimate it for you.


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