Why Your Metabolism Matters and What You Can Do

metabolism matters | Live FitMetabolism is the chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.

Where does Energy come from?

  1. The sun
  2. Plants
  3. Animals
  4. Humans
  5. Macronutrients

Energy Forms

  • Carbohydrates are classified as:
    • Simple (or sugars):
      • glucose, fructose, sucrose or maltose. . . any word that ends in “ose”.
    • Complex (or starches):
      • potatoes, pasta, grains, etc.
    • Fiber
      • Soluble or insoluble (can’t digest).
        • Soluble: peas, beans, apples.
        • Insoluble: bran, husk


Carbohydrates are the chief source of energy for all body functions and the only source for the brain. Carbs are not stored in great amounts. Therefore they can be depleted very rapidly. This leads to fatigue, trouble thinking and cravings for this macronutrient.

Carbs also assist in the regulation and digestion of protein and fat.

How much carbohydrates should a person eat each day? Experts recommend anywhere from 20% to 60% of you daily calories come from carbohydrates depending on type, intensity and duration of activities.



  • Growth
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • Synthesis of hormones,
  • Enzymes and peptides
  • Energy (when necessary)

Proteins are made from 20 amino acids. The combinations are similar to that of the alphabet; different combinations of amino acids make up all the different proteins in the body.

Eight of these amino acids are termed “essential” because they cannot be produced in the body. They must be obtained through nutrition.

Experts recommend eating anywhere from .8g/kg/d to 2g/kg/d of protein depending on type, intensity and duration of activities.


Categorized as:

  • Saturated
  • Animal fats
  • Trans-fatty acids – these are the result of hydrogenation (adding a hydrogen molecule to an unsaturated fatty acid). This makes the oils firm at room temperature and increases the shelf life. Some studies show that it decreases HDL (good) cholesterol and increases LDL (bad) similar to saturated fats. Many experts think trans-fatty acids are even worse than natural occurring saturated fats.
  • Unsaturated fatty acids
    • Monounsaturated
      • Olive, canola, peanut, almond, avocado
    • Polyunsaturated
      • Corn, Flaxseed, Hemp, Pumpkin Seed, Safflower, Sesame, Soybean, Sunflower and cold-water fish Omega-3 FA).
      • PUFAs provide important essential fatty acids, or fats that cannot be manufactured by the body but are essential for proper health and functioning. They have also proven to increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol whereas saturated fatty acids increase LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Lipids are the most concentrated source of calories in the diet. They act as carriers of fat soluble vitamins A, D and K.

Fats are involved in the following:

  • Cellular membrane structure and function
  • Regulation and excretion of nutrients in the cells
  • Surround, protect and holding in place, organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver
  • Insulate the body from environmental temperature changes and preservation of body heat
  • Prolong the digestive process resulting in a longer lasting sensation of fullness after a meal
  • And much more. . .


Acts very much like carbohydrates in the body, except that is slows down metabolism.


Is necessary for life. Drink your body weight in ounces of water each day.


Necessary for life. Breath deep and fully using your diaphragm to pull the air down to the bottom of your lungs.

Energy Uses

Energy is required in every metabolically active cell in the body.

  • Organs
    • Skin, brain, heart, intestines, liver, skeletal muscle, etc.
  • Transportation of compounds across cell membranes.
  • Conversion and breakdown of compounds.
  • Digestion.
  • Growth.
  • Repair.
  • Maintenance.
  • Movement.

* Fat cells do not require energy during storage.

The Thermogenic Effect of Food

The Thermogenic Effect of Food (TEF) (the rise in metabolic rate after eating) occurs as a result of the chemical process (metabolism) taking place during digestion and the increased muscular activity and blood flow during digestion.

Energy is used for in all metabolically active tissues in the body – everything except fat and water. For example:

  • Organs
  • Skin, brain, heart, intestines, liver, skeletal muscle, etc.
  • Transporting compounds across cell membranes
  • Converting and breaking down compounds (e.g., macronutrients to E or storage)
  • Digestion
  • Growth
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • Movement

Energy Systems

All energy sources supply ATP to the muscles to be used as energy powering movement and metabolism.

  1. Immediate Energy Stores (Anaereobic Phosphogen System)
  • Fuel source = primarily Creatine Phosphate
  • Duration = < 10 sec
  • Intensity = 95% – 100% of max intensity
    • Example = sprint, power lift
  • Oxygen used = none.
  • The body only stores about 1 sec of ATP and must synthesize more on demand
  1. CP + ADP  [creatine kinase]  ATP Anaerobic Glycolysis (Anaereobic Glycolytic System)
  • Fuel source = Carbohydrates
  • Duration = 10 sec to 3 minutes
  • Intensity = 85% – 95% of max intensity
  • Example = 400m to 800m run, 50m swim
  • Oxygen used = no Glycolysis will occur with or without oxygen present Aerobic (Oxidative) System (Mitochondrial Respiration)
  • Fuel source = Carbohydrates, Fat, Protein
  • Duration = > 3 minutes
  • Intensity = < 85% Example = > 1,500m run, > 3,000m cycling
  • Oxygen used = yes
  • Aerobic metabolism occurs in the mitochondria when oxygen supply is sufficient to meet the demands of the activity
  • During light to moderate exercise, carbs supply approximately 40% to 60% of the total energy requirements through aerobic glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration.

Protein is not a major source of energy during any form of exercise. It accounts for less than 10% of total energy needs.

Energy Storage

Adipose tissue is a kind of body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy. Adipose tissue also acts to cushions and insulates vital organs.

Muscle and Liver Glycogen (the storage form of Glucose) supplies energy quickly, but for short duration.

Related Topics

  • Metabolic “Set Point”
  • Meals  5 – 6 well balanced, small meals. Will make the body comfortable that nutrition is readily available. Excess fat will be burned.
  • Muscle  larger muscles use more energy than smaller muscles. Increased muscle mass will increase energy use.
  • Activities  greater activity and intensity requires more energy. The more you do, the more energy you will use.
  • Energy input – energy output (use) = energy storage
  • Effects of training and detraining – the importance of consistency
  • Muscle growth from training


  • Eat a balance of 40-30-30, carbs, protein, fat every time you eat.
  • Eat as close to nature as possible – fresh, unprocessed, whole, raw foods
  • Eat every 2 – 4 hours
  • Eat a wide variety of foods


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