“I have the metabolism of a hibernating bear.” This is how one of my fellow pilots describes himself, as he psyches up for another round of cardio on the hotel elliptical-trainer. Does this sound like a fitting description for you? Perhaps you’ve been genetically blessed with a fast metabolism, more like that of a hummingbird, and your only issue with calories is consuming enough of them. Our metabolism is the single biggest factor in determining our daily caloric requirement. Our caloric requirement does vary day to day depending on our activity level, but our ‘resting’ caloric requirement can only be changed by altering our metabolism. Genetics play a huge role in determining metabolism, but there are many other factors that affect metabolism that you can take advantage of.
Metabolism is defined as the sum of all physical and chemical changes involving energy and material transformations that occur within all our living cells. Each cell has its own energy production center known as the mitochondria, and it is this collective energy production of all cell mitochondria that determines metabolic rate. Along with energy production, two fundamental processes of metabolism are anabolism and catabolism: building up tissue and breaking it down, respectively.