Fitness Tips

Women, Exercise & Metabolism

In any fitness environment it is not unusual to see women who exercise on a daily or near-daily basis and watch what they eat while still complaining that they cannot lose weight. Many complain of having a slow metabolism but do not even know what metabolism means. Metabolism is all the reactions by which the body obtains and spends the energy from food. Their are three broad categories going on in your body:

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

Thermic Effect of Physical Activity (TEPA)

RMR is the number of calories a body must burn to maintain physiological function or other words, Live.

There are a number of factors that affect RMR:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Fat free mass
  • Menopause
  • Dietary habits
  • Hormonal factors

TEF is the number of calories burned during the digestion process; this accounts for approximatly 10% of the calories expended in a given day.

The number of calories burned are influenced by 3 factors:

  • the composition of the foods eaten
  • the amount eaten at one time
  • the frequency of meals

TEPA; Physical activity includes activities of daily living and non exercise activity thermogenosis, which is a fancy word for fidgeting.

So for a healthy metabolic rate you need to make lifestyle changes that will create a small daily caloric deficit that will keep your metabolic rate high to facilitiate weight loss.

To maximize a woman’s maximal caloric expenditure:

  • Mode
  • Intensity
  • Frequency
  • Duration
  • Progression

Why do woman who want to lose weight make a beeline for the cardio room and shun the weight room? Often women avoid resistance exercise on the grounds that it does not burn fat. This is so wrong. Strength training is performed at a higher intensity than cardio training. Since muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat mass, maintaing and increasing lean mass increases metabolic rate.  And since muscle weighs more than fat, you might see that the scale is not going down. Don’t worry, this is normal.

Working out with intensity is very important. Even though a smaller % of fat is burned at highter intensities, more total fat and calories are burned at higher intensities because of a higher rate of caloric expenditure.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a weekly claoric expenditure of 1,500-2,000 kilocalories from increased physical activity. A goal for an average exercise sessions should be to burn between 300-500 kilocalories.

  • 3 days/week, 60+minutes, low-to-moderate, burns about 500 cals
  • 4 days/week, 45 minutes. moderate, burns about 400 cals
  • 5 days/week, 30 minutes, moderate-to-high, burns about 300 cals

Progression means as fitness levels improve, caloric expenditure per minute and fat oxidation both increase.

Burning Fat: Myths and Facts

A popular myth is that there is a specific range of heart rates in which you must exercise to burn fat. Even many cardio machines display a “fat-burning zone” on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. Have you ever wondered if you really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if you venture out of that zone? Jason R. Karp, PhD, a nationally recognized speaker, writer and exercise physiologist who coaches recreational runners to Olympic hopefuls through his company,, sheds light on this issue.

Fuel Use During Exercise

You use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise, with these two fuels providing that energy on a sliding scale. During exercise at a very low intensity (e.g., walking), fat accounts for most of the energy expenditure. As exercise intensity increases up to the lactate threshold (the exercise intensity that marks the transition between exercise that is almost purely aerobic and exercise that includes a significant anaerobic contribution; also considered the highest sustainable aerobic intensity), the contribution from fat decreases while the contribution from carbohydrates increases. When exercising just below the lactate threshold, you are using mostly carbohydrates. Once the intensity of exercise has risen above the lactate threshold, carbohydrates become the only fuel source.

If you exercise long enough (1.5–2 hours), your muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) content and blood glucose concentration become low. This metabolic state presents a threat to the muscles’ survival, since carbohydrates are muscles’ preferred fuel. When carbohydrates are not available, the muscles are forced to rely on fat as fuel.

Since more fat is used at low exercise intensities, people often assume that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat, an idea that has given birth to the “fat-burning zone.” However, while only a small amount of fat is used when exercising just below the lactate threshold, the rate of caloric expenditure and the total number of calories expended are much greater than they are when exercising at a lower intensity, so the total amount of fat used is also greater.

The Bottom Line

For fat and weight loss, what matters most is the difference between the number of calories you expend and the number of calories you consume. Fat and weight loss is about burning lots of calories and cutting back on the number of calories consumed. For the purpose of losing weight, it matters little whether the calories burned during exercise come from fat or carbohydrates.

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Did You Know…Headbands

Whether you favor the 1980’s “Let’s get physical” look or a pony tail, make sure you have band, bobby pins or a hair clip in your . Keeping your hair off your face during a workout will not only help prevent break-outs but will also lessen the amount of perspiration in your hair.

Dry Shampoo

is a great timesaver for days when you have to rush out of the gym. The shampoo, or “shampowder,” can be sprinkled or combed through your hair to absorb the oil generated during a workout. To finish the process, comb out the product and be on your way – no blowout required! Try Tresemme FreshStart Dry Shampoo. Do leave the gym without it.

Working Out Can Benefit Your Skin

Exercise is great for your health and can also help improve the look of your skin. Regular physical activity and sweating out the toxins can boost skin health and add a natural glow.

Exercise gives your complexion a beautiful, natural glow. When you exercise, your skin begins to produce more of its natural oils that help skin look supple and healthy. While that can naturally moisturize skin, remember to cleanse your face gently as part of your when you shower to prevent any breakouts.

Make exercise your secret skin care ingredient for a young, healthier, and smoother complexion.

Knowing Your Target Heart Rate

First you need to know your maximum heart rate (MHR)

subtract your AGE from 220

ex: 33-220= 187

187 is my (MHR)

Now take 85% of 187

which is 159, so this is my target heart rate.

you can work at 60% or 50% too, just replace the 85% to find out your THR.

So I need to keep my heart rate at 159 for 30 min or long to train at 85%. The best way to keep track of your heart rate during a workout is to buy a heart rate monitor. 85% is the magic number for a cardio training workout.

Little side note, if you are on medication for a heart condition, talk to your doctor. Your healthy heart rate might be a little different than you’d expect.