Regular exercise, in combination with a balanced diet, is the most effective and healthiest way to keep your metabolism on track. So far so good - but why is an active metabolism so important? Why can a "negative energy balance" have positive effects and what is actually the "basal metabolic rate"?
The technical term metabolism means "change" or "transformation" and sums up what metabolism is all about: absorbed food is converted into energy and waste products are removed from our organism. In summary, this process is the basis of all vital processes in our body.
The logical consequence: if our metabolism is in balance, we feel balanced and fit as well as healthy. As a result, we are less susceptible to colds or serious illnesses. So it pays to keep the metabolism on its toes.
In order for this complex as well as life-sustaining process to function optimally, we must supply our body with a certain amount of energy (=basic metabolic rate). If we feed our body with too much energy, it is not simply excreted. Instead, it stores it for "bad times", e.g. in fatty tissue, and we gain weight.
In order not to gain or lose weight, a "negative energy balance" is our goal: If we need more energy, e.g. through sport, the body falls back on the bunkered reserves. Sport builds up muscles, which per se also consume energy at rest. The basal metabolic rate therefore increases. Of course, a negative energy balance can also be achieved through crash diets. However, our body gets used to the reduced energy supply due to evolutionary processes and reduces its overall consumption. In addition, it does not only fall back on fat deposits, but also on muscle mass - which in turn is important for our basal metabolic rate. What's more, this "crowbar" mentality takes its revenge in the form of a bitter yo-yo effect.
Sport therefore supports our negative energy balance. But in order for the body to continue to run at full speed, we naturally need the "right" energy, otherwise we may become slimmer, but we probably won't feel well and will be more susceptible to illness. A balanced and healthy nutrition should be tailored to the personal metabolic type and cover the individually optimal amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Which macronutrients the body utilizes better than others is a question of genes.
The combination of an individually tailored nutrition plan with exercise is therefore the logical key to a fit metabolism or healthy and sustainable weight management.
This article has been reviewed by Mag. Kathrin Kittl (Ernährungswissenschafterin) for accuracy of content.