Losing Body Fat by Increasing Metabolic Cost

Resting Metabolic Rate Test

I recently had a lecture from exercise physiologist and ACE Faculty member Fabio Comana who gave these interesting pieces of information on daily energy usage.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) (doing nothing) is 60 -75% of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure(TDEE). Thermic effect of food represents 10%. Thermic effect (activity) equals 15 to 30%. Essentially, most of your daily metabolic expenditure is done while doing nothing at all.

Obviously there are two things that should concern most people who are trying to burn body fat. The first thing is maximizing your calorie expenditure during exercise and the second thing is increasing your body’s resting metabolic rate.

When you look at the percentages of calorie expenditure it’s clear that by increasing RMR is a big factor in your body’s overall calorie usage as it accounts for 60 to 75% of your daily expenditure, but we must start with an increase in activity in order to maximize its thermic effect.

The goal should be to get your metabolic cost and calorie expenditure during activity up as high as possible. Increasing metabolic cost of exercise can be done in numerous ways. Working with full body exercises is the first thing that contributes to overall calorie expenditure during exercise. Squat and press would be a great example of a full body movement. Another thing that contributes is the addition of added challenges.

A squat on the floor is going to cost the body less than a squat on a bosu half dome for instance because the bosu provides instability and the body is required to utilize more stabilizers, different motor units and neurologically recruit muscle that typically would not be activated during a regular squat. Challenging the nervous system to a higher degree also increases metabolic cost.

Increasing metabolic cost of exercise and at the same time creating small high intensity interval circuits during training sessions can ramp up the total calorie expenditure. Not only that, the high intensity intervals by nature help increase what we all know as the “after burn” affect. This is the period of time 24 to 36 hours after exercise where the body has an increase in metabolic rate.

So the combination allows for maximizing thermic effect of activity as well as your body’s RMR. In essence you’ve killed two birds with one stone in your workouts, maximizing the two major contributors to fat loss.

Rich Thurman, MA, CSCS, CPT

Rich Thurman MA, CSCS, CPT is a Health & Performance Coach and Personal Trainer in from the United States, residing in Bangkok. Co-founder of Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd, Rich has worked with hundreds of people, from collegiate level athletes to every day people helping them reach their sports and lifestyle goals. With a focus on a holistic health approach, providing accountability and structured exercise programs for kids and adults, Rich has successfully helped many people transform their lives and perform better, maximizing their abilities in sports and life. Rich graduated Pre Med from UCLA with a Bachelors Degree in Physiological Science and obtained a Masters Degree in Sports Management from USF. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA and a Certified Personal Trainer. Author of various publications dealing with sports training and nutrition, Rich brings a high level of professionalism to the Bangkok Personal Training arena: www.bangkokpersonaltraining.wordpress.com.

6 thoughts on “Losing Body Fat by Increasing Metabolic Cost

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  • November 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Oh my – I’m struggling to do a squat on level floor so I think I’ll give that bosu half dome a miss!

    I’m sure the theory is sound but I need to perfect my technique first. Somewhere along the last decade squats alluded me. Used to be able to do them fine – now – half way down and I seize up.

    Not a pretty sight I assure you!

    • November 10, 2010 at 12:17 am

      May I suggest hiring a good coach that can take a look at your posture, strengths, flexibility, etc. We do assessments on our clients to determine their limitations and work on corrective exercises until the mobility and flexibility is good enough to do the necessary exercise like squats. Hip mobility, upper back strength and mobility as well as lower back stability are important.You’re right though, squating (body weight of course) on a bosu is a progression. You must crawl before you can walk. Good luck.

      • November 10, 2010 at 12:23 am

        Thanks for the suggestion, Rich. I think keeping the right form while you’re doing an exercise is so important. I believe you can do more harm than good if you’re doing it wrong.

        I shall just keep quietly practicing. I am slowly getting lower!

        • November 10, 2010 at 12:28 am

          You’re welcome. I agree 100% that form is of utmost importance. Are you doing weighted squats or body weight. I’ve actually been squatting with chains lately and I love it. They allow you to get lower because as you get into the deeper part of the squat the weight is unloaded as more chain links are on the floor. Also helps with increased muscle recruitment during the concentric phase. Love it!


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