The metabolism pyramid

The four factors with the greatest influence on your metabolism

I'm sure you've heard the word metabolism, probably too many times, but do you know what it is?

You don't need a degree in biochemistry or nutrition, but once you know the four factors with the biggest impact on metabolism, you can use that to your advantage.

But first of all, it's important to know, what is a calorie?

Calorie is a unit of measurement, more precisely, it is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of water, 1°C.

Everyone has a different caloric need, so there is no global measure.


Metabolism Pyramid

The pyramid is composed of:

  • BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate
  • NEAT (+NEPA) – Thermogenesis of activity without exercise
  • TEA - Thermal effect of physical activity
  • TEF - Thermic effect of food

Basal Metabolic Rate - BMR

The BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories that an individual burns daily at rest, just enough to breathe, reason and survive.

If we have to give a weight to this pyramid factor, it's about 60% of our daily caloric expenditure.

This value is directly associated with body weight, body composition, gender, age and genetics.

Inevitably, generally speaking, a larger body has a higher BMR.

Generally speaking, this is why women have a lower caloric need than men.


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Thermogenesis of activity without exercise – NEAT

The NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Expenditure) is the number of calories burned to remain stable, whether typing on Facebook or performing other activities that are not directly related to physical exercise.

If we include NEPA (Non effort physical activity) in this category, it is possible to consider activities such as walking the dog, tidying up the house, etc.

Note that this is highly variable, both from day to day and from person to person.


Thermal effect of physical activity - TEA

The TEA (Thermogenic Effect of Activity) is the number of calories burned during exercise.

Usually, based on our case, these are calories lost during cardiovascular training sessions or weight training.

the amount of energy expended on the TEA is clearly dependent on the duration and intensity of the training.


Thermic effect of food - TEF

For some it may come as a surprise, but yes, we also burn calories while eating.

Digestion is an active metabolic process.

Who has never felt hot or sweaty after a big meal? Especially after large amounts of protein.

This TEF (Thermogenic Effect of Food) factor represents about 5-10% of our daily caloric expenditure.

Find some more information about this phenomenon on here.

In light of the above, let us now consider all the variables.

Energy consumed = BMR + NEAT + TEA + TEF

There are people who tend to minimize the bills, with the theory that the law of thermodynamics is simple, just subtract the calories eaten from the calories expended.

As you can see, predicting our caloric expenditure is a more complex process than the one that often makes us want to.

Why does basal metabolism differ between individuals?

Each person burns a certain number of calories per day, which is made up of basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of physical activity (TEA), thermogenesis of activity without exercise (NEAT) and thermic effect of food (TEF).

As such, it doesn't make sense to try to find the perfect formula, nor the magic calculator, to find your required maintenance calories.

The most efficient way to do this is to monitor, as best as possible, your estimated NEAT, TEA and BMR, and also your total calories, in order to approximately find your maintenance calories.

To more easily understand the immeasurable difference, a person with an extremely active job, can burn up to 500 calories more per day, compared to a person with a sedentary job.

And now, what to do with this information?

Basically, by understanding how your body works, you can monitor in more detail what happens every day.

Usually, the people who pay more attention to these details are people in the process of loss of fat.

For those people, here are some tips that might be helpful.

  • The BMR will inevitably go down.
    It's the body's way of defending itself against caloric restriction.
  • NEAT will tend to decrease, due to caloric restriction and extra fatigue, and it is normal to get more rest.
    Here the proposal is to get up as often as possible, consuming the greatest number of calories, which do not create fatigue to what already exists in the TEA.
  • People tend to bet on increasing the caloric deficit by increasing the TEA in the form of cardiovascular exercise, or exercise/metabolic circuits.
    It may be a bad idea, considering that if there is no monitoring and management of fatigue, the tendency may be to lower the BMR and NEAT.
  • To ensure the most efficient TEF, always bet on plenty of protein.
    In addition to being very important for the maintenance of muscle mass at this stage, it contributes with higher TEF values.
Article written by Team Sik Nutrition
The metabolism pyramid

About the author

Team Sik Nutrition, is a recent group of people in love with the world of Fitness. The Team's focus is to guide, educate and motivate those interested in achieving their health and physical / performance objectives. All this sharing is based on scientific facts and experience of the Team members.

The CEO of Team Sik Nutrition, is João Gonçalves. Amateur powerlifter, passionate about Fitness and writing articles.

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