"Secrets" of Weight Loss: Part 4: Metabolism

June 21, 2023

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There are several components of your metabolism – all of which are in your control: your lean body mass, your aerobic fitness level, and how metabolically active your muscles are.

Let’s begin to examine each component of your metabolism and dispel some of the mysteries. Your metabolism starts with your lean body mass. Your lean body mass is your muscles, your bones, your organs and the fluids of your body.

What’s the first thing you notice? No part of your lean body mass is made from sugar. You can’t make muscles out of sugar (carbohydrates or alcohol). You cannot make heart muscle (the single most important muscle in your body) out of sugar. In fact, it is sugar/carbs that raise insulin that raises inflammation that destroys your heart. Your lean body mass, your metabolism is made of protein. The higher the quality of protein you put into your body, the higher the quality, the more active your metabolism.


That is just one of many reasons why it is so important for you to get one gram of animal protein per pound of body weight into your body every day – to build and enhance your lean body mass. Lack of high quality protein leads to weak flabby muscles, weak bones, a weak heart, and a slow metabolism. Just another reason to start your day with a JDD shake.

Person cross-country skiingYour aerobic fitness level is a component and a determiner of how fast or slow your metabolism is. Oxygen stokes the fire of your metabolism. The more oxygen your body can process, the faster and more active your metabolism. Your body requires lots of oxygen to burn fat. Anytime you exercise and you puff and pant, you are not burning fat. To burn fat, you have to go at a pace where you can breathe comfortably through your nose.

As you get in better and better aerobic shape, you can exercise harder and harder without panting. World class marathoners can run at faster than a 5 minute per mile pace without panting. World class marathoners are extremely lean and have blast furnace metabolisms.


Man exercising outdoorsOxygen

How do you train your body to use more oxygen? The most effective way is to involve more lean body mass in your aerobic exercise. THE measure of aerobic fitness is maximum oxygen uptake. The most fit athletes on the planet are cross country skiers. An average person has an oxygen uptake of about 20. A very fit person is around 40. A national class athlete is in the 50’s and 60’s. Olympic Gold Medal winning marathoners are in the 70’s and 80’s. World class cross country skiers are in the mid to upper 90’s.

Man walking with hand weightsWhat do you notice when you see the Winter Olympics and you watch cross country ski races? They are using their entire body. Doing full body aerobic exercise will get you into the highest level of aerobic fitness. This is one reason I have been such an advocate of walking with Heavy Hands since 1982. Heavy Hands is an exercise program developed by Dr. Leonard Schwartz in the late 1970’s. I started doing Heavy Hands in 1982. When I met Dr. Leonard Schwartz in the mid 1980’s, he was 84 years old with a resting heart rate of 32 and 7% body fat. He was obviously in amazing shape.

Cross Country Skier Heavy Hands is a perfect segue into another major component of your metabolism – how metabolically active is your muscle tissue? When you consistently exercise your muscles aerobically, microscopic changes begin to take place in your muscles. These microscopic changes are called mitochondria. Mitochondria are microscopic organelles or organisms inside your muscle cells. Mitochondria are your energy factories. Mitochondria convert the food you eat into ATP – the currency of energy used in every cell in your body. As you get more aerobically fit, there are more and more mitochondria in your muscle cells. Under a microscope, a highly aerobically fit muscle cell looks like a bag of rice it is so packed with mitochondria. When it comes to metabolism, this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. One of the beauties of mitochondria? They never sleep. Mitochondria burn calories 24 hours a day.

Woman working outAerobic Exercise

In summary, your metabolism in is your control. Starting with your lean body mass. First, you need to feed your lean body mass enough high quality animal protein like Joe Dillon shakes and pasture raised eggs so you get one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Second, you need to get in the best aerobic shape you can because the more oxygen your body can process, the more dynamically active your metabolism. And thirdly, you need to do full body aerobic exercise like Heavy Hands walking to stimulate your entire upper and lower body muscle cells to produce more mitochondria. Mitochondria are the metabolism of your metabolism burning fat and calories 24 hours a day to produce ATP – the energy of your energy which never sleeps. You can see how fit and lean men and women full body aerobic athletes of all ages are. The synergy of combining a low carb, moderate protein, higher fat eating plan with a full body aerobic exercise program will really rev up your metabolism, burn off your excess body fat and tone your entire body. You can clearly see this is all within your control. You are worth it. Do it for your future self.

Thank you for listening.