“I must be burning a few calories in this class!” is a common thought after a high paced workout – is it true? Well…..yes and no……as a general guide; one standard choc chip cookie takes about 20 minutes of vigorous exercise to “burn off.”

With this perspective, you may wonder what is the point of exercising!!!

Exercising goes beyond what we see and feel at the time. It affects the way we metabolize (use) energy. Our base metabolism is the amount of energy it takes to keep us alive e.g. breathing. On average, this accounts for about 60% of our total metabolism, and the rest is dependent on what we do and how we live. At this point, our discussion gets very exciting.

If we can increase our metabolic rate, then we will be using more energy just simply breathing – there is a catch! The body must recognize the need to use energy.

If our lifestyle is sedentary, then there is no need for energy expenditure, and the body will divert its resources into storing the energy we consume. If we exercise, the body is active in generating muscle and improving the efficiency of blood utilization in vital organs.

That is, repairing and regenerating its “equipment” to perform as necessary. Meaning that behind the scene, your body is getting you ready for the next time you exercise.

If you exercise regularly your metabolism needs to be high at all times to be ready for action, like a race car revving to go.  A slow metabolism is more like a spectator watching the show…….. Let us get back to our choc chip cookie.

One cookie is about 12 grams and yields 58 calories (measure of energy), and one apple is 110 grams and yield 54 calories (about the same), both will take 20 minutes to work off. The apple has fibre and requires further energy to expel, and the water content, vitamins and minerals are required to rebuild the body.

The point of this calorie comparison is, not all calories are equal. Cookie calories are used at the time of exercising or stored; apple calories are almost all used in one form or another and are less likely to be stored. The secret therefore to increasing metabolism is, exercising and choosing the right calories!   

Exercise does not have to take long; 9 minutes daily will see your body move your fitness in the right direction. Join to access your beginner 9 minute program

Live well with Health and WELLth!  

Written by Anna: Nutritionist and Exercise Coach @SquareBoxFitness.com