Keep your metabolism burning this winter

We all hear about it, but don’t necessarily know about it.


We’ve been thinking, what is it you need to understand, so come January, you still feel comfortable in your clothes. We’re going to break this down for you…

BMR; basal metabolic rate. This is the amount of energy your body burns just to live i.e. to make sure the organs as well as your physiological systems, functioning. Thinking/breathing/blinking, even reading this requires energy!

TEF; thermic effect of food. This is how much energy your body burns to digest food.

TEPA; thermic effect of physical activity. This is the amount of energy you require to work out and to move. There are two type of movement; planned exercise and the spontaneous non-exercise activities that occur every time you perform some sort of physical exertion, such as standing up from a seated position or running to catch the bus.

Whether you want to drop, maintain or gain weight this Winter is all comes down to energy balance.

To maintain weight you will need to balance energy in and energy out; to decrease weight you need a slight deficit of energy in to energy out, and to gain you will obviously need to be taking in more than you are exerting.

Spontaneous non-exercise activity generally decreases in Winter. Instead of walking or cycling to work we catch the bus or drive, instead of walking to the tube we catch the bus, instead of taking the stairs we get the lift, we choose to sit indoors rather than get outside. So, without noticing, your TEPA (thermic effect of physical activity) has decreased because generally on a day-to-day basis we are not moving as much as we did in Summer. Additionally, your planned exercise starts to decrease too, you prefer to sleep in than get up and go to class, it’s too cold to run, it’s raining, there’s a Christmas party on tonight so you skip the workout.

This is okay IF you then adjust your nutrition to suit the decreased need for energy. But who are we kidding, Christmas is the hardest time of the year to do that, and most of us just settle for it being the time of the year we wear out Winter woollies. Something you have to ask yourself is, “Do you want to settle for this?”

If you are not getting your normal amount of planned exercise, then get off your bum and move. Take a walk when it’s cold but sunny, do a morning 15-minute stretch/flow in your room where it’s warm. If you aren’t exercising because it is cold, adapt; classes are usually indoors!

It is going to be harder than most months to manage your nutrition, if you are going to eat a little more which is totally understandable, it’s really very simple, help your body out by increasing your TEPA and getting a little more balance of energy in and energy out.