Metabolism And Your 5% Genetic Influence


You no doubt hear a lot about metabolism and know that it is somehow tied to your weight loss or lack of it or even for hard gainers who can’t gain weight, but do you really understand it?

Well, here is your NP crash course in metabolism…

What is Metabolism?
Basically, metabolism is the process by which your body breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates to produce the energy you need to survive. This energy is used to aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, tissue repair, physical movement and general maintenance of all of your organs and systems.

Bottom line: without metabolism, you would die.

Metabolic Rate: Are Your Parents To Blame?
Now that we have established everyone has a metabolism, it’s time to think about metabolic rate. This is where we start to see differences from person to person…

I almost have this discussion repeatedly and it is a question a person just cannot wrap the answer in their head.

Simply put, the rate of your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns the calories that you take in. So the higher your metabolism rate is, the more calories you will burn on a daily basis.

People often think that their metabolism rate is rooted in their genetic makeup and is out of their control. Unfortunately, this thinking can lead to a laissez-faire or fatalistic attitude that reasons, “I’m overweight because of my genes, therefore I can’t do anything about it.”

PEOPLE! The truth is that your genetic makeup only accounts for about 5% of your metabolic rate!

Therefore, no matter what your current weight or what genes your parents passed along to you, you are not a prisoner to the rate at which your body burns calories.

The other thing to ask yourself is:

“Are the members in my family (who are) overweight because of their genetics or because they eat like crap and don’t exercise?”

How to increase your Metabolism
So the million dollar question is: “Can I increase my metabolic rate?”

And the million dollar answer is: Yes!

You can ramp up your body’s calorie burn. Here are some easy ways to change your metabolism just in time for spring:

1. Lift weights. Exercise is great for increasing metabolism. But you can’t exercise all the time. That’s okay; you don’t need to! When you lift weights, you create micro tears in your muscles that require energy to repair. This is called ‘after burn,’ and it refers to the increase in metabolism that occurs for 24 hours or more after you have had an intense weight lifting session. It’s a great way to keep burning calories long after you have left the gym! By the way, the high-intensity interval training formats we use at The Transformation Club been shown to be the very best way to burn calories with the ‘afterburn’ effect…

2. Don’t skip meals. It is a common misconception that skipping meals will help you lose weight. In fact, it will have just the opposite effect. If you do not give your body the calories it needs, it will think that you are literally starving. Your body’s response to starvation is to slow metabolism, conserve energy and store fat. This is the opposite of what you want to happen in order to lose weight. The number of meals per day will vary from individual to individual (4 is what we see work most often)– find what works for you and stick with it.

3. Drink water. Such a simple thing to do, but drinking about a pint of cold water may speed up your metabolism by 30% for up to an hour. The key thing to focus on with water is getting enough each day. We recommend 1 ounce for at least ½ your bodyweight; in other words, if I weigh 200 pounds, I should drink 100 ounces of water per day. Water is CRITICAL for digestion & metabolism. Drink up!

4. Eat breakfast and include protein. By eating breakfast, you kick start your metabolism for the day. Your metabolism remains sluggish from the time you get up until the first meal of the day. If you wait until lunch to have your first food, you will have lost several hours to a slow metabolism. Including protein with breakfast is smart because protein requires more energy to digest than do fats and carbohydrates. The more energy your body expends, the more calories you will burn.

*Note: there is evidence to suggest that delaying breakfast (intermittent fasting) may put your body in a better fat burning state hormonally, however, more often than not, people (especially women) tend to do best when they have breakfast in the morning. Weight loss studies continue to show this.

5. Don’t overdo the cardio. Too much cardio can actually burn muscle tissue, and the less muscle you have the slower your metabolism. If you choose to do cardio, be sure to do intervals in which you alternate between periods of higher and lower intensity. Low intensity cardio like walking your dog is also great. It’s actually the moderate, long duration intensity (thinking jogging for an hour) that’s actually the worst for you, but that’s another article entirely…
The take away for you is this…

You are not a slave to your metabolism: YOU are in control. Follow these tips to ramp up your calorie burn and drop those extra pounds before spring!

Prone Barbell Row

What Does It Do: This is an excellent exercise that tags the upper back, specifically the (lower) lats. The exercise lends itself to taking away “body shifts” and forces the lifter to place a premium on technique and really recruits the lats to fire up.


Key Coaching Cues:


Be sure you use a set-up that allows you to fully extend (straighten out) your arms. The should be enough room for the shoulder blades to move around the thorax/rib cage.

Squeeze the glutes, engage the abs. This will help prevent any hyper-extension of the lumbar spine.

Try to keep the neck packed (make a double chin).

Think about pulling your elbows towards the hips. The barbell will more or less be in line with your belly button.

Pull barbell all the way up until barbell touches the bench. If you find that that position places you in too much glenohumeral extension (shoulders roll forward), you can add a fat pad to the barbell to help lessen the ROM.

Progression would be to eventually lift the legs off the bench, via the glutes (hip extension).

Perform for sets of 8-10 repetitions.

The Tommy John Epedemic

It’s happening. And youth elbows are increasingly wearing down. I believe the cause of the increase in Tommy John surgeries is multi-factoral. Honestly, there are no more ‘normal elbows’ anymore because of the youth sports scene and what it has become. You will either see low level calcification on the UCL, spurring, you see a lot of signs of wear and tear and this comes from playing year round, being less prepared in season… there is just more specialized training, etc.. Listen really it’s pure physics…if you throw hard there are going to be more injuries. You won’t have a hamstring injury if you don’t run fast. We are also seeing an increase from years ago in pitchers throwing sliders, cutters, which lead to a higher incidence of elbow problems.


At the same time we’ve gotten better with diagnostics these last few years and we have found that surgeries can help as opposed to guys having to walk away from the game. So therefore, this too, is a reason why more surgeries are being performed.

I think that good training can improve and reduce injuries, but really I think the important thing to look at is the long term athletic development model. Here is an example:

Florida is a poor model given that the baseball kids start up January 2nd which is about 2 months earlier than the rest of the country (besides maybe AZ). They continue on through May as the rest of nation does. Most continue on after high school ball right into summer ball. So Florida baseball players technically have from October or even November till Jan 1 off. That’s not a lot of time away from the game. Whereas, here in Colorado kids start March or mid March and move through that same path. Though we are done by October. Though with the early specialization bug there are enough facilities that give opportunity to continue on as opposed to participating in another sport for full development of the whole athlete.

Of the kids I see today in 2016 and the kids I saw back in 2007 are markedly less athletic. They’ve been dramatically detrained and then we throw them in the most specialized sport on the earth. That’s why they are falling apart.

I have to say there are kids who are going to do it the right way and do well and then there are kids who are blessed with an elite arm who do things horribly wrong, but somehow manage to still get to a high level and figure it out.

Sometimes, and I’ve seen this because I have several athletes I work with, who will go down a path less traveled and decide not to play with their buddies in a bunch of games and and choose to train, learn recovery skills and at one point was clocked throwing 89-91mph and goes to throw in his first scrimmage and clocks throwing 97mph… that’s setting a good mark for being a draft choice there.

Thinking safety instead of every tournament and showcase year round is key. You can choose to work on full development, understanding your own unique body, re-establish the differences between pre-season, in-season and off-season and really take care of your arm, in this case throwers.

For me as a performance coach the importance should be placed arm care, strength and recovery methods. They do so much already that I think adding in some recoup is indicated.