Coach's Corner with Dr. Trey Hodge - Base Metabolic Rate and Macros


Does a 200 lb football player have the same metabolism as a 200 lb Powerlifter? What components constitute our metabolic makeup? Is it beneficial to know your personal base metabolic rate to optimize training and know body limitations?  The truth is that there are many factors that will effect our BMR. 

One major component is our thyroid because it is the biggest factor in terms of metabolic environment.  It is very important to get blood work done at least every 6 months to make sure all of your levels are within a normal range.  If you have a thyroid based condition, then your lab work frequency should be increased to every 6-8 weeks. Thyroid medications, such as Synthroid, control active T4, and Tiromel (also known as “Cytomel”) focus on T3, which all help assist in those who have low levels of either of those two ranges.  Pathology based conditions that target the thyroid (i.e. Grave’s Disease, Hashimotos, etc.) will need considerable treatment.

Another major factor is metabolic output.  Our physical activity also dictates where our rate will be.  You can have someone who lives a very active lifestyle that may require over 3,000 calories per day to sustain energy levels that will keep performance consistent or there are others who might have an active work life which also would require a caloric load higher than the average.  There are ways to test BMR, but many traditional testing methods are fairly flawed and not accurate.  

In my opinion, the best approach to managing your BMR is to establish a moderate intake while tracking macro nutrition.  You can track total calories as well as the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  Monitor how your body responds, and track your activity so that you can see how many calories you expend versus how many you consume.  If we are trying to create weight loss, we will need to create a deficit, and conversely, if we are wanting to create a weight gaining environment, we will need to create a surplus.  

Macro dieting can work, but only with diligent tracking that creates consistency of what you are consuming daily.  Some might take macro dieting into their own realm and mix a lot of random foods that vary in quality.  However, I do feel that macro dieting still is effected by the quality of food that we take in.  I’m personally not a believer that we can swap out an Oreo cookie for oats and peanut butter because it might equate to the same caloric breakdown, but those foods are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of overall quality.  

In order to increase one’s BMR, we have to balance a healthy diet with an efficient amount of calories and consistent training because this is the best and most effective way to learn what your body can handle nutritionally.  Also, adhering to a proactive outlook on routine lab work to see how thyroid levels are operating is helpful in monitoring your BMR. 

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