Exercise and Strength & Conditioning applications aim to trigger responses and improvements to certain physiological levels using different pathways played by the rules, the genetic code. Therefore it seems an acceptable strategy that Exercise and Strength & Conditioning sets its targets on the very fundamentals of exercise physiology. In consequence no matter what orientation, any exercise application per equal is based on the fundamentals of its true functional existence. Different orientations will lead to certain outcomes, driven by the ATHL S-Core fitness spectrum based on: BALANCE, STRENGTH, METABOLISM, ENDURANCE and RECOVERY.


Why metabolism is vital?

Metabolism is the term which englobes the countless chemical process going down continuously on biologic organisms, in other words it is the energy management. Metabolism leads us into process that lay inside the realm of physiology and biochemistry. These processes allow life to be sustained including the regulation of all normal function related to it. Metabolic processes include 2 main frameworks:  (1) breakdown nutrients from food and (2) built and repair our body. As a matter of fact, it all relies on how energy is managed, used, converted and stored for use. The overall balance its called homeostasis which refers to the baseline for general normal function.

The complexity of metabolism includes an infinite network of relations, however two principles regulate this stunning operation of life:
+ Anabolism: Is the build up of compounds
– Catabolism: Is the breakdown of compounds due to its use and damage or the breakdown of compounds such as food which then will be used to provide energy or building the basic blocks for further growth or repair.

Every day we spend energy. This energy is used to keep body systems on its daily normal function duty such as breathing, keeping the heart beating, blood flow, growing and repairing cells and adjusting hormone levels. How the baseline energy is spent is completely out of our reach, however exercise and phyiscal activity has the power to modulate and induce metabolism rates.

Energy balance and metabolism

Basically when we talk about metabolism we end up talking about processes and energy, how much its spend, how much its needed, how it will supply the demand,… or any other possible combination of its inter-relation. Energy is measurable, the units are Kilojoules (KJ) or Kilocalories (Kcal). In both cases, despite unit different approaches in the international system they reflect the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.
Our energy expenditure can be measured, and directly relates to metabolic rates. Before we go deep into metabolism, exercise and phyiscal activity here is what you need to know about the energy balance and its components:

Energy balance: The simple principle of how much energy is used and how much energy is restored. In other words how much do you burn and how much fuel do store in the tank.
Total Energy Expenditure (TEE):
Its the sum of resting energy expenditure, thermal effect and physical activity expenditure.

Resting Energy Expenditure / Resting Metabolic Rate: It is the metabolic baseline for sustained life and normal function. Its value ranges from the 60-70% of TEE.
Thermal Effect: It is the energy related to breakdown food processing. Its value ranges from the ∼10% of TEE.
Physical Activity Expenditure: It is the energy spent in movement including daily activities (housekeeping, commuting, grocery shopping,…) and programmed exercise (play sport, physical recreational activities, resistance training, strength & conditioning programs..). Its value ranges from the 20-30% of TEE.

Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)

REE refers to the amount of energy your body needs to maintain homeostasis. Here are few factors that condition your Resting Energy Expenditure:

1. Age – Metabolism slows down with aging.
2. Growth – Children have higher energy demands due to growth and maintain homeostasis.
3. Gender
4. Genetics predisposition
5. Illness or infection – In critical vital scenarios REE increases to fight against harmful agents.
6. Endocrine system – Hormonal imbalances can influence how quickly or slowly the body burns energy.
7. External substances – Ergogenic aids or drugs can alter REE
8. Temperature – Hot/Cold environments have thermoregulation stress effects to maintain homeostasis.
9. Body composition – Percentage of tissue distribution can benefit REE, such as muscle.
10. Physical activity

It is believed, that metabolic baseline is completely out of our reach, however this statement is far from true. Meanwhile there are true scenarios where factors are unmodifialble as age, growth, gender, genetics and infections others do not stand on that unreachable status. There is one that has the potential to induce regulations, adaptations and benefits to others, that one is PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.

Physical activity and metabolism

Physical activity and exercise are different concepts, meanwhile physical activity englobes all type of movement and sport practices, exercise is a task or an activity deliberately planned, structured and repetitive that seeks to improve or maintain an adaptation contributing to enhance fitness and health. To learn more, click here. Both expend energy and have an impact to metabolism and REE. However, to target something we need a goal and a dose of exercise to progress from point A to B. Exercise prescription within a Strength & Conditioning program is a precise tool to adjust the dose, tolerance and achieve benefits. Some beneficial impacts of exercise in metabolism are:

+ Exercise consumes energy. Muscle and life sustaining functions have to adapt to the needs of demand during exertion, increasing your daily expenditure.
+ Exercise increases muscle activity and triggers muscle adaptations, these stimulus can lead to muscle growth changing body composition. REE is largely determined by your total lean mass.
+ Exercise and physical activity have a variety of intensity/energy demand thresholds, working at certain rates and intensities can modify body composition.
+ Muscle behaves as an endocrine organ does not only provide a platform for structural integrity and locomotion, it also influence, regulates and balances hormonal activity.
+ Exercise increases functionality and strength, reducing aging metabolism dysfunctions.

Physical activity is a fundamental pillar for health and well being. Increasing exercise, movement and daily activity has become one of the more important factors for maintaining life and its vital functions. Physical activity turns out to be the primary call to action for health and fighting sedentarism. Here are some sedentary behaviours, do you have any match?

! Long periods of daily inactivity.
! No resistance training.
! Less than 150 min of exercise/physical activity per week.
! Less than 10000 steps per day.

Exercise and energy pathways

Energy production allows us the ability to be alive, move and interact with the world physically and cognitively, once was exclusively for survival, today it might be a blend between survival and enjoyment.
Exercise metabolism is a dynamic continuum of the demand exerted by musculoskeletal system. Metabolism has a serious network and cascade of effects dragging with it all system to a certain extent. Special stress consideration rely into cardiovascular, digestive and endocrine systems.

Energy demand will always be intensity dependant, and how this energy needs to be supplied through different and adaptable energy pathways. As long as movement, resistance or muscle work persist additional demand to before mentioned Resting Energy Expenditure o REE will exist. Physiologically we developed efficient pathways to supply demand at rest and at exertion. Once again the body itself does not differentiate energy requirements for hunting, farming, surviving, swimming, running or climbing it simply procures to supply the needs to maintain homeostasis within its capacities to perform whatever task is at demand.

There are to main energy source pathways: aerobic and anaerobic. Both, always dynamically coexist at demand requirements, anaerobic pathways are usually involving more close to maximal effort exertions. The downside is anaerobic has an expensive toll in the energy dynamic continuum, pushing system functions to its maximal possibilities. Simultaneously, aerobic pathways have fundamental properties, and like anaerobic there are threshold limits, dynamism and efficiency closely related to muscle type (muscle fibre types histology) and cardio-respiratory system physiology.

Metabolism profiling is a helpful knowledge tool to target individual exercise exposure triggering adaptations within musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It provides a reliable platform, when individualized, to enhance exercise tolerance, optimize cell functions, improve thresholds and performance.


Metabolism is vital and a fundamental element within Strength and Conditioning for health and athletic development. The relationship between energy balance, total energy expenditure and resting energy expenditure are important factors to health and an effective approach to fight and reverse sedentarism behaviours and their harmful consequences. The complex network of metabolism and physical activity practice is a powerful tool to target energy consumption, body composition and muscle growth, muscle as endocrine organ and reverse aging dysfunctions.
Metabolism profiling is an efficient and effective tool applied into exercise prescription for health and exercise prescription for training, targeting different energy pathways. Metabolism for health?, Metabolism for athletes?, metabolism goals are vital to maintain life on its balance on every individual being. Physical exercise within a Strength & Conditioning program provides an effective treatment to awake dysfunctions due to sedentarism or health conditions meanwhile on the other hand provides effective stimulus to enhance homeostasis resilience increasing anaerobic and aerobic profile efficiency with ultimate athletic performance.


Find why an Exercise and Strength & Conditioning program will contribute to improve and optimize performance and functional capacity for health and athletics through the #Exercisepotential. Learn more here:

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Why metabolism is vital?
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