There are many factors that directly affect energy expenditure. Find out how they influence athletes.

Energy expenditure determines the caloric balance and with it the athlete’s body composition . Knowing how to increase it allows to be more efficient when it comes to modulating the body weight and fat mass of an athlete.

For this reason, we are going to show you the factors on which this variable depends.

The energy expenditure depends on the muscle mass

Muscle is a very metabolically active tissue, much more so than fat. For this reason, it needs a large supply of nutrients to maintain itself and perform its functions. A greater amount of muscle is associated with an increase in energy requirements both at rest and during activity, as stated in the journal “Revue des Maladies Respiratoires”.

Thus, in an athlete it is interesting to maximize muscle values ​​in order to minimize fat values . This task can be accomplished through resistance training and through dietary adaptation. It is necessary to adjust protein and energy intake to favor the creation of muscle tissue. The contribution of certain minerals such as zinc may be essential to guarantee adequate testosterone production and thereby stimulate protein synthesis.

Zinc supplements can be a good exogenous option when it comes to increasing testosterone levels.

In addition, there are certain ergogenic aids such as creatine and hmb that could contribute to this task. Protein and carbohydrate intake before and after training also improves muscle adaptations to exercise and stimulates hypertrophy.

Diet can condition energy expenditure

The fact of metabolizing food requires an input of energy. Depending on the product in question, the energy required for its digestion may vary. In addition, there are a number of substances that have the ability to increase daily energy expenditure. They are widely used in hypocaloric diets with the aim of losing weight.

A concrete example is caffeine. This substance allows an increase in cognitive performance. On the other hand, its intake is associated with promoting weight loss, according to an article published in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition”. In addition, its consumption contributes to a delay in the onset of fatigue and an improvement in sports performance .

Along with caffeine there are other substances capable of influencing energy expenditure. Another example is that of capsaicin, which exists in chili peppers and other spicy foods. Eating foods with this flavor usually causes an increase in energy expenditure that can positively influence weight loss, according to an article published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 

Physical activity conditions energy expenditure

Despite the fact that all these factors that we have talked about can influence energy expenditure, the one that has the greatest incidence in its modulation is physical activity. Through sports practice we can increase our energy needs by up to 100%. For this reason, many athletes need to carry out a diet that doubles the needs of a healthy sedentary adult individual.

An iron man can have an energy cost of 10,000 kcal for men and 8,550 kcal for women. A 20-minute crossfit session on your part can mean an increase in spending of 350 kcal for a man weighing about 50 kg.

Crossfit requires specific nutrition, since it generates a high loss of calories.

For this reason, the best way to approach weight loss is from increased physical activity, not so much from caloric restriction. In addition, in strength sports, the increase in expenditure goes beyond the duration of the exercise itself, hours later the muscles can continue to consume large amounts of energy.

To keep in mind!

Energy expenditure largely determines the body composition of an athlete. For this reason it is necessary to know the factors that modulate it.

Although diet can play a role in increasing this variable, it is exercise that can modulate it to a greater extent. Strength exercise is a great option when it comes to increasing spending. For one thing, it burns a lot of calories. But it also allows your muscles to be metabolically more active hours later.

Nor should we forget that this type of exercise stimulates muscular adaptations linked to hypertrophy. Bigger muscles mean higher energy expenditure even at rest.

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