Coach Paul Greer of the San Diego Track Club has been helping runners train for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 for 20 years running! In this series, we’ll feature tips, workouts and programs, courtesy of Coach, that will help you conquer your first or 100th marathon!

Body composition is a question of energy balance, which means calories consumed must equal calories burned to maintain weight. The rate of expenditure of energy can vary from person to person. We expend energy not only during exercise but during every second of our lives. These seconds add up to years, just as a few extra calories a day can add up to extra pounds of body fat. For this reason, metabolic rate is an important factor in the energy balance equation.

By definition, metabolic rate is how fast your body uses and produces energy, which is the rate it burns calories. Metabolic rate is highest during intense exercise and lowest when you are sleeping. It varies with size, age, heredity, body composition, activity level, and food intake and weight loss history.

During exercise, metabolic rate can be more than 10 times higher than resting levels. Thirty minutes of vigorous exercise can burn the same number of calories as five hours of sitting at a desk. For example, extra calories are burned when you climb a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. Small amounts of exercise can add up to a significant effect on metabolic rate throughout the day. Metabolic rate may also remain elevated for several hours if you have worked out consistently at 60 – 80 percent of aerobic capacity for more than 30 to 40 minutes.

One of the best things exercise can do is increase the amount of muscle you have. Since muscle is metabolically more active than fat, the greater your lean body mass, the higher your metabolic rate. Exercise greatly enhances weight-loss efforts because of its tremendous physiological and psychological benefits. Therefore, exercise helps burn fat. It decreases appetite. It also makes you feel more energetic and look better.

Decrease in metabolic rate that occurs with age is due to a decrease in activity and a loss of muscle from lack of exercise. Simply stated, metabolic rate slows down in people who slow down. It’s important to continue exercising for its long-term effects on metabolism and health.

About Coach Paul Greer

Coach Paul Greer is Professor in Health and Exercise Science at San Diego City College and has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and 32 years coaching experience. Greer ran the mile in under four minutes (3:59.79) and was a 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier at 1500 meters with a 3:39.05. In addition to teaching at San Diego City, Greer also coaches for the San Diego Track Club; the largest running club in San Diego. He works with over 500 runners and is the Director for the Rockin N Runnin full and half marathon training program preparing athletes every year for San Diego’s Rock N Roll marathon/half marathon in June. Greer’s workouts cater for runners of all ages and abilities and he provides training schedules to his athletes on an individual basis.

Coach Paul Greer was featured in The Game Changer, the debut episode of Milestones, a video series that celebrates and commemorate the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series history.