Hard gainer or soft gainer? A tricky topic. The question is how quickly the body burns energy. But the distinction is too simplistic, because you can train fat burning. Metabolism is an engine in our body that can be tuned very well. Our muscles largely determine how much someone can eat without gaining weight.
Is a distinction between hard gainers and soft gainers justified?
When it comes to metabolism, people are sometimes divided into so-called hard gainers and soft gainers. While soft gainers gain weight faster and build muscle mass more easily, hard gainers have the advantage that although they can eat everything without gaining weight, they have difficulty building muscle mass.
Fitness trainers and nutritionists like to make a clear distinction between the two types and at the same time point out the need for certain nutritional supplements. The subject of execution is discussed on internet forums and gyms.
Our metabolism is hardly genetically determined
Others, on the other hand, regard the division into two clearly distinguishable metabolic types as a marketing ploy by food manufacturers. According to them, there is no scientific evidence for this distinction and taking nutritional supplements is therefore not obvious.
A black and white performance like this is completely out of the question. Our metabolism has no thresholds. Everyone can develop in either direction. Only 30% have a genetic predisposition. Which does not mean that metabolism makes no difference to physical condition. It determines how the substances from food are converted and processed in the body.
Basal and performance metabolism
There are different metabolic ranges. Central to this is energy metabolism, which mainly processes carbohydrates and fats and supplies the body cells with energy.
A distinction is made between basal metabolism, which accounts for the majority of the absorbed energy, and performance metabolism, for example before exercise. And on top of that there is the energy for the body’s heat production.
What determines the quality of our metabolism?
The quality of our energy metabolism is measured by two things:
- how quickly is the food processed?
- How is the quality of that food used?
Suppose an untrained person consumes fat and his fat burning is not optimal. The fat will then, as it were, overwhelm the blood and fat cells. With a trained fat metabolism, on the other hand, the fat is processed immediately.
To clarify the principle even better, a comparison can be made with a car engine. It’s like two cars with different engines at a red traffic light. Some cars burn more when idling than others. In a similar way, the better metabolism manages to burn more energy at rest.
How can you influence metabolism?
While the performance of a car engine is determined by cylinder capacity and horsepower, muscles and endurance count for the energy metabolism of humans. More muscle mass means more cylinder capacity for the organism. The more muscle mass, the higher the basic consumption (basal metabolism) of the body and the more you can eat.
Endurance training creates more horsepower. Endurance athletes have more mitochondria in a cell. They function as mini power plants in the body. The more of these power stations a cell has, the more and the faster they burn the energy.
People have forgotten how to burn fat
While the muscles determine how much a person can eat without gaining weight, endurance training promotes the constant burning of fat, even at rest.
However, many people have forgotten how to burn fats, because they no longer need it in their rather motionless everyday lives. The absorbed fat is no longer burned by the body, but stored directly.
Those who exercise a lot can eat much more
Regular athletes, on the other hand, have much less to worry about eating fatty or sweet foods: the skinny athlete usually eats much more carefree than the super-careful non-athlete. People with weight problems are therefore recommended regular muscle and fitness training. The motto is: eat and trim, because healthy nutrition alone cannot achieve a healthy metabolism.
Anyone who regularly participates in endurance sports also trains their metabolism. The body switches to fat burning much faster. People with a lot of endurance will therefore make better use of their fat reserves.