Your metabolism, and your ability to regulate it, are vital to your fitness success. Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose fat, or improve your performance in a specific sport or event, you can’t do it effectively without understanding your metabolism and the effects training has on it.
What is metabolism? The Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science (Anshel 1991), defines metabolism as “chemical changes that utilize energy and result in tissue and compound building (anabolism) or breakdowns of substrates and release of energy (catabolism).” There are only three ways your workout can change your metabolism: 1) the workout session itself and the number of calories burned during the workout; 2), post-workout oxygen consumption; and 3) the addition of new muscle mass.
1 The Workout Itself
Muscle contraction requires energy (calories). The number of calories you burn during the workout is greatly determined by your exercise selection, intensity and weights used. You will burn more calories doing deadlifts, squats, or leg presses than you will doing bicep curls. Intensity and load also plays a large role in the number of calories burned during a resistance session.
2 Post-Workout Metabolic Effect
Intense weight training elevates your metabolism for up to 39 hours after your workout. Because of the intense weight workout, your metabolism has been stimulated to where you are now burning more calories while you are doing nothing.
When you train more intensely, you will deplete your carbohydrate stores and burn more fat during the recovery phase. As the training intensity increases, there is a proportionate increase in fat burning after the workout.
One study showed that 15 exercise sessions per month (50-minute sessions at 50 percent of oxygen uptake) could lead to an extra 2 plus pounds per month of fat loss, strictly from the elevated metabolism and extra calories burned – while doing nothing! That’s an extra 26 pounds plus, of fat burned per year.
3 Longer Term Metabolic Effect – The Addition of New Muscle
Another extremely important aspect of fat loss that occurs from training with weights is adding lean muscle to your body. Lean muscle is “metabolically active” meaning muscle burns calories even while doing nothing. So, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolism and the more calories you burn each day while doing nothing. Studies have estimated that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you burn another 35 to 50 calories per day. So, an extra 10 pounds of muscle will burn approximately 350 to 500 calories a day, or an extra pound of fat every 7 to 10 days, without making any other changes.
The addition of new muscle mass is the only way to permanently increase your metabolism because muscle is “metabolically active” because muscle burns calories at rest, so it is obvious that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in a day.
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A new year is here and that usually brings with it New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, go to the gym, etc. The new year is a great time to turn over a new leaf for many people. If this is a resolution you’ve had year after year, then we want to encourage and motivate you to let this be the last year you resolve to do this. Fitness isn’t a seasonal hobby; it’s a lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.
So, you’ve made the resolution and made up your mind that you’re going to lose weight and get in shape this year. You’re going to the gym and you’ve improved your diet. That is great! Now, for it to be effective and to get the results you want, you’re going to have to be consistent. Be true to yourself. If you are not getting results, ask yourself these questions:
Am I being consistent with proper nutrition?
Am I being consistent with my exercise routine?
(If you’re working with a personal trainer) Am I keeping my appointments with my personal trainer?
If you can’t answer yes to all of the above question, then how can you say this doesn’t work? You can’t be inconsistent and expect results, so just do it.
To change your body for good, there is no magic pill. You will have to dig deep and practice patience. Let’s be honest about this. If you are in need of losing excess weight, you’re going to have to be patient about it. You didn’t get in this shape overnight. To lose the weight in a healthy manner and sustain that weight loss, you can’t do it quickly. People who enjoy good health and fit physiques understand that it is a lifestyle. Don’t give up after a week or two of no scale results. The moment you want to quit is the moment when you need to keep pushing.
You’ve heard it before. Your mother probably told you this years ago. Good things take time. After some time has passed and you’ve been patient with your changes and consistent with your nutrition and training, you are going to see changes with your body and your health will be improved.
Your New Lifestyle.
This lifestyle you’ve chosen is new and everything that is new takes time to get used to. There will be a learning curve and it will be scary, but it can be done. Do not throw in the towel because you feel intimidated or that you’re not good enough or you can’t do it. What would happen if you just didn’t give up? You only have one life and you are the only one who can change your life. Dig deep and do the work. Otherwise, you’re going to have to start again. Imagine yourself six months from now. Don’t stop. It WILL be worth it.
The FIRM U is a private personal training & clinical fitness studio located in the Spring, Tomball, Cypress, NE Houston area. Our main goal is to bring about meaningful, positive change in the lives of our clients.
9803 Spring Cypress Rd Suite 600 Houston, TX 77070 Call us: (281) 713-5700
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