I really like your website, it is very informative. I love working out and vary my routine often. I lift weights – both heavy and light, do cardio, walk and take karate as well.
I understand the principle that when you lift weights your metabolism stays stoked for hours after. My question is does the intensity of the weight matter ie. lifting heavy vs. endurance training.
Hey Tricia, what a terrific question!
I think that many people are under the impression that working out elevates their metabolism for hours following a hard workout. After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years now.
Well guess what? It’s true – at least that’s what the science says. In a recent study published in the journal American College Of Sports Medicine scientists found that a control group of men who exercised intensely (45minutes of cycling) burned almost 200 extra calories throughout the remainder of the day! If that’s not a reason to start an exercise program I don’t know what is.
To answer your question, it seems the exercise must be of moderate to high intensity to really amp up your daily calorie burn. Makes sense right? If you think about driving your car and flooring the gas pedal to 150mph, then letting the car coast, it would take far longer for the car to slow to a stop than if you stepped off the gas at say 40mph. When you workout intensely for 45–60 minutes, you’re “gunning it” so to speak – and it appears you’ll reap some serious metabolic benefits for your efforts for the rest of the day.
You’ve probably seen many workouts are now being pitched as “metabolic circuits” and this refers to this extra calorie burn. Some popular styles are Tabata, Tailpipe and of course my own Angry Trainer Fitness workouts
BUT, that doesn’t mean that less intense workouts aren’t productive or that you should always choose high intensity routines. A blend of intensity levels is what will give you the best benefits. You simply can’t always push yourself 100% of the time as your body will burnout. So instead I suggest varying your intensity levels across the days of the week; one low, one moderate, two high and ablend on the fifth. Try that out and see if it works for you.
I’d also like to point out that while this study focused on cycling, I think that had they used more advanced exercises that required more work, the results would have been even more impressive. I’d like to see what the effects would be after 45 minutes of burpees, mountain climbers, squats, pushups and jump rope. Since cycling is predominantly a leg workout, I think the inclusion of hard upper body training would have a significant impact.
So in a nutshell bust your butt in the gym and you’ll be burning fat for the rest of the day. Awesome!
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