By now, you’re probably well aware that strength training does so much more for you than running on the treadmill for an hour (and it’s a hell of a lot more fun, too). You may have also heard that strength training increases your metabolism, which is the rate at which you burn calories for energy.
While your metabolism is largely controlled by genetics and other factors outside of your control, it is true that you can boost it and that strength training can help.
Keep reading to find out exactly how to do that and how effective it really is.
How Strength Training Increases Your Metabolism
1. Longer, More Intense Workouts
One of the roundabout ways that strength training increases your metabolism is that it improves your muscle mass and endurance so that you can complete longer and more intense workout sessions. This means you’re torching more calories, and over time this can add up significantly.
2. The Afterburn
Most people associate strength training with the afterburn effect, which is technically called excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that after an intense strength training workout, your metabolism continues to burn calories at a higher rate than normal.
Triggering this afterburn requires intense exercise, which heavy lifting accomplishes. Target larger muscles through exercises like squats and deadlifts versus isolation exercises like bicep curls.
While it’s just a temporary boost to your metabolism, it’s still a boost that can help burn off more calories than you would have otherwise--for as much as 12 hours to a few days after the workout.
Learn more about EPOC: The Science Behind EPOC.
Another important way that strength training increases your metabolism is when it comes to aging. As we get older, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass and our metabolism slows down. This can lead to weight gain, loss of strength and balance, and more.
However, it’s possible to fight this natural decline and maintain your muscle mass as you get older by using strength training. In this scenario, strength training doesn’t necessarily increase your metabolism but it does help you maintain it as you get older.
4. Lift Heavy and Use Compound Movements
How to ensure strength training increases your metabolism? Use compound movements and lift heavy. You should be lifting heavy enough that you can barely get through 6-12 reps of an exercise each set. This is how you’ll build muscle mass to see an increase in your metabolism. These BodyRock dumbbells help you quickly add more weight without having endless sets of dumbbells lying around.
You should be aiming for at least three strength training sessions per week and make sure to use compound movements for the most benefit. This means working multiple muscle groups at once so that you can build as much muscle mass as possible.
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Great compound movements include lunges, rows, deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses, and bench presses. This compound move in particular will give you a full-body workout and seriously boost your muscle mass.
5. Minimal Boost but Many Benefits
So, what’s the skinny on strength training and your metabolism? The truth is that strength training can indeed increase your metabolism, but the increase likely isn’t as much as you think it is. Muscle burns about three times as many calories as fat does, but a pound of muscle only burns about 6 calories per day at rest.
Still, over time this can make a difference in your weight and overall health and fitness. Not to mention, strength training has so many other incredible benefits: it helps maintain strong bones, improves your daily quality of life, improves your cardiovascular health, reduces your risk of illness, disease, and injury, improves your mental health, and so much more.
I have noticed that since doing an hour workout with weights three times a week since October, my weight is up! Fit not fat?