How to Maximize Your Exercise for Fat Loss!
Exercise is great, but most of us have limited time to spend in the gym. For this reason it is important to be efficient and make the most of this limited time. There is very little argument that exercise is an important component of any weight loss diet. However, there is one argument that sometimes gets thrown around, which goes something like this: the amount of calories burned during exercise may be canceled out by the food consumed in response to exercise. In other words, the appetite you “work-up” may cause you to eat more calories than you actually burned while exercising, which sounds like a legitimate concern at face value. However, what’s often forgotten in this argument is the sustained calorie burning that may occur after a bout of exercise (not to mention all of the other health benefits of exercising that have nothing to do with calories)!
Indeed, research has shown that in addition to the calories burned during exercise, there is sustained calorie burning post-exercise (1). However, the degree and duration of post-exercise calorie burning is dependent upon the intensity, duration, and type of the actual exercise in question. What’s most amazing is that the effect can last for hours or even more than a full day, depending upon those aforementioned variables of the exercise performed.
Okay, so post-exercise calorie burning is dictated by intensity and duration, but which has a larger effect, you ask? Fortunately for those of us with a tight schedule, research has shown that the vast majority of post-exercise calorie burning is determined by the intensity of the workout, rather than the duration (2). And we’re not talking about necessarily going “all out,” but the greater the level of intensity, the greater the during-exercise AND post-exercise calorie burning effect!
Lastly, we mentioned that post-exercise calorie burning was influenced by intensity, duration and typeof exercise. While there isn’t the abundance of research on this latter variable, the research that exists supports the notion that resistance exercise leads to a greater post-exercise calorie expenditure than aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling (1). In fact, studies have measured elevated metabolic rates even 48-hours after moderate to intense weight lifting (3).
The important thing to remember about exercise is that everyone’s fitness level is different, and understanding that the type of activity that is “intense” for one person is going to be different from others. So make it hard for yourself, but listen to your own body.
So if you find yourself struggling to find the extra motivation to “up” the intensity of your workouts, or to incorporate more resistance exercise, perhaps you will be compelled by considering the long-lasting effect of higher intensity exercise on total daily calorie burning. The bottom line is that exercise – particularly resistance exercise – is really important, and its benefits aren’t only restricted to the period of activity.