To increase the caloric cost of your strength training, and ultimately, drive more fat loss, consider pulling these two important levers:
1. Strength train twice per week. It’s true that one strength session per week delivers improvements in muscle strength and size, but a rate of two workouts per week is superior for maintaining an increased resting metabolic rate (the calories we burn when we aren’t working out). Our resting metabolic rate is elevated by 5-7% for the three days following a strength training workout. Strength training twice per week ensures that we are perpetually burning more calories.
2. Strength train to momentary muscle failure (not a pre-determined number). Training to muscle failure, the point where you can’t perform another rep with perfect form, expends nearly twice as many calories as a set of exercises that stops short of muscle failure.
The good news is, in addition to more calories burned, twice-per-week training and training to failure also drive muscle strength, endurance, cognitive function, cardiovascular benefit and so many of the other benefits of resistance training.
What NOT do if your goal is to increase caloric cost and lose weight: Add more cardio/aerobic exercise. Surprisingly (and depressingly!), aerobic exercise doesn’t result in an increased resting metabolic rate— it actually reduces our post-exercise calorie expenditure. Studies indicate that even extreme amounts of aerobic exercise such as marathon training doesn’t result in weight loss. No doubt, aerobic exercise is good for our hearts as well as our mental health, it’s just not effective for driving ongoing caloric expenditure.
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