We live in a world of the internet where there is so much information around that we get overwhelmed and because of all the information (and misinformation) we mostly throw our hands in the air and just give up. Why can we not just get straight answers out of gurus and why must they write page after page of useless information that is going to drive us out the door faster than we walked in? Do they not realize that we are just not going to finish reading that report if they make it longer than our annual budget speech?

So let us make it easy for you today. The topic in question is how do you connect strength training to an awesomely fast and fantastic metabolic rate?

Let us start with: What is strength training?

Strength training involves using weights, kettle bells, bands, bodyweight or any other kind of resistance that makes your heart rate go up and makes your muscles work for all that they are worth. OK, so you say that running for an hour on a treadmill also makes you work hard and you will be correct. The question is which one of the two disciplines will tax your metabolic rate the most AFTER you have finished with your workout?

Alright, now let us look at your metabolic rate, what it is, what it does and why it is so important.

We start off with a resting metabolic rate. This is basically the energy that is required to keep you alive when you are lying on the couch, watching television all your life. This is the energy that you need to keep you breathing, keep your organs in a functional state and helps you digest your food. In short, it is that basic amount of energy needed to keep you alive. Your resting metabolic rate is between 60 – 80% or our total metabolic rate and that will differ from person to person depending of how active you are, what types of food you eat and so on.

Yes, the types of food you eat has an influence on your metabolic rate! This is the rate at which your body digests the food you eat and yes, certain foods will elevate your metabolic rate. Just look at protein quickly. Protein has a very high thermic effect (the amount of calories you burn to digest food) so the more protein you consume, the more calories you burn to digest it. Cool hey!

Of course, lastly you have the effect of activity on your metabolic rate. The more active you are and the more you lift heavy stuff, the more effective your metabolic rate becomes at burning off those calories.

Just looking at all of the above you will note that if you take all three components into consideration, that we are all very different and we all have very different metabolic rates. All of these components put together will give you your total energy expenditure.

Now we can really look at the cool effect that strength training have on your total energy expenditure. The harder you lift and move heavy stuff (i.e. strength train) the more calories you will burn. Now just keep your energy intake (i.e. food) in tact and you will end up with fat loss! The really, really cool thing is the snowball effect that you have from lifting and moving heavy stuff. Your resting metabolic rate will also increase due to the brilliance of strength training. So while you are lying in front of the television like a vegetable on a Sunday afternoon you are actually using more calories for the basic functions of the body if you diligently move your heavy stuff during the week!

You can go do your treadmill running during your workouts, but that will not increase your resting metabolic rate. You will, however, burn calories during the run, but it will stop as soon as you jump off the treadmill. If you lift and move, your energy expenditure will increase for almost a day after the training session.

This all sounds too good to be true and it probably is if you do not put your back into it and really make yourself sweat (note to self, leave the make up at home...)