An increase in your metabolism after you are done exercising burns more calories. The number of calories you burn after a single exercise session is insufficient to lose 1 lb. in a day. If you burn an extra 100 calories per day from an increase in your post-exercise metabolism, however, you will lose 1 lb. of body fat in just over a month. Alternately, this extra calorie burn could allow you to eat 100 extra calories per day without gaining weight.
Metabolism is the total of all of the reactions in your body that break down tissue, build tissue and produce energy. Strength training with moderate to heavy weights increases the degree of energy production and muscle tissue development to a greater extent beyond your resting metabolism compared to resistance training with light weights. It takes more energy or more calories to lift heavy weights for six to 12 repetitions compared to lifting lighter weights for 15 to 20 repetitions. The more intense training can increase your resting energy expenditure or your resting metabolism by up to 7 percent, according to a 2010 article by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., published in the “ACSM Fit Society Page.”
High-intensity aerobic interval training sessions are much shorter compared to low- or moderate-intensity aerobic exercise because your muscles fatigue quickly. High-intensity exercise requires quick, powerful muscular contractions using glucose as fuel instead of fats. Though a sprint interval session may last only 20 minutes compared to a 60-minute run, you can burn as many if not more calories from an interval workout. The after-burn, or increase in metabolism, after this type of training is greater compared to long workouts, according to a 2009 article by Brad Schoenfeld in the "Strength and Conditioning Journal.” It takes more calories to decrease your heart rate, decrease your breathing rate, clear lactic acid, redirect blood flow away from your muscles and regulate your body temperature after interval training compared to a steady run.
Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type
Continuously changing the frequency of your workouts, the duration and intensity of your sessions and the type of training you do increases your metabolism after exercise. This prevents your body from adapting to a specific program of training, increasing the number of calories it uses to return all of your systems to a resting state. If your goal is to raise your metabolism as much as possible after every workout so you burn more calories, change one or two variables every time you hit the gym or the pavement.
Drinking a highly caffeinated beverage before your workouts increases your metabolism for several hours after your session, according to a 2004 article by Jose Antonio, Ph.D., published in the “Strength and Conditioning Journal.” Consume 5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of your body weight one hour before exercising to raise your post-exercise metabolism for up to five hours. One fluid ounce of brewed espresso contains 64 mg of caffeine. Ask for a double or triple shot in your latte.
- “Exercise Physiology, Energy, Nutrition & Human Performance”; William McArdle, Frank Katch and Victor Katch; 2007
- “ACSM Fit Society Page”; Effects of Strength Training on Resting Energy Expenditure; Wayne Westcott, Ph.D.; January/March 2010
- "Strength and Conditioning Journal"; High-Intensity Interval Training: Applications for General Fitness Training; Brad Schoenfeld and Jay Dawes; December 2009
- “Strength and Conditioning Journal”; Caffeine: The Forgotten Ergogenic Aid; Jose Antonio, Ph.D.; December 2004
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.