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Manic Monday ~ Muscle Metabolism

Do you want to know a secret way to burn more calories while resting? And I really mean "resting".... Not walking slowly, just resting. It has to do with our amazing muscles! You see, cardiovascular exercise is a very important component for a healthy lifestyle. It's important to condition the heart and lungs and to burn energy (calories). Cardiovascular exercise burns calories during the time you are exercising (walking, running, biking, swimming, cardio classes, etc, ) and the calorie burning continues until you recover as your heart rate returns to a normal rate. Although this is fantastic for fuel burn and a healthy body, it is also temporary. There is, however....a long term metabolic burn that you can establish as you rest. It involves muscles! Resistance / strength training is the key to a long term metabolic burn. You see, unlike most cardiovascular activities, muscle training requires a longer amount of recovery time. As your muscles are being challenged with performing resistance exercises, there is a process in which the muscle fibers somewhat breakdown (more details on this in a later post). After a challenging resistance workout, those muscles need at least 24-48 hours of rest to recover and bind together stronger and tighter. In this time of recovery, the muscle will require a low grade amount of fuel (calories) to perform the recovery process. It's this process that will have a long duration, therefore will require a slightly higher metabolism. This adds up over a few days! Lean muscle that is utilized uses up energy. All of the time. Not to mention men have it a little better because of their naturally higher levels of testosterone that support muscle. A better muscle, a higher metabolism. I have a perfect example of this. I have three brothers and a husband, all who were amazing athletes... mostly in football. I feel like the weight room was considered our second home at times. Needless to say I picked up on a pattern. I noticed that in the off season, cardio training was at a minimum for these guys, but strength training was at the height of the off season. Now, none of these boys ate "light" foods, in fact they ate ALL of the time. In high school, I remember my family treating my brothers to an "all-you-can-eat" buffet once a month because it was the one time my parents could get their money's worth! Because they were into heavy conditioning of their muscles, they were constantly burning fuel....even at rest. This higher metabolism kept their physiques lean.... To the point that they wanted to eat more to gain weight. All of this seems so fantastic; gain muscle, lose weight. But it is a challenge to achieve that point. The challenge is that one must really put their muscles to the test by incorporating a regime that really works the muscles. Resistance training, aka strength training or lifting weights, is essential for a balanced healthy body. If this is something you know you need to incorporate into your routine, the best start would be to visit MVP Fitness Center. MVP has an entire total body circuit available. The circuit consists of several resistance machines that are specified for a certain muscle group. Each machine includes instructions and settings for personal use. Ideally, one should perform this circuit 2-3 times per week. I usually suggest to break it down further and pick a few pieces at a time so that recovery can be optimal. For example, day 1: chest and back / day 2: biceps and triceps and abdominal /. Day 3: shoulders and legs. Repeat this again one more time during the week. This should include 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions of a weight that pushes your muscle to almost exhaustion by the last repetition. If the last repetition is a piece of cake, then the weight is too low and you will not have a recovery process. Also, by breaking up the total body circuit to a few muscle groups a day, you will have time to perform cardio sessions as well. So get strong! Muscle strong...and enjoy the benefits of a faster metabolism even at rest! Have a GREAT week! Rachel Zimmerman, Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach ACE/NSCA Wife, Mother, and Friend

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