We have clients that claim that once they reached a certain age, they can’t lose weight. One the main reasons why the scale isn’t budging is due to a decline in metabolism with age.
Like most of us, you’re probably workout out to help you lose lbs and firm up. Unfortunately, our wimpy ways of exercise these days just isn’t cutting it, says David Nieman, DrPh., Director of the Human Performance Lab at Appalachian State University, and one of the study authors. “We need to be pushed again to get lean with exercise. A 45-minute vigorous workout can help you get three times the net calories burned compared to a 45-minute walk.”
The solution is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where you alternate between short sprints or close to maximum efforts followed by periods of rest. The intervals may last anywhere between 30 seconds and 3-4 minutes followed by active rest. Another form of high-intensity training would be to run, swim or ride your bike for 30 to 45 minutes at a pace that’s uncomfortably hard.
The study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s peer-reviewed journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise used a metabolic chamber (the gold standard for measuring energy expenditure) at the University of North Carolina. The researchers enrolled 10 male subjects aged 22-33 years old. On the test day, subjects exercised vigorously on a stationary bicycle at 70% of their VO2max for 45 minutes.
The researchers found that the men burned some 519 calories during the 45-minute exercise session and then burned another 190 calories from the exercise in the next 14+ hours. The researchers calculated that the vigorous exercise session plus the post-exercise increases in metabolism equaled about 750 calories over the 24-hour period.
If you completed a 45-minute walk, you’d burn about 250 calories and experience no increases above baseline in metabolism post-exercise. Spending your 45 minutes going harder can result in burning 3 times as many calories over a 24-hour period.
If you think you’re too out of shape for HIIT, you’d be wrong. “We found that even the subjects who were overweight and out of shape reaped the same benefits. So unless your doctor says you cannot do vigorous exercise, this is something most people can do and could have an impact on achieving a healthier weight,” concluded Nieman.
To boost your metabolism to lose weight, there’s no easy solution. It requires putting in more oomph into your workouts. Do whatever exercise you like that you can really push yourself to the point where you’re seriously sweating and it’s impossible to carry on a conversation. Try boot-camp style workouts, Crossfit, a spin class or track workouts. Not only will you burn lots of calories during a short period of time, you’ll get the metabolic boost post-exercise too.
Some great body weight CrossFit workouts can be accessed through The Traveling WOD website. I frequently find ones that I add to my busy days to give my metabolism a much-needed shock.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD