Now that we’re in the midst of the holidays, we’re all eating more food. We’re also busy, and it’s difficult to stay focused on good nutrition and exercise. So, let’s talk about something that will help you keep from adding too many pounds this year: increasing your body’s ability to burn and absorb calories.
We all know that when you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. When you burn fewer calories than you eat, you gain weight. We’ve also written many articles on the ability of muscle to increase your metabolism. Every pound of muscle burns approximately 37.5 calories per day. But, today we’re going to talk about one additional benefit of muscle building exercises (that you can read about on About.com). When you use progressive muscle building exercises, you actually turn your body into a blood sugar burning machine instead of a fat storage machine. To be more precise, you turn your muscles into a blood sugar absorbing and burning machine. This then prevents your fat cells from absorbing the blood sugar.
When you eat, your body breaks your food down into blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is then used to power your body. When your glucose levels stay high due to eating more than you burn, your body stores the excess glucose in your fat cells.
Your muscles absorb glucose and store it as glycogen. Glycogen is the primary fuel that your muscles use when you are performing weight training exercises. To correctly perform a weight training exercise, you should perform the exercise until you cannot lift the weight one more time. In other words, you perform the exercise to failure. You use every ounce of strength that you have in that muscle. By using all the strength in the muscle, you burn up much of the glycogen in the muscle. Then, in order to prepare itself for future work, the muscle starts sucking up glucose to rebuild the glycogen supply.
If you perform weight training exercises for every major muscle group in your body one or two times per week, those muscles have to spend several days replenishing the supply of glycogen. So your muscles are constantly sucking up blood sugar. Your muscles have become a blood sugar absorbing machine.
So, while your muscles are absorbing glucose, the glucose in your bloodstream is running at a deficit, provided that you are eating a healthy diet. In order to adjust the blood sugar in your bloodstream, you body burns fat in other areas to make up the difference.
If you continue performing weight training exercises for every major muscle group one to two times per week, you’ll add muscle. Again, each pound of muscle burns about 37.5 calories per day. So, you’re burning extra calories in two ways:
- You’re burning more calories every day due to extra muscle
- You’re absorbing more calories every day in order to replenish the glycogen in your muscles.
This is absolutely the most efficient and effective way to lose fat throughout your body. It’s also the best way to absorb more of those calories that you’ll probably be taking in over the holidays.