Let’s pretend that your metabolism is similar to a wood stove. When you add a log to a fire it will get hotter and as a result will produce more heat. However, after the log has burnt down, you need to add another log to keep up the heat.
It is similar when you exercise. When you exercise your metabolism ends up working hard in order to provide more energy to your body’s muscles. It is important to note, however, that the type of exercise you do will make all the difference when it comes to how hard the metabolism works.
Before we get into the specific as far as the types of exercise that makes your metabolism work the hardest, lets first talk about the three types of calorie-burning processes:
1) Resting Metabolic Rate: This is the rate your metabolism works while sitting, sleeping, standing, etc. It accounts for about 75% of the time your metabolism is working and for the most part is a fairly constant rate until you eat or exercise.
2) Thermal Effect of Food: Once you have something to eat, your metabolism kicks into the thermal effect of food mode to digest and process the food just consumed. This accounts for about 10% of the time during your day.
Eating six small meals per day, keeps the this mode going at a steadier rate than does three meals per day, which causes a more cyclic up-and-down rate; because you always have some food in your stomach, your metabolism stays revved up longer.
3) Physical Activity Energy Expenditure: Once you start exercising, you are burning more energy than with the other two methods, so your body has to work harder to keep up with the increased energy requirement. Washing dishes, walking up stairs, doing laundry, etc. all qualify as exercise, as does a workout, and thus will kick your metabolism into the phystical activity energy expenditure mode.
What Type of Exercise Will Make A Difference?
While exercising in general does affect the Physical Activity Energy Expenditure of your metabolism, different types of exercise affect it more than others.
For instance, it is easy to accept you burn more calories running for 20 minutes than you do walking for the same amount of time. Both use the same large lower muscle groups, but at different rates.
However there is a big difference in your Physical Activity Energy Expenditure between cardio and strength training. There is even a difference between the types of cardio.
Low intensity and endurance training focuses more on burning fat instead of glucose stored in the muscles.
But with high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting, the focus is on burning glucose stored in the muscles. That glucose has to get replaced so your Physical Activity Energy Expenditure stays up higher and longer even after finishing your workout.
And of course, the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn, even at the Resting Metabolic Rate.