You can maintain an elevated metabolism long after your exercise session is over – even into the next day – with certain types of exercise. After exercising it takes a period of time for your resting metabolism to return to normal. The type of exercise you do is a determining factor in how long your metabolism will remain elevated.
In an exercise study, ten young men performed three different exercise routines one week apart. Each session burned the same number of calories. The first week was resistance training, the next week was steady-state aerobic exercise, and the last week was high-intensity intermittent aerobic training.
The subjects’ resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured at 12 hours and 21 hours after each session. The results from the study1:
“The steady-state trial did not influence RMR at either 12 hour or 21 hour post-exercise. Both resistance training and intermittent aerobic training increased excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) to a greater degree than did steady-state work, indicating that either mode may be more effective at increasing total daily caloric expenditure than steady-state aerobic exercise.”
The study reported that resistance training produced more EPOC than the other two modes of exercise at both the 12 hour and 21 hour mark. The type of resistance training is also a factor. High intensity resistance training (HIT) produces more EPOC than any other form of resistance training. HIT is what we do at our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training facilities.
The study demonstrates that in the short-run resistance training can temporarily raise your metabolism up to 21 hours after your workout. In the long-run as you become stronger your body will have a permanently higher RMR. While a higher metabolism helps, it is important to note that studies show that exercising is not the key to weight loss. Eating less is.