If I had to pick the question I get asked more often than any other, I’d say it’s this one: “How many calories does this workout burn?”
And if I had to pick the question that is quite possibly the least relevant to you reaching your weight loss, body composition, fat loss or athletic goals? It’s the same question!
(FYI, there’s a little mini-rant in this post. Yay.)
Please stop worrying about how many calories you’re burning!
Yes, it’s one measure of the work you are putting in, and yes, tracking your calories in versus calories out can help you find the balance of energy you need to lose weight, but you guys! Calories burned during a workout doesn’t even begin to cover it.
What do I mean? Well, let me introduce you to my good friends, EPOC and BMR.
EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), aka “The Afterburn”
Your body doesn’t just work hard during a workout and then – boom! – go back to its resting state. It takes some time (and extra oxygen, hence the name) to repair the work you’ve done and return to normal. During that returning to normal time, you’re still burning calories at an elevated rate. Strength training workouts like this one, with little rest between exercises, can bring a big afterburn, in the form of an additional 10% of calories burned. So when you read that this workout “only” burns a little over 100 calories, feel free to tack on that extra 10%. And if that still doesn’t sound like much, then let’s talk about how many more calories you can burn every single second of the day after this workout. (Want more information about EPOC? Check out this article from ACE Fitness)
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), commonly referred to as Metabolism
It might not seem like it, but your body is burning calories right now, even if you’re sitting on your couch and doing nothing. That’s because it takes energy (calories) just to keep your body’s processes active – repairing cells, digesting food, growing your hair, and keeping your organs functioning, just to name a few. The number of calories you require to stay alive at rest is called your Basal Metabolic Rate, and it’s based on a number of factors like your age and body composition. Every cell, every function, requires a different amount of energy to work, and muscle tissue takes more energy (calories) to stay alive than fat. Therefore, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you are burning every single minute of every single day. (Learn more about BMR and how it affects weight loss from this article by The Mayo Clinic)
So, are you ready to get your strength (and calorie burn) on? Awesome! Check out this quick dumbbell strength training workout I made for you, using an unusual training protocol that I call “One-and-a-Halfs” (you might also have heard this referred to as partials, as in a partial rep).
You thought I counted the hard way before? For this workout, we’re going to full extension (or contraction, depending on the exercise), coming back halfway, returning to full extension/contraction, and then finally returning to the starting position. That’s ONE REP. You’re welcome. 🙂
The workout breakdown and full length follow along video are below.
Sweaty STRENGTH | 30 Minute Body Shaping DUMBBELL Resistance Workout | Weight Training for Women
Level: BEGINNER+ (there’s lots of explanation, but good form is essential, so some experience is nice here)
Equipment: Pair of DUMBBELLS (mine are 8 lbs – a medium weight for me)
Warm Up and Cool Down: Both are INCLUDED
Exercise Time: 28 minutes
PURPOSE of the Workout: Strength training is critical for women; even though it doesn’t burn a ton of calories while you’re working out, it boosts your metabolism for 24-48 hours afterward, builds lean muscle tone (which helps you burn fat 24/7), strengthens your bones, shapes your body, enhances your mood and builds your confidence
This WORKOUT is Good For: Women with some resistance training experience; anybody with weight loss, fat loss or body composition goals
Where I was SORE the Next Day: As expected, my upper back, mid back and shoulders were saying, “Thank you so much for this workout.”
WARM UP / MOBILITY WORK (untimed and uncounted):
- Arm Stretchers with High Knees
- Arm Crossers with Booty Kickers
MAIN WORKOUT (one-and-a-half reps count as one; complete 8 reps of each exercise and repeat the circuit twice):
- Press Ups
- Side Raises
- Curtsy Lunges
- Bent Over Rows
- Bent Over Flys
FINISHER (complete 25 pulses on each side):
- Split Squat Partials
Can’t see the video below? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-_EnYWKQOZE
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