How do I burn more calories when resting?

Fitness training with Nicky Holland

Ever wondered why some people can eat what they want but don’t gain weight? You might think that it’s genetics or it’s their metabolism. But there is more to it than that. What if I told you, I can help you burn more calories at rest. Let me explain…

If you’ve been reading my articles for some time, you would have read about Basal Metabolic Rate, referred to as BMR. This describes how many calories we need to survive and approximately how many we burn each day. For females this is estimated on average to be 1500 to 2000 calories a day and for males 2000 to 2500 calories a day. Here are two statements:

1) You burn calories sitting on a sofa. Going for a run will burn more.

2) Lying in bed you will burn calories. Lifting weights will burn more.

The two statements above are true because exercise requires energy. Staying alive also requires energy but not as much as exercise does. Our body will get energy from food and drink. The more we exercise, the more food our body needs and the exact amount is unique to each individual. To calculate your BMR head over to my website on this link: where you can find your maintenance calories, how much you need to lose weight (negative energy balance = calorie deficit) or how much you need to gain weight (positive energy balance = calorie surplus)

The amount of food we eat can affect how much energy we have and the way we look. How can a bodybuilder eat 5000 calories a day but not look fat? I’m pretty sure they’re not eating 5000 clean calories a day either as it would be very difficult to do so. Look at their physique, as it is their body composition which allows them to do this. They have high muscle mass.

If you strength train and get stronger, you will increase your muscle mass. This causes the body to metabolise more calories at rest, because simply being alive with more muscle mass will equate to burning more calories. If you had two 40-year old males, both weighing the same at 85kg. Subject 1 has 40% muscle mass and 20% body fat whilst subject 2 has 30% muscle mass and 20% body fat. It is highly likely that subject 1 will burn more calories on a daily basis. How much more is unknown and there are a few variables to consider, such as exercise history, medical background, lifestyle habits, job and family commitments etc. Therefore, in order to maintain the weight of 85kg, subject 1 will need to eat more calories and therefore have a higher BMR.

Strength training is super important, whatever your goal. Aim to lift weights three times per week with the correct form and execution then focus on getting stronger. I’m not saying you need to compete in a strongman contest or lift heavier than anyone else in the gym, not at all, it’s all relative to you and your individual strength. There are also different methods of resistance training so make sure you start off light and build up the repetitions and weight gradually.

To finish this month’s article, I’m going to leave you with these three bullet points, to summarise how you can burn more calories at rest.

  • Lift weights and get stronger
  • Increase muscle mass (lean tissue or size)
  • Burn more calories at rest



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