Teach yourself to burn more calories

Did you know you can teach yourself to burn more calories? It’s not like picking up a book and learning how to change a tire or whatever but it’s true. With the right tools you can teach yourself to burn more calories.

How is this possible? Let’s start with an example. If I told you to dig a hole and I gave you two tools to pick from, a spoon or a shovel. Which one would you choose? Of course, the shovel will be able to move way more dirt in less time.

How do we apply this to teaching yourself to burn more calories? There are two things to look at. Your muscles and the exercises you do. In this case, your tools. Let’s start with muscle. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. If you get stronger and try to build your muscles you will burn more calories. This is the first way to teach yourself how to burn more calories. Let’s go back to the example of the spoon and shovel. The little muscle or spoon can’t pick up as much dirt or burn as many calories as the bigger muscle or the shovel.

I am just talking about muscles at rest. Working muscle will burn way more calories as well. This brings me to your second tool. The exercises you pick matter. Let’s compare a leg extension machine vs a barbell back squat. These exercises are leg exercises and work your quads but they are not created equal. The leg extension is a sit down exercise that isolates the quad muscle, the top of your legs.

The barbell squat is a standing exercise, with the weight loaded onto your back. In this case, you are using significantly more muscles to just hold yourself up before you even start moving. When you do the squat, you continue to use all your upper body muscles and now you are engaging your glutes and quads. If you do low enough you will also work your hamstring and your calves as well.

Which exercise do you think is going to burn more calories? The one that uses one muscle or the one that uses all your muscles? By picking the right exercises, you can use way more muscles and get more done in a shorter amount of time. Back to the spoon and shovel. The leg extension or the spoon works one muscle group and won’t move that much dirt versus the squat or shovel that works several muscles and moves way more dirt in a shorter amount of time.

Don’t get me wrong the leg extension has its time and place. For instance, if I have someone who doesn’t have the mobility to do a squat I will put them on a leg extension machine until they have the capability to do a squat. That doesn’t mean I will have them on the leg extension forever. The goal is to get them to be a shovel or a squat. The leg extension should be used as an auxiliary or support exercise to help build more muscles. Not the soul exercise to build muscle.

Other exercises that would be considered shovel exercises are deadlifts, chest press, shoulder press, rows, and pull ups. Try to incorporate those into your routine and your muscles will learn to build more calories.

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