Burn more calories by forcing your body to be inefficient at the gym
I have a boss who routinely tells us to work smarter, not harder. His theory is that working more efficiently will position us to achieve more. For our 9-5 jobs in Eagan, it works great.
In the gym, however, the exact opposite is usually true. Forcing your body to be inefficient will help you burn more calories during your workout.
If your goals are to burn calories and build muscle, being inefficient is the most effective thing you can do. (That said, if running marathons is your goal, stick with efficiency.)
So what exactly do I mean by efficiency and inefficiency? When you’re talking about working out, it refers to how efficiently your body is able to complete an exercise. When your body is not accustomed to an exercise, it needs to work harder to complete the movement. As a result, you will burn more calories – both during your workout and when you’re recovering.
Conversely, when you get in the habit of doing the same workout every day, your body becomes more efficient. As we mentioned at the beginning, if your goal is to run marathons, that’s a good thing. If your goal is to get leaner, you’ll have a hard time achieving that goal when all you’re doing is building endurance.
As your body becomes more efficient at an exercise, it requires fewer calories per unit of exercise. Lou Schuler explains the principle well in his book, The New Rules of Lifting for Women:
“Endurance exercise makes your body more efficient, which is to say better at going longer distances with less fuel. If you’re trying to get your body to burn more fuel, you can see the problem here.”
The same thing is true with weight lifting. If you routinely lift the same amount of weight and do the same number of repetitions, your body will get more efficient at completing the exercises. Heavier weights require more energy because your body is less efficient at lifting them. Moreover, they also require more energy as your body recovers from the exercise.
We like routine, but we also like burning calories. Force your muscles to be inefficient when you’re working out, and you’ll see the best results.