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iVillage.com: 30 Days, 30 Ways to Drop a Dress Size

Pack on a Few Pounds of Muscle

Pack on a few pounds of lean muscle mass, and you'll burn more calories even at rest. While the exact extra calorie count isn't clear, experts believe that for each pound of lean muscle mass you carry on your frame, you'll burn an extra 25-50 calories every day. That may not sound like a lot, but five pounds of lean muscle mass translates into about 125 - 250 extra calories burned a day, or about one or two extra pounds lost this month, says Liz Neporent, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and co-author of "Weight Training" for Dummies. And while building muscle may not drop tons of scale weight right away - you may be more likely to lose inches as you start to change your body composition by reducing your body fat and increasing your lean muscle mass. Muscle also gives your body shape and tends to pull things in tighter, so you may even weigh the same, but look 10 pounds lighter in that little black dress, explains Neporent.

Your daily game plan: Commit to a regular strength training routine, challenging your muscles to fatigue, at least 3 to 4 days a week (this can be a part of your daily 30 minute exercise allotment) to burn up extra calories, even at rest. While the exact calorie burning boost you receive will vary depending on how much muscle mass you develop, the good news is that regular strength training can help you appear several pounds lighter in just a month even before the scale says that you are! And you don’t even need weights to start – this total body workout uses just your bodyweight to get you started. Once your workout starts to feel easy, be sure to increase your intensity by adding additional weight or progressing into more advanced versions of the exercises with moves like these.

(Credit: C. Cole/The Image Bank/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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