This Is The Best Workout For Boosting Your Metabolism, Study Says

by | Aug 29, 2018

A new study is stirring up the ongoing cardio versus weights debate, finding that the former could have greater benefits when it comes to boosting your metabolism.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from the University of Copenhagen analysed the diverse impacts of different forms of training. In an experiment, 10 healthy men were divided into two groups who did both forms of training once a week for 60 minutes. The cardio session involved cycling at a level of 70 percent maximum oxygen intake, while the strength training consisted of five functional exercises repeated 10 times.

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The participants then had their blood tested over a period of four hours to measure blood sugar, lactic acid, various hormones and bile acid in the body. They discovered that sweating it out on exercise bike caused three times the amount of the hormone FGF21 to be released by the body, compared to lifting weights. FGF21, or fibroblast growth factor 21, is a major metabolic regulator that plays a role in controlling glucose levels, insulin sensitivity and ketogenesis.

“Endurance training on a bicycle has such a marked effect on the metabolic hormone that we know ought to take a closer look at whether this regulation of FGF21 is directly related to the health-improving effects of cardio exercise,” said the study’s co-author Christoffer Clemmensen.

“FGF21’s potential as a drug against diabetes, obesity and similar metabolic disorders is currently being tested, so the fact that we are able to increase the production ourselves through training is interesting.”

Your metabolic rate is depends on a range of factors including hormones, sleep, diet, sex, genetics and age. Increasing your metabolism can be beneficial, as it boosts the amount of calories you burn at rest, which can help promote weight loss.

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“HIIT is always going to be the stronger, most effective opponent to burn fat and build lean muscles because of its after-burn effect,” Tiffiny Hall told Women’s Health.  “I’m talking the EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) response… It means you keep burning off calories and energy even when you’re back at your desk staring at a spreadsheet, long after your last shine session. It means all of that huffing and puffing and changing and starting and stopping during your workout kicks your metabolism into high gear for hours after you finish exercising.”

What about the old adage “muscle burns more than fat”? Research shows that roughly half a kilo of muscle burns between seven to 10 calories per day while the equivalent of fat only burns two to three. Not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

But by no means does this mean you should ditch the dumbbells. A huge range of research promotes the benefits of resistance training which include the prevention or control of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity, reducing risk of cancer, reducing risk of osteoporosis, boosting mental health and improving sleep.

“Gaining muscle through resistance exercise means you can do more. You can work out harder and hike steeper trails,” sports dietitian Marie Spano told SELF. “This will lead to an increase in calories burned. Now, that’s significant.”

“It’s not about doing one OR the other, it’s about one complimenting the other to bring you results,” Tiffiny adds.

So like everything in life, balance is key. Ensure your weekly workout routine includes a bit of HIIT, some weights and a little stretching to reap the best possible benefits for your health.

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‘After 3 Miscarriages, This is How I Processed the Trauma’

With October marking International Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, we spoke to survivor of multiple miscarriages and women's health lobbyist Samantha Payne, CEO and Co-Founder of Pink Elephants - Australia’s only national support service dedicated solely to miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.

Here's her story.

What is your experience with miscarriage?

I have lost 3 babies to miscarriage, my first was a missed miscarriage - I walked into a scan expecting to show my then-toddler her baby sibling on the screen only to be met with 'I'm sorry there is no heartbeat.' I had to endure a weekend with that baby dead inside of me before I could be fitted in for a D&C.

My next miscarriage happened 6 months later - I started to bleed on holiday with friends, I told no one, I was deeply ashamed. I passed that baby alone in the shower at 3am, forever traumatised as I had to flush the remains down the toilet.

My final loss was just last year another miscarriage I started to spot and I just knew, the Doctor that saw me this time asked if we could see a flicker on the screen she thought there was a heartbeat, astounded we asked for a second opinion, where it was confirmed my baby had died.

How did you process the trauma?

With my first two losses, I didn't cope. I poured everything into Pink Elephants and having another baby. I had another pregnancy but was completely terrified the whole time, I didn't bond with this baby, no names, no gender reveal, wearing a brave face every day pretending I was grateful. When Johnny was 4 months old it all caught up with me: I had postpartum anxiety and post-traumatic stress as a result of my losses and not processing the trauma. With counselling and medication, I began to heal and process my losses. My loss last year was different: I took bereavement leave, I gave myself permission to grieve our baby girl and mourn my future with her. I spoke with others in our community, I went back to counselling, and I took the time I needed to start to heal.

How did you get the courage to launch Pink Elephants?

I don't think it was courage, in the beginning, I think it was my anger at the lack of support and validation that I chose to channel into something positive.

I never want my daughter to go through what I did in the way I did. Women deserve so much more than what we currently get.

Last year took courage to come back and work in this space again after bereavement leave - the physical and emotional pain was real, the triggers of other women's stories are real but they are also cathartic. As is the change we create, I feel like my work is meaningful and makes a difference that's what carries me on, I know we can do so much more with the right support alongside us.

I want to next see more targeted action from our government - in particular the Department of Health - in addressing this issue. It's no longer ok to turn a blind eye to the death of our babies, our trauma, and our poor mental health because of the system failing us.

How can we support a friend that has been through loss like this?

You can be there for her, you can validate her loss, don't reduce it to 'at least' comments. You can't take away her pain but you can provide a safe space for her to share and feel listened to, empathised with, and supported. Like any other bereavement send flowers, we have collaborated on a LVLY nurture flower posy as a way to do this. Remember there is no timeline to grief and it's ok for her to still be upset for many months after, remember her due date, acknowledge it at the time, support her through other friends' baby showers.

How can women experiencing miscarriage access support?

They can head to to access our circle of support, which includes online peer support communities to connect with others through miscarriage, trying to conceive again, and pregnancy after loss. Specialised emotional support content, as well as shared stories and journeys, can be accessed through our website too.