How Energy Balance Works (Hint: It Isn’t Just “Calories In, Calories Out”)
Naturally, some people love working out. Others…well, not so much. Finding a type of movement that brings you joy is key and will encourage you to consistently choose action over inaction. If you can workout with a friend for accountability, even better!
That said, certain types of physical activity are certainly more efficient at burning calories (i.e., expending energy). According to Skinner, the best exercise plan for a healthy metabolism is to exercise around 150 minutes per week with an elevated heart rate, mostly in zone 2 (i.e., approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate). This may include weightlifting, dance classes, pilates, fast-paced walking, or jogging.
Incorporating muscle-building exercises two to three times per week is also instrumental for balancing your metabolism, supporting healthy blood sugars, and increasing calories burned (even while you’re resting).
One warning to heed: Too much high-intensity or endurance/cardio exercise can actually make your metabolic health worse, so balance your efforts with lower intensity walking and other low-impact activities throughout the week to give your muscles a chance to recover.
Finally, don’t forget to give yourself grace. Habit formation doesn’t happen overnight, and building up your mental endurance is just as important as working on your physical well-being (if not more!). Plus, mental flexibility is a transferable skill that will support you in almost every aspect in life. (Win-win!)