Back to School: Strength Training to Boost Your BMR

If you were to lie in bed watching Netflix the entire day, you would still burn over a thousand calories breathing, pumping blood and repairing and growing new cells. In fact, 70 percent of your energy expenditure is your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. You may have already known this from a personal wellness course, but did you internalize it?

It’s advantageous to boost your BMR, especially during college when you’re prone to weight gain. While a healthy diet is the best defense against weight gain, so is lean muscle. Lean muscle burns more calories than fat even resting, and the best way to develop more muscle is through strength training.

If you want to improve your body composition between classes when you don’t have time for the gym, here are a four options:

Invest in a door gym for your upper body and core.

Because you can use a door gym in a hanging position and on the floor, you can target different areas on your arms, shoulders, back and abs. When hanging, you can begin with the basics: pull-up, chin-up and hanging knee raises. For more advanced exercises, try burpee pull-ups or swinging your knees to your elbows.

When the door gym is grounded, focus on your triceps with some dips or simpler ab exercises like crunches. But beware: you can become very top-heavy if you solely use a door gym. Be sure incorporate some lower body workouts as well.

A kettlebell for full-body workouts.

With a kettlebell, you can work out your entire body with 6 main exercises, according to Bodybuilding.com: the swing, goblet squat, Turkish get-up, strict press, clean and kettlebell snatch. The latter two are more difficult, so Bodybuilding recommends that you find a kettlebell-certified trainer to assess your ability level before you attempt it.

An adjustable-weight dumbbell for more versatility. From your basic bicep curl to push-ups with a triceps kickback, the dumbbell is more versatile than ever before. Even more, an adjustable-weight dumbbell saves space in tight spaces like dorm rooms if you want different weight options for different exercises.

Use your own body weight.

If your apartment or dorm is cramped, there’s nothing wrong with traditional bodyweight exercises. Planks, squats and push-ups are effective without equipment – especially if you are just beginning strength training. If you’ve been at it for a while, you may plateau with just your own body weight.

Once you build lean muscle, cardio is more efficient – we cover that in our next post. So stay tuned!

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