Build Your Leg Muscles
We've all heard that a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat, but the actual difference is pretty illuminating. "Your metabolism has a lot to do with your underlying body composition," says Wayne Scott Andersen, MD. Dr. Andersen is the medical director for Take Shape For Life, a weight loss coaching service, and author of several books on weight loss. A pound of fat burns 15 calories per day, but a pound of muscle burns 85 calories per day.
Your largest muscles are in your legs, so adding lean muscle there is going to give you a big return on investment. And know that you don't have to get huge to see benefits. "The more muscle mass you have the more your metabolic rate will increase, but we also see increases in metabolic rates for individuals that don't get size or don't want size changes," says Eric Sternlicht, PhD, an associate professor of exercise physiology and kinesiology at California's Chapman University. If you want to increase muscle metabolism without increasing size, Sternlicht recommends focusing on explosive movements, like plyometrics and Olympic-style lifts. If you want size, however, load up those weights and go for slow movements like the leg press and squats.