What Is Metabolism? Metabolism is the sum of all chemical processes that take place in the human body to sustain life. Many people are born with slower metabolisms that make them prone to weight gain. Other people, known as lucky ____, are born with faster metabolisms and seem to have no problem being lean regardless of their activity levels or dietary habits. Though metabolic rate is largely determined by genetics, there are various ways to increase metabolic rate through exercise, nutrition, and supplements. Here we will focus solely on the metabolic impact of a properly executed exercise routine. One of the longest running inside jokes within the fitness industry is the fact that Monday is international chest day, where most gym-goers will do endless sets and reps of bench presses and chest flies until their bodies burn and swell as if being chewed on by a swarm of ginormous mosquitoes. We can thank the drug-abusing bodybuilding world for the concept of training one body part per day for best results. If you open the typical bodybuilding magazine you’ll see this as an example of a training program (or some variation): Monday: Chest Tuesday: Quads Wednesday: Back Thursday: Hamstrings Friday: Triceps Saturday: Biceps Sunday: Calves Keep in mind that when you take a cocktail of anabolics, just about anything you do will result in less fat and more muscle—not to mention a host of deadly side effects and the possibility of growing a tail (anything is possible). The reality is that training your whole body more frequently will result in bigger strength and muscle gain, greater fat loss, and more metabolic boosts than training each muscle group once per week—and the science supports this. In a recent study at the University of Alabama, researchers had two groups of men perform two different strength-training programs with the same total training volume (sets and reps) for each muscle group. However, one group split the work across three total-body workouts while the other group trained each muscle group separately one time per week. They discovered that the total body workout group gained five additional pounds of lean muscle mass compared to their body-part training counterparts. It’s critical to understand that the more muscle you have the greater your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your RMR is the total number of calories you burn every day regardless of activity and adding several pounds of lean muscle mass will result in an additional daily calorie burn of up to several hundred extra calories per day. This translates into an awesome fat-smashing snowball effect over the course of weeks, months, and years. Another benefit of having more muscle is that your body’s carbohydrate tank gets bigger. The human body has a limited ability to store glycogen (sugar) in your muscles and liver before it spills over into the blood stream and leads to unwanted fat gain. The total amount of glycogen your body can hold, or your sugar tank, depends on a host of factors including gender, body size, age, etc. However, by building more muscle through high-intensity training, your body can subsequently store more sugar. For example, let’s just say that your sugar tank was originally 250 grams of carbs but is now 300 grams due to intensive training and muscle-gain. The extra 50 grams of leeway before your sugar tank overflows means two things: 1.) You can consume more total carbohydrates before your sugar tank reaches capacity where you then begin to gain fat and smooth out unless that energy is expended. 2.) The lower your sugar tank, the more your body will revert to using both dietary and stored fat to make up for that energy deficit. Plus, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that working your entire body each workout will torch more calories and thus accelerate metabolism and fat loss results. More muscles used equals more total work performed equals more total sugar, fat, and calories expended—all good stuff! THE FIX:​ For busy people looking for the biggest bang for their fitness buck, best results will be achieved with 3 total-body workouts per week with ideally 48 hours between workouts to maximize muscle growth and recovery.