In this brief review we examine the effects of resistance training on energy expenditure. The components of daily energy expenditure are described, and methods of measuring daily energy expenditure are discussed. Cross-sectional and exercise intervention studies are examined with respect to their effects on resting metabolic rate, physical activity energy expenditure, postexercise oxygen consumption, and substrate oxidation in younger and older individuals. Evidence is presented to suggest that although resistance training may elevate resting metabolic rate, il does not substantially enhance daily energy expenditure in free-living individuals. Several studies indicate that intense resistance exercise increases postexercise oxygen consumption and shifts substrate oxidation toward a greater reliance on fat oxidation. Preliminary evidence suggests that although resistance training increases muscular strength and endurance, its effects on energy balance and regulation of body weight appear to be primarily mediated by its effects on body composition (e.g., increasing fat-free mass) rather than by the direct energy costs of the resistance exercise.
Eric T. Poehlman is with the Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Metabolic Research, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Christopher Melby is with the Human Energy Laboratory, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.