It's almost time for the madness to begin again...Holiday indulgences translate into Hyper-Focus on anything workout and metabolism.

To start off the " Fit season" right, and so you can avoid the know-nothing non-experts from reality shows putting out near worthless fitness books and products that only distract you from the truth about fitness, I've put together a list of 4 common questions that I often get about metabolism with answers.

1. Why do women have a slower metabolism than men?

In general, they don’t. The fat cells in women’s hips and thighs behave differently in that they are somewhat less responsive to the body’s signals to release fat to burn as fuel. It just means that they are a bit more stubborn, but there’s nothing that automatically makes a female metabolism slower than a males. Our metabolism is the result of our genetics (not from gender, but from our blood line) combined with our eating and activity/exercise patterns. The last two are within your control. So the stubborn fat cells might make it appear that a female's metabolism is slower than a man's but it's really up to you since you can stimulate metabolism by appropriate eating and exercise patterns.

2. How does building muscle help speed up your metabolism?

Muscle is very “costly” stuff. It uses energy to repair and maintain itself – it is very active tissue. This increased need for energy drives the energy use by the body, and that’s the essence of metabolism – the speed with which the body processes and uses food. This is where the biggest effects of adding strength training for fat loss show up. The boost to metabolism from regular strength training is not a massive boost. However, if we multiply the effect over days and weeks, it can play a role in fat loss. Furthermore, when we’re at rest, we are burning a higher percentage of our calories from fat (although a smaller number of calories due to the lower activity level), so our elevated metabolism throughout the day helps access a bit more stored body fat day by day.

3. How can aerobic activity stimulate your metabolism?

It increases the use of calories during the activity so the metabolism is elevated to supply the muscles with the fuel it needs to continue the activity. Most of the boost to metabolism occurs only while in the performance of the activity and the metabolism returns to normal levels soon after ceasing the aerobic activity. So you will likely burn more calories in the performance of aerobic training vs. strength training, but the metabolic boost discussed in question 2 above likely makes resistance training the bigger fat burner over a 24-48 period after the training session.

4. How does strength training increase your life expectancy?

It increases your capabilities. By keeping joints, bones, and muscles stronger for longer you can do more of the things that make up living. A favorite saying of mine is “aerobic training may save your life, but strength training makes it worth living.” The aerobic effort keeps the heart, lungs, and blood stream in top shape, while the strength training helps keep our limbs functioning at a high level for longer.

Make your 2011 your best year ever, Live Fit! Be Fit, AbFitt-