9 ways to accidentally burn more calories all day long
How to Burn More Calories
1. Beat the clock
Slow and steady doesn't win the race when it comes to shedding maximum pounds. Rather than counting your squats, pushups, or lunges, time those exercises to get in as many reps in, say, 60 seconds, as you can, recommends John Hall, CPT, a personal trainer in Chicago. Also, try not to rest too much between reps. "This is a two-fold win," says Hall. "The time spent exercising decreases and the heart rate increases, which means you're burning more calories faster."
2. Work in bursts
Whether your usual cardio is an outdoor jog or you prefer to sweat on an indoor machine, use measured intervals to alternate bursts of speed with bouts of recovery. Set times to complete each speed, or, for outdoor sessions, use markers such as telephone poles to designate fast vs. slow phases, suggests Rhode Island personal trainer Aileene Palm, CSCS. If using a timer is too complicated, dofartleks. Swedish for "speed play," it simply means you'll be speeding up and slowing down at your own pace.
3. Move more muscles
For the biggest calorie burn, endless reps of bicep curls won't cut it. "Isolation exercises use relatively small muscle groups that can't do much work compared to larger muscle groups in the legs and back," says Tanner Martty, CPT, a personal trainer in Santa Monica, CA, who recommends big-muscle exercises such as squats, lunges, and pull-ups. And forget those hulking weight machines. "Machines allow your abs and stabilizer muscles to relax, making the exercise easier and therefore less effective." Use free weights or the cable machine instead.
4. Increase your weight
The weight strain on your muscles, that is. "Training with more resistance adds muscle onto your body," says Palm. "The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn during exercise — even when sitting around doing nothing." One way, of course, is to use heavier weights at the gym. No membership? Palm suggests simply wearing a backpack filled with heavy books during your next walk, jog, or hike. "But don't walk with hand weights or ankle weights," she warns. "This can increase your risk of injury."
5. Take it outside
Turn the great outdoors into your personal health club. During a walk, jog, run, or bike ride, find a route with plenty of hills. "The steeper the incline, the more calories you burn," says Palm. Even better, choose a path with uneven terrain — whether over dirt, sand, or grass — it will challenge your muscles to work much harder than an asphalt or concrete surface. Not a "brave the elements" kind of woman? Climb up and down a flight of stairs as a sub for hills, or choose the "hill," "interval," or "random" profile on a cardio machine.
6. Act like an animal
The very definition of total-body toning is challenging all four limbs at once. That's why Martty has his clients do bear crawls. "It's my secret weapon for fat loss," he says. "The move uses every muscle in your body." Get down on all fours, rear in the air, and just start walking forward on your hands and feet. Martty suggests starting with 20 yards at a time and gradually increasing, or inserting the crawls between your strength training exercises as an active rest break.
7. Jump around
Get your feet off the ground (and the pounds off your body) with bounding exercises, such as jumping rope, skipping, or jumping jacks. "Explosive exercises require more energy to perform," Palm says. Try the interval approach called Tabata. Developed by researcher Izumi Tabata, the Tabata Protocol involves different circuits of four minutes each. During each four-minute circuit, do one exercise, like jumping jacks, in alternating intervals, exercising as fast as possible for 20 seconds with a 10-second rest in between. Take a one-minute rest before moving on to another exercise, alternating intense 20-second bursts with 10-second rest periods, working up to a total of eight circuits.
Video: Personal Fitness : How to Burn High Calories in a Workout
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