By Jenna Autuori-Dedic
If you can get to the gym every day and blast off 500 calories, then that’s awesome—but if you follow up a morning workout by sitting at a desk for 8 hours, then you may not be too pleased with how long it takes you to start noticing weight falling off. Luckily, there are stealth ways you can turn up your calorie burn all day long. Lose more weight in less time with these expert tips.
- If you know you have limited time to get to the gym in the morning, set your alarm to go off 15 minutes early. Do something first thing to get your metabolism stoked, like doing a quick circuit of the tried-and-true basics, like jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches and squats. You’ll start the calorie-burning process early, which will continue all day.
- Do the “1 times 10” trick. Try to find 10 opportunities during the day to raise your heart beat for one minute at a time. The added oxygen will keep you alert, activate your heart, lungs, legs and brain—and even burn as many as 300 to 400 calories a day. Try doing 10 squats at the top of every hour or walking lunges on your way to and from the bathroom.
- Keep it cool. Pump your AC a little earlier than usual to melt fat. Keeping your home on the chilly side can increase your body’s brown fat by up to 40 percent, per a study in the journal Diabetes. When activated by cold temperatures, brown fat burns calories to help your body stay warm, even when you’re just sitting around.
- Hit the ground. Park it on the ground when you watch TV and you’ll incinerate more calories than if you were lounging on the couch. “When you sit on the floor, your muscles have to support you, and you work harder to stand up,” says biomechanist Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA.
- Stop multitasking. Carry in groceries one at a time to sneak in more steps. Something that might normally take you two minutes has now become a 10-minute activity and burns 89 calories.
- Let your phone nudge you. Set your smartphone alarm to go off every 30 minutes as a reminder to get up. Because, remember, activity trackers don’t help if you’re not actually moving.
- Whether you’re trekking along on the treadmill or stepping away on the stair climber, go for five more measly minutes—or even 10, which can burn up to 100 extra calories.
- Move to the music. Stack your playlist the optimal way and you’ll unknowingly work harder. Researchers at Brunel University London who teamed with Spotify discovered that rap music with 120 to 140 beats per minute has the best tempo for running. “There’s a beat every time your foot strikes the ground, so without realizing it, you’ll pick up the pace and try to match the beat,” says Kira Stokes, an instructor at BFX Studio in New York City. Hip-hop scored higher than rock because of the frequent tempo changes that can mess with your rhythm and make you push more often.
- So the allure of watching TV helps you get to the gym? Go with it: Pump up your intensity during commercials. If you’re running, increase your speed, or if you’re walking, run. It’s a no-brainer way to push yourself.
- Just listen. Downloading an audiobook is a proven motivator: A University of Pennsylvania study found that exercisers went to the gym 50 percent more often when they had one on hand.
- Lift a little more. Before you double your treadmill time, hop off and grab weights. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that folks who did 20 minutes of strength training in addition to cardio shed more of that muffin top.
- Jump on it. Hitting the weight rack? Instead of resting between sets, jump-rope to keep your heart rate up. You’ll turn a regular weight-training day into a high-intensity routine. Jumping rope intensely burns about 13 calories per minute. (During a 30-minute circuit, you could say buh-bye to more than 195 additional calories!)
- Use your legs. You melt a lot more calories churning out squats than bicep curls.
- Finish off your easy-paced morning three-miler with strides (short, fast-paced intervals with longer steps) before heading home. Try to do six to eight of them with one-minute rests in between each. It’s like adding a mile without knowing it.