By Garrett J. Braunreiter, CSCS, The Energy Coach
Truth is, you don't need to work out obsessively to get a slender, slim body. Would you believe that you can turn almost any activity into a serious fat-melting session!
Today we'll show you 19 fat busters that will help you knock off more calories during your workouts and make every extracurricular minute count toward melting those love handles.
Incorporate it into your everyday life and...
"Burn Fat To Get In The Best Shape Ever! (tm)"
1. Run errands. Literally. Walking briskly while lugging dry cleaning burns about 120 - 180 calories in 30 minutes, twice as many as driving does.
2. Blast your biggest muscles. The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn--even just sitting around. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who pumped iron upped their burn-off by 300 calories a day. If fat burning is your goal, focus on building the muscles that consume the most calories, like your butt, thighs, and chest -- don't bother with smaller muscles, like triceps or calves, that have less impact.
3. Fidget frequently. Research has shown that "spontaneous physical activity" like tapping toes and fussing with hands blasts off up to 800 extra calories per day. Wow!
4. Power up. To kill off more calories each aerobic workout, increase the speed or intensity. For example, if you run on a treadmill, up the speed or raise the incline. The calorie difference: Running 30 minutes at 5.2 mph burns 266 calories; 6.7 mph bums 325. Adding hills ups the count another 50 calories.
5. Rock out. Music is a great motivator. Studies show that exercisers who tune in to music work out 25 percent longer.
6. Trek to the toilet. Instead of going to the closest bathroom at work, take the stairs to another floor. Every minute you climb kills seven calories. This may be a challenge at times, but you reap the benefits.
7. Warm up, cool down. Even the most dedicated exercisers skip the warm-up and cool-down (it's too "boring," they say). Even though you're moving slowly, you're still burning calories: A swimmer, for instance, can wipe out an extra 90 calories - the equivalent of a couple of Oreos -- if she does a 10-minute warm-up and cooldown.
8. Munch more often. You need calories to burn calories. When you go hours without food, your body goes on starvation alert and slows its metabolism to conserve energy so you use fewer calories. Feel free to eat between meals. Remember, BALANCE. Plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt, nutrition bar or protein shake.
9. Do it CORRECTLY. Using poor technique on a cardio machine reduces the number of calories burned. The most common blunder: stair-stepper sloppiness. When you lean on the handrails, your legs don't have to carry as much weight, so you don't expend as much effort as you should. For maximum flab-busting, stay upright and only use the handrails for balance.
10. Squat before you shower. How about a little creativity? Stand in front of the toilet, rest one foot on the lid, and grab a towel rack or sink for balance. Squat 15 times, switch legs, and repeat. One-legged squats can be more effective than two-legged squats, because you're making ONE leg do all the work.
11. Pace yourself. No, don't become a nervous wreck. Always on the move, pacers continually tap their fat reserves. If you're not a natural pacer, schedule a five-minute walk break every hour. You could burn about 100 extra calories if you work a full eight-hour day.
12. Two-step it. Obviously, forgoing elevators in favor of stairs bumps up your calorie expenditure, but did you know that taking the stairs two at a time burns 55 percent more calories than single stepping?
13. Use interval sprints. Adding short turbo bursts of speed to a cardio workout will net you a bigger calorie payoff. Throw in 10 sprints during a cycling session and you'll bum an extra 120 calories. To do: Go at your usual moderate pace for two minutes, then speed up for one minute. Slow back down to your regular pace for two minutes, and then speed up again for a minute. Keep repeating. Great for when you're pressed for time but want to get the most from a cut-short workout.
14. MAKE your meals yourself. Commit to kitchen time. Give up your blender and pick up a whisk. Instead of an electric can opener, use the manual kind. Just spending an hour cooking burns about 150 calories.
15. Pump and Jump. Mixing strength training with cardiovascular exercise (called circuit training) can more than double your workout's calorie-burning payoff. Start with five minutes on a cardiovascular machine, move on to a strength exercise, then return to cardio for a couple of minutes. Continue alternating cardio and strength exercises, finishing up with five minutes of cardio.
16. Clean your home. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing floors, making beds -- they don't just eliminate dirt, they k.o. calories. In fact,housework melts away 200 calories an hour. (This may be a tough one for you men, but I found out over the last couple of weeks... you're definitely workin'!)
17. Split 'em. Instead of doing a longer, 40-60 minute aerobic workout (when many of you complain you "don't have time"), split them into two mini aerobic workouts -- 20-30 minutes in the A.M. and 20-30 minutes in the P.M. Exercise boosts your metabolism for a few hours afterward, so you stand to burn MORE calories by splitting your workout up.
18. Del aqua (that's Italian). Staying hydrated helps you work out longer, thus burn more calories. Even a 1% drop in bodyweight through weight loss is enough to fatigue your body AND your mind, which means you're more likely to quit before your workout is complete.
19. Perfect posture. Never lie your down when you can sit, sit when you can stand, or slouch when you can stand up straight with your abdomen pulled in. You're making yourself work to maintain proper posture, so that extra effort is burning some more calories.
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