10 Ways To Ignite Your Calorie Burn
Burn 60% more calories
1. Quench with cool water
Chill your water pre-workout for a bigger burn.
A fresh-out-of-the-fridge water bottle may energize you for warm-weather exercise, finds a British study. Exercisers who drank refrigerated water (39°F) worked out about 25% longer than those who consumed the same amount of warmer water—and they said their exercise sessions felt easier too.
2. Swing those arms
Perfect your walking form.
Turn your walking into a calorie-torching workout by bending your elbows 90 degrees and pumping your arms as you stride. It not only automatically speeds up your pace but helps you burn up to 15% more calories every time you work out.
For proper pumping: Trace an arc from your waist to your chest as you swing. Your thumbs should come close to touching your waistband as your elbow goes backward. Also, make sure to keep elbows in and don’t let hands cross past the middle of your chest (in front of your sternum). Too much side-to-side motion drags down your pace.
3. Pop in your headphones
Fight flagging energy with music.
Working out to your favorite fitness playlist can help you to go up to 20% longer and burn more calories, finds a study from West London’s Brunel University. Music blocks fatigue, produces feelings of vigor, and helps you keep pace by synchronizing your movements, says study author Costas Karageorghis, PhD.
4. Put on some weight
Slim down, not bulk up, with a little heavy lifting.
To really rev your calorie burn, it is not about the number of reps, but the size of the weights. Even when exercisers lifted identical volumes (such as 10 pounds 10 times or 20 pounds 5 times), those using the heavier dumbbells burned about 25% more calories when they were finished. “Heavy weights create more protein breakdown in the muscle, so your body has to use more energy to repair and recover—that’s how lean muscle tissue is built,” says researcher Anthony Caterisano, PhD, of Furman University.
Bonus: Working out with heavy weights even for as few as 3 to 6 reps increased exercisers’ sleeping metabolic rate—the number of calories burned overnight—by nearly 8%. That’s enough to lose about 5 pounds in a year, even if you did nothing else!
Lose weight and firm your trouble zones with this super-speedy sculpting routine.
5. Break up your set
Don’t waste time waiting.
Instead of performing 2 or 3 sets of a single exercise before moving to the next one, do a circuit: Complete just 1 set and then immediately move to the next exercise, repeating the circuit 2 or 3 times.
When researchers had testers do either standard strength-training(3 sets of 6 exercises with 2 minutes of rest in between) or circuit-training (moving through a series of 6 exercises 3 times, with 30 seconds of rest in between), the circuit-trainers burned nearly twice as many calories postworkout as the standard-style lifters. “Because your heart rate stays elevated longer after circuit-training, you continue burning fat as though you were still exercising,” says researcher Anthony Caterisano, PhD, of Furman University.
6. Head outside
Trade the treadmill for trails.
Besides the fresh air and better scenery, heading outside can give your workout a major boost. Research finds that exercisers burn 10% more calories when they walk or run outdoors than they do on a treadmill at the same speed.
7. Crank up the incline
Walk uphill for better results.
If bad weather forces you indoors, challenge yourself on thetreadmill. Crank up the incline to firm up your derriere and rev up your calorie burn by up to 60 percent. And when you come back down to earth, walking will feel easier.
8. Log at least 12 minutes
Add a burst of heart-pumping cardio.
Any amount of cardio will burn calories, but to really fight off pounds, you need at least 12 minutes (beyond a warm-up) of continuously moderate to high-intensity activity (where you’re breathing somewhat hard) most days a week.
That’s the amount necessary to “create a training effect, which improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and generate more fat-burning enzymes, such as lipase, so you can blast more flab during exercise and other activities all day,” says Chip Harrison, exercise physiologist, director of strength and fitness at Pennsylvania State University, and coauthor of The Female Athlete.
9. Cut your workouts in half
Pick up the pace for all-over fat burning.
Introducing short bouts of vigorous activity can speed up weight loss and cut your workout time by up to half or more. Australian researchers found that women who alternated just 8 seconds of high-intensity exercise with 12 seconds of low-intensity activity for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, slimmed down faster than steady-paced exercisers who worked out twice as long. Those who did intervals lost up to 16 pounds, shrunk their bellies by 12% and their thighs by 15%, and gained, on average, 1 1/2 pounds of metabolism-revving muscle in 4 months—without dieting!
10. Don’t skip stretching
Stay loose and limber for more effective workouts.
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, helping to prepare them for exercise and recover from the effort afterward. Skip the stretches, and you won’t get nearly the benefits you should from aerobic exercise and resistance training.
“Stretching helps you move freely during aerobic exercise, it enables your muscles to build more strength during weight training, and it helps keep muscles long and lean,” says Sharon Willett, a physical therapist and sports trainer at the Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute in Arlington, Virginia.