4 Super-Fast Ways to Burn Calories and Fat
Sometimes despite our best efforts we fall short of our exercise goals. There's already enough going on in our day, and it's hard to make time for a workout, or planning the right meal. It's also difficult to keep it interesting enough to keep it up and stay motivated. What if there was an easier route to your calorie or fat burning goals than 2 hours a day on the treadmill? Sometimes all it takes is a consistent metabolic boost and a little nutritional know-how, and you’re already ten steps ahead. With that in mind, here’s our advice to you:
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is short intervals of high-intensity exercise, training at around 90% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) for a short period of time; you alternate those periods with intervals of a slower pace so you’re recovering while still exercising. You can burn around 500 calories in 32 minutes this way (dependent on the exercise). This is a great option for those who are impatient or lack free time for long gym sessions.
The Metabolism journal published study results back in 1994 confirming that the HIIT method is superior to steady cardio over a longer period. One group followed an HIIT program for fifteen weeks while another did steady cardio over a twenty week period. Although the latter group burned more calories, the HIIT group lost a lot more body fat.
HIIT works because your body isn’t able to predict what is required of it, and the increased intensity keeps your metabolism ticking over long after you’ve finished working out; meaning it’s still burning off those pesky calories while you’re slumped in your office chair all afternoon. You’ll burn 10% more calories than those who opt to go steady - for the next 24 hours.
Good HIIT workouts might include jumping jacks/squats, skipping, hill sprints, or running up and down stairs. Aim for around 90 seconds of HIIT, then around 30 seconds at a calmer pace. If you do this for half an hour, that should be enough.
Hydrate with ice-cold water
Hydration is one of the most important aspects to staying healthy, but it aids calorie too – if you do it the right way. It’s all to do with the temperature; your body has to warm or cool fluids you drink to 98.6°F before it can use them, which takes energy. It may not take lots of calories to do so, but this method (in conjunction with other calorie-burning techniques) can go far.
If water is very cold, you’ll burn a calorie every time you consume 1floz of water. So if you chug a liter of ice-cold water, you’ve burned off another 32 calories without moving. Word of warning: the more often you do this, the more often you’ll need to move anyway… to the toilet.
Over the course of a week, one liter a day equates to 224 calories. A liter a day is not really enough anyway – especially if you’re doing HIIT – so you can up that number substantially and get all the other benefits of hydration in the process. If you are suitably hydrated, this will have an even more positive impact on your overall calorie burn.
Think about it: in nature, animals eat only when they can eat. They’ll go for extended periods without any food, and then eat one huge meal. They’re rarely starving, though; if anything, they are never subject to disease, they have plenty of energy and no extra body fat. Primitive man functioned the same way; no food for extended periods. Simply put, they fasted because nature necessitated it. Convenience food is not only destroying our health; it’s extending our waistlines too.
I’m not suggesting you don’t eat for the next five days, although there are some well-documented health benefits for that. There are ways to fast comfortably; for example the 16:8 fast (16 hours fasting, 8 hour eating window), the 24 hour once per week fast, the one meal per day containing all your daily calories fast, or the 5:2 plan: two days per week eat a quarter of your usual calories (e.g. 500 for women, 600 for men). You might be surprised at how significantly your energy levels rise, now that your digestion isn’t working overtime all day long.
It works because when you fast for an extended period, you’ll have less blood sugar and less carb storage. Fasts work best when you go 14 or more hours without food. Your body will then start burning fat for energy, so you won’t feel tired. Intermittent fasting also encourages cell renewal and heightened immunity. Simply put, it’s good for you!
Boost your metabolism
Sometimes all your metabolism needs is a good kick up the backside. There are many ways you can do this; food-wise, as long as you’re consuming enough monounsaturated fats rather than saturated fats, you’ll burn more calories.
Olives (and olive oil), peanuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, avocados and coconut oil are incredibly healthy fats, famed for reducing belly-fat in particular. Hot peppers will also give your metabolism a helping hand… no, not in the form of a creamy curry. Sorry.
These foods increase your body’s fat and calorie burning ability – equating to an increase of around 4.3%. This is apparently because such fats prompt our mitochondria (our cells’ calorie-burning engines) to burn energy as heat. Remember, dropping the saturated fats is a must, or your MUFAs are going to have their work cut out for them.
Coffee and green teas are also popular metabolism boosters. EGCG is an antioxidant (found in green tea) that boosts fat burn and weight loss, provided that it’s combined with caffeine. Green tea happens to contain both, so it’s a winner. If you don’t fancy supping tea all day, you can try a super-healthy energy such as Neuro gum and mints, which combine all the elements you need to set your metabolism flying.
In short, combining high-intensity exercise with eating the right kind of metabolism-boosting foods and drinks (at the right temperature and time) is a sure-fire route to success. Get ready to make some new notches on those belts.
Hi! We’re Team Neuro, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.
We also created the world’s first nootropic energy gum, made help you optimize your mind — anywhere, anytime. Find out more here.