Extreme dieting and counting every calorie I eat are no longer a part of my life. Although calorie counting can be a good discipline and accountability, for years this practice sent me spiraling into mental self-sabotage.
Rather than worrying about counting every calorie this week, why not incorporate a few of BURSTClub’s simple ways to increase calorie burning? If you will do things today to increase your fat-burning and calorie-burning you won’t have to kill yourself with counting, you can breathe a little easier, and you can enjoy your day a little more. So ditch counting and start burning!
1. Increase Your Lean Muscle
While consuming less calories can help you lose weight, it’s crucial to lose the right kind of weight. Most dieting scenarios cause us to lose both fat and muscle, which results in impaired metabolism and calorie burning.
Maintaining lean muscle is the key to your metabolism working properly and burning more calories. Exercise and consuming more protein throughout the day in the form of protein shakes, vegetables, nuts, or lean meats will aid in building more lean muscle.
2. Don’t Starve Yourself
While you may lose weight initially, starving yourself will result in the body doing two things:
- When you do eat, the food will likely be stored as fat because your body needs fat to survive.
- Look for the fastest source of energy to keep it going, which happens to be sugars (glycogen) that are stored in your muscles.
When you “train” your body to live off stored sugars in your muscles because it’s afraid of starvation, the result is losing lean muscle. We’ve already established how crucial lean muscle is to your overall ability to burn calories. So starving yourself for a day or a few meals here and there does more harm than good in the long run. You will end up with a slower metabolism and a body that is trained to “hold onto fat” to protect itself.
3. Focus on Long Muscles
If you feel discouraged about flabby arms or a layer of fat that just won’t seem to go away on your abdominals, back off the crunches and curls and start doing more squats or sprints! Your glute (butt) and leg muscles are the longest muscles of your body. When you build these long muscles you will burn more calories and lose unwanted fat from anywhere you need to lose it – including those frustrating and hard-to-get areas!
4. Drink More Water
If you aren’t taking in enough water, your body cannot do its job efficiently. Water is the basis for every chemical reaction that takes place in your body, including the utilization of fat. If you only consume liquids like coffee, tea, sodas, or artificial or sugary fruit juices throughout the day, you will become mildly dehydrated, forcing your body to slow down the metabolism to compensate. A slow, water-starved metabolism will not burn fat or calories efficiently.
When you leave the house for the day, plan ahead. I always leave with 2 or 3 water bottles filled with filtered water so that I don’t have to spend money on bottled water and so that I don’t run the risk of going all day without drinking any water!
5. Eat the Right Things at the Right Time
Rather than eliminating an entire food group altogether (i.e. refusing to eat carbs and only eating protein), it is better to focus on the timing of when you are eating the 3 main food groups. We call this concept Metabolic Food Timing and you can learn how to master this key in our book 5 ALIVE.
Breakfast, or “breaking the fast,” is intended to supply your body with quick energy to get moving. Rather than avoiding carbs at all cost, just consume them earlier in the day and move to more protein and vegetables later in the day.
When you consume carbs late at night when you are sedentary or going to sleep, they are stored rather than utilized. So make sure protein is one of the last things you consume at dinner time if you want to aid your body in building lean muscle and burning more calories – even while you sleep!
6. Eat Small, Lower Calories Meals throughout the Day
A variety of factors indicate how many calories you should consume for the day. But when it comes to each meal, stick to smaller portions. The body can only digest completely about 300 calories at a time, so larger portions will be stored.
This key to burning more fat and calories is the main concept of our 5 ALIVE nutrition guide…eat 5 ALIVE meals a day and you will feel more ALIVE. These smaller, more frequent meals “wake up” the metabolism. Once the smaller portion is completely digested the “awakened” metabolism will look for the next thing to burn – i.e. your fat stores!
7. Eliminate “Empty” Calories
It’s no secret that cheeseburgers, soda, and candy are not doing your shape any favors. These “empty calorie” foods that are highly processed and loaded with artificial things, made from bleached, white flour or sugar, and sodas.
These foods should be avoided or greatly minimized because they often contain hundreds of calories per serving, do nothing nutritionally for the body, most often are Genetically Modified (GMO), and will be stored as fat. The more fat you gain translates into less calories burn over time.
I am not a calorie counter…but that’s because I try to choose more alive foods than processed, dead ones which are high in wasted calories. If you simply swap the foods you are eating to more “alive” foods, you actually can eat more and not count a single calorie! Alive food contains fewer calories, more nutrients, fiber, and water…all necessary fuel for the body to burn properly.
8. Exercise in Small Doses Throughout the Day
Many of us are in sedentary desk or phone jobs and do little moving throughout the day. Try incorporating a short BURSTClub ‘set’ throughout your day. Even if you’ve done a full workout already, don’t just sit the rest of the day. Keep moving!
Stand behind your chair or find a spot in the office like your break room (even if your co-workers stare and think you’re crazy!) to run in place, do some squats, or bust out 20 seconds of jumping jacks.
Try it out and let us know how energized (and maybe embarrassed if the entire office is watching) you feel!
The official term for fidgeting is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and is any movement that isn’t intended as exercise. Things like clicking a pen, swaying back and forth when you’re standing, using your hands when you’re speaking, tapping feet and fingers, and twirling hair are all examples of NEAT.
Incessant fidgeting like the clicking of a pen or cracking fingers or toes tends to get to me a little. Because my amazing, better half loves to fidget unknowingly, he was very excited to see this study from Wiki to prove that his fidgeting is worthwhile. One study shows that lean people fidget for about 150 minutes a day more than obese people do. Small, fidgety activities have been shown to burn 350 calories a day, which is equivalent to 10-30 pounds a year!
Seeing those numbers, I might just welcome a little more fidgeting in my life! Maybe that is why Nathan is so lean!!
BURST workouts (Body’s Ultimate Response Shock Training) are high intensity “bursts” for a short period of time…like 20 seconds. This type of exercise reprograms the body to burn fat for 24 hours a day. The focus is not necessarily on how many calories are burned during the workout, but the amount of calories and fat being burned after the workout. Incorporate this style of training 3-4 times a week for best results.
11. Eat Healthy Fats
Most people think fatty foods are the reason we are fat. This is actually not the case at all. The obesity epidemic, and our inability to burn calories properly, is caused not by an increase in fat in our diets, but by an increase in sugar. The body actually needs fat to burn fat.
The type of fat you are eating is the key. So rather than avoiding fat, eat foods like avocados, coconut, nuts, and seeds. Use oils like coconut, grape seed, and olive oil to get healthy fats into your diet.
12. Reduce Toxins
Did you know that toxins can prevent calories burning and cause fat storage instead? Toxins bombard you every day from your environment (i.e. chemical cleaners, air, and unpurified water) to your food (like preservatives, food coloring, or GMO ingredients).
Picture a pool of murky, stagnant water that has no fresh water flow coming in or going out. When you have toxins coming in from chemical cleaners, soaps, preservatives in food, personal care products, water, and air the body is on toxic overload and will not function as it was designed to. A simple step to cut back on toxic overload is to swap out cleaners, soaps, and foods for more natural or healthy alternatives.
Which tip helps you the most? Leave me a comment below of which tip you incorporate into your day and share any other helpful ideas!