When you do cardio on an empty stomach. Your body is more apt to burn fat as its primary source of energy since glycogen stores are depleted from eight hours of fasting the night before. This might mean waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal, but the fat-burning benefits are worth it.
Any cardio is better than none, but intervals have been shown to burn more fat than cardio sessions done at a constant slow-to-moderate intensity. A study from Laval University study can.pdfOpens a New Window. (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada) found that subjects who trained with intervals lost nine times as much body fat as those who performed a moderate-intensity cardio program for 20 weeks. Try going for 20-25 minutes at a roughly 1:1 ratio of intense to slow/moderate intervals (for example, sprint for a minute, walk for a minute and repeat).
Drink lots of water:
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can actually increase your metabolic rate and leave you less likely to overeat since you’ll feel fuller; likewise, being dehydrated can result in decreased fat-burning. A study from Germany found that when subjects drank about two cups of cold water, they increased their metabolic rate by 30% for more than an hour. Drink two cups of cold water between meals to keep your metabolism high. Drink regularly and make sure you consume at least a gallon of water a day.
Warm up before you lift:
If you can find just 10 extra minutes before you begin your resistance training to do a moderate warm-up on a treadmill, stationary bike, or other forms of cardio equipment, you’ll get a leg up on fat-burning. Research shows you can burn up to 150 additional calories by doing a brief cardio session before training with weights.
Train large muscle groups:
You burn more calories (and, subsequently, more body fat) during and after a chest and back workout than from an arms workout simply because you’re involving more muscle mass. For the same reason, you burn more calories training those larger bodyparts with free-weight compound exercises (squats for legs, barbell and dumbbell presses for chest, barbell and dumbbell rows for the back) rather than isolation and machine moves (leg press or flyes, for example). One study presented at the 2005 National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Annual
Meeting26439782Opens a New Window. reported that performing squats burned about 50% more calories than the leg press. But don’t limit yourself to two bodyparts—doing a modified full-body workout in which you train, say, chest, back, shoulders, and legs (save arms, calves, and abs for another day) allows you to burn even more calories. In this case, try doing 1 to 2 exercises per body part, 3 to 5 sets each, and train each muscle group more frequently (such as twice each week).
Common gym lore says you should lift with light weights and high reps to burn more calories and fat. Not necessarily. Studies have shown that training with heavyweight (doing sets of around six reps) keeps your metabolism higher and your testosterone levels elevated for longer after the workout, both of which result in greater fat-burning potential.
Keep your rest periods short:
Just because you’re training in the six-rep range doesn’t mean you need to sit around for 3 to 5 minutes between sets. Short rest periods maximize calorie burn. Typically, we’d suggest 30 seconds between sets (research shows this rest period burns the most calories during the workout), but because you’re training relatively heavy, feel free to bump that up to about one minute. To ensure muscle recovery with less rest, alternate bodyparts every other exercise. For example, if you’re training chest and back with three exercises each, do a chest exercise, then a back move, then return to the chest, and so on; if you’re doing a modified full-body workout, go from chest to back to shoulders to legs, then return to the chest. While one body part is being trained, the others get a chance to recover.
Extend your sets:
Burning more calories by lifting weights means squeezing in more work in roughly the same amount of time. This is where techniques such as drop sets and rest-pause come into play. Say you’re doing a set of six reps to failure on a given exercise. After the sixth rep, either decrease the weight and immediately rep out to failure again (drop set), or rest 15 to 20 seconds and perform a few more reps with the same weight (rest-pause). Extending sets in these manners burn more calories and fat. To avoid overtraining, which can actually limit fat loss, use such techniques on only the last set of each exercise.
Take a walk after dinner:
Got a dog? Take him for a walk after dinner. No dog? Go for a walk anyway. It’s not rocket science: Taking a nice, leisurely walk burns additional calories, which is helpful after a substantial dinner, especially if you “accidentally” ate too much. Even if it’s just a 20-minute stroll, a walk does you good—but try to keep a decent pace.
Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep:
Missing out on sleep can mean missing out on muscle repair that occurs when your body is at rest. Messing with the repair process means less muscle and, subsequently, a slower metabolism. If your alarm is set to go off at 7 a.m., be in bed by midnight. Then wake up and repeat these 30 steps all over again.
It Does Not Matter how Slowly You Go as Long as You Do Not Stop 🙂