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If you can get to the gym every day and blast off 500 calories, then that’s awesome—but if you follow up a morning workout by sitting at a desk for 8 hours, then you may not be too pleased with how long it takes you to start noticing weight falling off. Luckily, there are stealth ways you can turn up your calorie burn all day long. Lose more weight in less time with these expert tips.
Rise and sweat
If you know you have limited time to get to the gym in the morning, set your alarm to go off 15 minutes early. “Do something first thing to get your metabolism stoked—try a circuit of the tried-and-true basics, like jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches and squats,” suggests Alonzo Wilson, founder of Tone House in New York City. You’ll start the calorie-burning process (the moves above can torch more than 140), which will continue all day. For other quickie routines, download Wahoo’s 7-Minute Workout app (free; iTunes and Google Play).
Do the “1 times 10” trick
“I try to find 10 opportunities during the day to raise my heart rate for one minute at a time,” says Tony Horton, creator of the new P90 DVD. The added oxygen will keep you alert, activate your heart, lungs, legs and brain—and even burn as many as 300 to 400 calories a day, he explains. Try doing 10 squats at the top of every hour or walking lunges on your way to and from the bathroom.
Keep it cool
Pump your AC a little earlier than usual to melt fat. Keeping your home on the chilly side can increase your body’s brown fat by up to 40 percent, per a study in the journal Diabetes. When activated by cold temperatures, brown fat burns calories to help your body stay warm, even when you’re just sitting around.
Hit the floor
Park it on the ground when you watch TV and you’ll incinerate more calories than if you were lounging on the couch. “When you sit on the floor, your muscles have to support you, and you work harder to stand up,” says biomechanist Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA.
Carry in groceries one at a time to sneak in more steps, advises trainer Lisa Kinder, of the 10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training DVD. “Something that might normally take you two minutes has now become a 10-minute activity,” she says. Hey, it kills off 89 calories!“
Chew on this
Pop a piece of Big Red and you’ll curb cravings when that 3 p.m. snack attack hits. Gum chewers in a University of Rhode Island study burned 5 to 8 percent more calories than nonchewers. Bonus: Researchers say it might help you consume 68 fewer calories, too.
RELATED: 12 Foods That Control Your Appetite
Do grunt work
Jobs today require less physical effort than they did 50 years ago. Translation: We’re missing out on burning roughly 100 calories each day, found researchers from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Longer commutes, as well as meetings via Skype, have us in office-chair-potato mode. Make up for the loss by doing manual tasks, advises trainer Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body. For example, copy documents (12 calories), tidy your cube and water your plants (15 calories total) and stand while filing (18 calories).
Let your phone nudge you
Set your smartphone alarm to go off every 30 minutes as a reminder to get up. "Before you know it, hours can go by without leaving your desk,” says celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, author of 5 Pounds. Activity Trackers don’t help if you’re not actually moving.
Tote a tiny water bottle
Swap your extra-large water bottle for one half its size. “This way, you’ll have to refill, meaning you’re moving more often,” says Natalie Uhling, a trainer on NBC’s streaming Radius Fitness.
Give it just five more minutes
Whether you’re trekking along on the treadmill or stepping away on the stair climber, go for five more measly minutes—or even 10, which can burn up to 100 extra calories.
RELATED: 25 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight
Move to the music
Stack your playlist the optimal way and you’ll unknowingly work harder. Researchers at Brunel University London who teamed with Spotify discovered that rap music with 120 to 140 beats per minute has the best tempo for running. “There’s a beat every time your foot strikes the ground, so without realizing it, you’ll pick up the pace and try to match the beat,” says Kira Stokes, an instructor at BFX Studio in New York City. Hip-hop scored higher than rock because of the frequent tempo changes that can mess with your rhythm and make you push more often.
Do intervals during “Scandal”…
So the allure of watching TV helps you get to the gym? Go with it: Pump up your intensity during commercials. “If you’re running, increase your speed, or if you’re walking, run,” says Martica Heaner, PhD, a group fitness instructor at New York Sports Clubs. It’s a no-brainer way to push yourself.
…Or book it to book it
Downloading an audiobook (try the Audible app; $15 per month for unlimited audiobooks) is a proven motivator: A University of Pennsylvania study found that exercisers went to the gym 50 percent more often when they had one on hand.
Lift a little more
Before you double your treadmill time, hop off and grab weights. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that folks who did 20 minutes of strength training in addition to cardio shed more of that muffin top.
Jump on it
Hitting the weight rack? Instead of resting between sets, jump-rope to keep your heart rate up. “You’ll turn a regular weight-training day into a high-intensity routine,” Stokes says. Jumping rope intensely burns about 13 calories per minute. (During a 30-minute circuit, you could say buh-bye to more than 195 additional calories!)
RELATED: 4 Fat-Blasting Jumping Exercises
Use your legs
You melt a lot more calories churning out squats than bicep curls. “Your legs are the muscle group that uses the most energy, so combine a leg exercise with an upper-body move,” Kinder advises. One great move to try: trainer Gunnar Peterson’s Dumbbell Curtsy Squat to Lateral Raise. It’ll really fire up those legs.
Go the extra mile
Finish off your easy-paced morning three-miler with strides (short, fast-paced intervals with longer steps) before heading home. Andrew Kastor, coaching director for the Asics LA Marathon and head coach for the Asics Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth, Calif., suggests doing six to eight of them with one-minute rests in between each: “It’s like adding a mile without knowing it.”
By Jenna Autuori-Dedic
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