Sure, interval training is the best way to torch serious calories. But let’s be honest, we’re not always in the mood to do sets of sprints on the treadmill. The good news is that there are plenty of other methods that burn calories and kick your metabolism into high gear. Here are 7 ways to ignite major calorie burn without doing a single interval.
1. Make it a combo
“Anytime you can combine cardio with weights you’ll burn more calories and amp up your metabolism,” explains celebrity trainer, Autumn Calabrese, creator of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs. Whether it’s something as simple as using hand weights while doing jumping jacks or wearing a weighted vest while walking on the treadmill, the combination “gives you a cardio fix while also strengthening your muscles, which revs up your metabolism.” What does a weighted vest do? It promotes all-over muscle toning, says trainer Craig Ramsay: “When we hold onto dumbbells while walking, our forearms can only grip for so long. These small muscles fatigue much quicker than the larger upper body muscles you’re trying to focus on. A weighted vest will provide added resistance to the upper body, helping you achieve an effective resistance training for both the lower body, lower back, and core.”
2. Do a super set
Keeping your muscles guessing is not only key to staying strong, but also integral to burning more calories. A super set—two exercises performed back-to-back to create one set—provides a metabolic boost. “A super set surprises, challenges, and fatigues your muscles, leading to optimal fat burning potential,” says fitness trainer Maria Kang, author of The No More Excuses Diet. With a challenging dumbbell weight, perform a standing bicep curl for 10-12 repetitions, then immediately perform a dumbbell overhead triceps extension for 10-12 reps. Perform 3 sets. Another great super set: gripping two challenging dumbbells, perform a weighted squat for 10-12 repetitions then immediately perform a split lunge, 10-12 reps on each leg.
3. Minimize your rest time
Turn your strength training (and metabolism) up a notch by decreasing your rest time in between sets. “Rest time is important for recovery, but resting 2-3 minutes between sets can sometimes lower your chance of burning more calories,” says celebrity fitness trainer Donovan Green, author of No Excuses Fitness. To keep your muscles burning and metabolism revving, limit your rest time to no more than 60 seconds between sets. “Less rest time means greater gains in endurance, stamina and fat burn.”
4. Eat breakfast before a morning workout
There’s controversy over whether or not eating before a morning workout is better than starting off on an empty stomach. (Proponents of the latter claim your body digs into its fat stores if you work out on an empty stomach.) Not so, says Calabrese. “Eating breakfast is very important,” she says. “You’ve gone 6-8 hours without eating, so your metabolism has slowed down.” To kick your metabolism into high gear you need to give it fuel. “Even if it’s a banana or peanut butter toast, giving your body something to refuel itself will reboot your metabolism.”
5. Don’t cut calories
Losing weight is about calories in, calories out. But when you carve off too much, you might actually be sabotaging your metabolism and your ability to shed weight. “Eating too little actually has the opposite effect on your body,” explains Calabrese. “You go into starvation survival mode and instead of burning the fat, your body protects it.”
6. Increase the incline
Something as simple as upping the incline on the treadmill during a cardio workout can really get your metabolism going. “It challenges your cardiovascular system, forcing you to burn more calories,” explains Green. It will also torch more calories by forcing your muscles to work harder.
7. Embrace the cold
You’re probably sick of the cold and the snow by now, but you might change your mind. A recent study published in Diabetes found that when participants slept in a mildly cold room (66°F) their levels and activity of brown fat—the type of fat that boosts your metabolism and ignites calorie burn—increased by 30 to 40%. When they slept in a warmer, 80-degree room, their brown fat levels dropped below baseline. Next time you go for a walk and it’s a tad cooler than you’d like, just remember that frosty air is boosting your metabolism.
[SOURCE: PREVENTION.COM “7 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism—No Intervals Required” by Blake Miller ft. Autumn Calabrese]