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To tone up and get leaner, having good eating habits and a structured workout routine are of most important.
However, if you want to burn additional calories, these are some extra tips you can implement to increase your metabolism throughout the day.
While there are no shortcuts we can take, every little does count and these tips will have a compounding effect if you stick to them consistently.
1. Strength Train
Strength training results in a higher “after-burn” of calories than all other forms of exercise.
Basically, after you finish your strength training, your engine doesn’t just cool off immediately. It takes time. I like to use the analogy of driving from Galway to Dublin. After you complete your drive, your car engine doesn’t just cool down straight away. It takes time to get back to its normal, resting state.
To go into more detail on it - your metabolism can be boosted for up to 38 hours post-workout. This is of course depending on the type of training you do and the intensity. But, this also means that your body will continue to burn calories as you chill out on the couch for the evening. How cool is that? After you pay your dues in the gym and sit down and relax for the evening, your body will continue to burn more calories as you rest.
2. Build Your Leg Muscles
Muscles are more metabolically active than fat. What does this mean? The more lean muscle mass you have on your frame, the more calories you burn even while you rest. So two people could be the exact same weight, watch the exact same show on Netflix BUT the person with more lean muscle will burn more calories while resting.
What does not skipping leg day have to do with this? Your largest muscles are in your legs so by adding some lean muscle to them, you’re going to get an even bigger return on investment. This is not to say you shouldn’t train your upper body – who doesn’t love a good chest workout? This just emphasises the importance of strength training as mentioned above and specifically, not neglecting your legs!
3. Eat More Protein
You burn calories while eating calories! In other words, your body uses energy (or calories) to digest and transport your food throughout your body. Isn’t that interesting?
Protein has the highest thermic response meaning your body needs more energy (or calories) to process, break down and digest protein compared to carbohydrates or fats.
In other words, by eating meals which are higher in protein you will burn extra calories than having meals which are lower in protein. That is why a key nutritional habit I try to instill in all of my clients is to eat protein at every meal.
Interestingly, up to 10% of your total caloric intake is used from digesting food.
Foods which are high in protein include:
4. Type Of Food Matters
Calories in vs Calories out is the basic law of energy balance. But the type or make up of the calories we consume also is important.
What's the takeaway? While overall calorie intake matters, the type of foods we eat also matters a lot. The more calories you can get from real foods the better. This is something I try encourage my clients to think of when they’re making food choices.
5. Sleep More
One of the easiest ways to burn more calories throughout the day requires the least amount of work – and that is sleeping. Of the three critical components of fitness – training, nutrition and sleep, sleep is the one I personally need to work the most on. And for good reason.
Sleeping more helps your body run more efficiently. Research has shown that your metabolic rate tends to be lower if you get fewer than six hours of sleep per day and there is an increased likelihood of weight gain. Why?
Research has shown that a poor night’s sleep can result in you overeating by an extra 25% of your daily calories. Why is this? Because we’re feeling so tired, we need more food and fuel to keep us going. On top of this, the type of food we tend to eat when we’re tired tends to be low nutrient, high calorie foods.
I used to pride myself on only needing six hours of sleep to get through the day but was I functioning optimally or to the best of my ability? Probably not. By this stage, you get the idea – don’t neglect your sleep!
6. Move More Throughout The Day
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It’s a fancy way of saying the daily-life movement we do which isn’t deliberate exercise.
Examples of NEAT include walking, carrying groceries, doing housework, cleaning up, fidgeting etc. In general, the more you move the more calories you burn. Do not underestimate the importance of NEAT and moving around daily.
Depending on your activity levels, NEAT can account to anywhere from 5-25% of your total caloric intake. For instance, someone who works in a labour-intensive job such as construction where they’re carrying bricks, wheelbarrows etc. around will have a higher caloric requirement than someone who sits at a desk all day.
To increase your NEAT, set a daily steps target for yourself and invest in a fitness tracker to monitor your step count. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight, one of the simplest things you can do is simply increase your NEAT. It is not as demanding on the body as doing a HIIT session or an extra weights session yet it is very effective.
Other practical tips include taking the stairs instead of using the escalator or parking a bit further away from the supermarket or shop.
7. Drink More Water
Drinking water is extremely underrated yet it’s importance cannot be emphasised enough. While drinking water will not have a direct affect on you burning more calories, it can indirectly result in you consuming less calories throughout the day.
Why is this? Because we often mistake being hungry with being dehydrated. Next time you feel the urge to grab some food, simply have a sip of water before you make your decision and see if your hunger was genuine or if you were actually dehydrated.
Remember, water makes up to 70% of our total body weight – so give the body what it needs! I recommend my clients to aim to drink 40-50ml of water per Kg of bodyweight.
8. Stand While You Work
If you’re working from home, consider swapping your normal, sit-down desk for a standing desk. Or, simply find ways to be more creative and put your laptop on a counter on top of a stack of books or something that will elevate it.
Why? While figures drastically vary on how many calories you burn while standing vs sitting, all research does suggest that you burn additional calories while standing compared to sitting.
So if you’re working 9-5 at home, consider having intervals of time spent standing instead of sitting down all day. If this is not possible, take regular movement breaks throughout the day.
To burn more calories throughout the day:
1. Strength train because it has a higher after burn affect.
2. Don’t skip leg day because the largest muscles are in your legs.
3. Eat more protein.
4. Eat more real food.
5. Sleep 8 hours per night.
6. Increase your steps.
7. Drink water throughout the day.
8. Stand while you work instead of sitting.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found this beneficial.
References: Men’s Journal: “11 Tips to Burn More Calories.”
What To Do Next
If you found this post beneficial, then join my Free Facebook Group for more training tips.
If you’d like a coach to help put all of the above in operation for you, then book your free consultation call today to see if you’d be a good fit for my Online Coaching.
Having something the structure and accountability you need to get the results you’ve always desired will make your journey much easier and quicker.
What’s the purpose of the consultation call?
To deep dive into your health & exercise history, your goals and current struggles and from there decide if we’d be able to work together (note – I am not the right coach for everyone which is why I have consultation calls with potential clients of mine).
If we are a good fit, we can get working on your personalised program so you can finally make the changes you’ve always wanted.
Adrian McDonnell -
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