Based on the number of searches I’m seeing, “how to burn more calories” is something a lot of you guys are looking for a bit more info on. Most of the information you’re coming across tells you to do more HIIT sprints, lift heavier weights, spend more time in the gym…and so on. Well yeah, that goes without saying…you exercise longer and harder, you’re going to burn more calories.
However, these (helpful) suggestions, fail to recognize the real motivator behind all of those “how to burn more calories” searches. Let’s face it, there are a great deal of us who don’t love working out. Maybe you do it because you know your health depends on it. Maybe you do it because you just want to make all of your friends jealous when you’re laying by a pool. Love it or hate it, you want to maximize your time spent in the gym and get the most bang for your buck. You do have lives that need tending to after all. So, from that standpoint, a suggestion to spend MORE time in the gym, or to simply go harder than you already are, isn’t exactly what you were looking for.
I know what some of you may already be thinking. Am I really about to give you that golden bullet in a pill? The one that increases your heart rate, turns on your inner metabolic machine, helps you shed excess fat, and can be had for only 4 easy payments of $19.95? Please, you should know me better than that by now.
Nonetheless, I’m still saying YES, you can burn more calories, drop body fat faster, and achieve a healthier and better looking body WITHOUT having to exercise harder, longer, or spend even more time in the gym. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me here, and you’ll see that it’s not.
How to Burn More Calories….The Easy Way
You guys have a pretty good grasp on how to burn calories, right? For those that don’t; lifting weights, sprinting, jumping, or anything else that engages your muscles, increases your heart rate, and forces your body to work harder than usual will speed up your caloric burn. Of course, those are all things we associate with “working out” or “exercise”. If you’re one of those fitness freaks who loves being in the gym and the suggestion of spending even more time in the gym doesn’t put you off, then god bless. But for those that have maxed out their weekly gym time, but still aren’t making the progress they want, keep reading.
You know those realllly fit people you see in the gym? Guys, girls, it doesn’t matter. You know who they are and they know who they are. Like many, you probably assume they spend an inordinate amount of time at the gym doing insane workout programs. You think about the hectic life you juggle and figure there’s no way you could ever be like them; you simply don’t have the time to commit. Well, let me tell you something…. you’re selling yourself short. WAY short.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret right now. Almost all of those fantastically fit people share a common denominator. It’s not the amount of time they spend on the treadmill, or the juice fast they do every few months. No, it’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s something you can seamlessly insert into your own life and get closer to the body and health you’ve always wanted. What is this magic bullet you’re wondering?
An active lifestyle. And no, an active lifestyle doesn’t mean more working out.
An Active Lifestyle is the Key To The Body of Your Dreams
Really? Is that it? That’s how to burn more calories? Lead an “active lifestyle”? Before you start sliding your cursor towards the upper-right hand corner, hear me out.
Sure, I told you I wouldn’t require you to exercise any longer or harder than you currently are. The thing is, we all have things we like and dislike. The things we like don’t seem like work. Finding time to squeeze them in is way easier than finding time to do something we dislike doing. By this token, finding an active hobby or two to include into your life, should be easy to accomplish. You see, all of those fit people are doing so much more than you see them doing at the gym. By and large, you’ll find them biking, taking yoga classes, hiking, playing pick up sports…..being active. What you won’t find them doing is spending every Sunday watching football and drinking beer. You won’t find them skipping out on going for an evening bike ride because they’ve got a date with their DVR and Toddlers and Tiara’s.
Putting in time at the gym is great. If can literally save lives and help you change your body for the better. But that said, if you want a picture perfect body and the health to match, you’ve got to find a way to overhaul your entire lifestyle. Four to five hours at the gym each week is good. Four to five hours at the gym each week plus 5 more hours of an active hobby or two is GREAT. Again, if you enjoy doing it, it’s not going to seem like “working out”.
The Real Life Impact of Living an Active Lifestyle
Think these little extra things don’t add up? Guess again. Almost any sort of physical activity is going to make a positive impact on your body and health over time.
Check out the calories burned during some active hobbies listed below:
- Billiards: 93 calories
- Bowling: 112 calories
- Golf: 130 calories
- Hiking: 223 calories
- Soccer: 260 calories
- Gardening: 167 calories
- Cooking: 93 calories
*Calories burned are for 30 minutes of activity for a 155lb person.
For a wider range of activities and their calories burned please refer to the July 2004 Harvard Heart Letter.
Let’s take a look at the real impact here. Let’s say you’re really into hiking and gardening, neither of which I would consider “working out”. Say you hike for an hour and a half once a week, and spend two hours a week gardening. That adds up to roughly 550 calories burned each week. Keep in mind this is on top of everything else you’re already doing in the gym. Since we know 1 pound is equal to 3,500 calories, you’re looking at losing an additional pound of excess body fat (realistically, some muscle loss may occur but that’s a different discussion for a different day) every six weeks or so. Over the course of a year, you’ve burned an almost 9 additional pounds of excess weight. Who here wouldn’t feel a lot better if they could cut out nine pounds of unwanted fat?
These little things may not seem like much, but over time, they add up. This is the real life impact of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Too often we get caught up in how many calories each exercise or workout is burning. We calculate down to the minute, how long we’ll be working out, and then try to figure out how much fat we’re going to lose. Instead of all of the over analyzing, why don’t you just sit down and think about some active things you may enjoy doing away from the gym. If you truly enjoy them you aren’t going to dread them like you very well may dread that 5 mile run after a long day at work.
Don’t Worry About How to Burn More Calories
Yup, forget about worrying how to burn more calories. In fact, stop worrying altogether. You have nothing to worry about. Replace the worrying with some thoughtfulness. Think hard about what you enjoy doing, as well as things in your lifestyle you could live without. If you could live without that hour of Honey Boo Boo, then go for a bike ride. If you wouldn’t die if you skipped that movie, go ahead, knock some walls down, and take that yoga class…you might actually like it. Find out things you can do without and start filling these newly created vacancies with your healthy and active hobbies.
Sooner or later your life is going to become a lot more active, and your body a lot more fit. Keep this train moving and always look to add or experiment with new, healthy habits and hobbies. Remember, it’s not going to seem like work when you actually enjoy doing it. Take pride in knowing that the things you’re doing are not only fun, but are helping you reach your goals much quicker than sitting at home on the sofa ever will.
And on that note, I’m going to grab my bike and hit the boardwalk.