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How to Increase Calorie Burn (8 Easy Ways)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: November 8, 2022

As a fitness coach, I know that most of my clients’ questions revolve around muscle building and increasing calorie burning.

I always advise them on what I know from my decade-long experience, and my methods and techniques have proved to be quite effective in my practice.

Today, I decided to share some of these methods and tips on how to burn more calories. I also consulted a physical therapist to help me go through the relevant scientific literature.

Quick Summary

  • Some of the best ways to increase the number of calories you burn are by building muscle mass, watching what you eat, sleeping at least seven hours, and avoiding stress.
  • Protein is one of the best macronutrients for burning calories because it requires more energy to digest and helps build muscle.
  • By engaging in high-intensity exercises, your body continues to burn calories hours after the workout sessions during recovery.

How Can I Maximize the Burning of Calories?

Exhausted woman from working out

You can maximize the burning of calories by being physically active, building muscle, engaging in high-intensity interval training workouts, sleeping for 7-9 hours a night, and developing healthy eating habits to improve your metabolism.

In addition, some unconventional ways to burn a few extra calories include fidgeting, laughing more, and exposing yourself to the cold.

To expend more calories and lose pounds faster, you need to create a calorie deficit and improve your metabolism.

This sometimes involves learning the ropes of converting every bit of what you consume to energy.

Let's dig deeper and see how you can boost your metabolism to burn more fat.

4 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism to Burn More

Man running outdoors, stretching in woods

While it's impossible to hack your metabolism and cheat the system into burning more calories, below are a few things you can do to speed it up.

1. Building Muscle Mass

It takes more energy to move a large object than a smaller one, so by extension, the more you weigh, the more calories you burn. However, you should definitely choose to add muscle instead of fat.

You see, muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This means it requires more calories to function compared to body fat.

Studies have estimated that the metabolic rate of muscle is about 20% of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) compared to fat tissues, which have a TDEE of 5% [1]

In addition, muscular people burn more calories at rest.

They are also stronger and faster, meaning they can train harder before fatigue sets in, which translates to more calories down the drain.

Here’s how you can add more muscle.

By Lifting Weights

Weight training is one of the most efficient ways of building lean muscle.

You can use this method to improve your body composition, whether you want to gain more mass, maintain it or lose weight.

A study investigating the effects of resistance training subjected their participants to a strength training program for 16 weeks.

The results showed a 7.7% increase in their resting metabolic rate (amount of calories burned resting) at the end of the program [2].

The cool part about lifting weights is that you continue burning even hours after the workout, during recovery.

One study showed that metabolism increases up to 38 hours after strength training exercises [3].

HIIT Workouts

Performing HIIT workout at home

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) also has after-burn effects, where your system continues burning calories long after working out.

This afterburn effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) [4].

The science behind it is that after training, your muscles need to retract to their normal function, which takes time. And the harder the training, the longer it takes to recover.

During recovery, energy consumption increases, which translates to more calories burned.

Research shows that the duration of EPOC after a higher-intensity workout is longer than after a lower-intensity workout [5]. This also means a HIIT workout can burn more than a steady-intensity workout.

Moreover, HIIT exercises increase fat oxidation and support increased fat burning [6].

Before engaging in HIIT workouts, it's wise to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or a certified personal trainer, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions like heart disease, to avoid potentially serious issues like cardiac arrest.

2. Watching your Diet

Slicing healthy vegetable food alternative

As you’re looking for ways to burn more, you also need to watch how many calories you’re taking in. You see, diet forms an integral part of weight loss.

What we’re aiming for here is consuming fewer calories than we’re burning. And one of the surefire ways to ensure you’re consuming fewer calories is reducing your meal portion.

But that can be hard to come by, so let me give you a few tips on how you can effectively achieve this instead of starving yourself:

  • Consume foods with high thermic effects - These foods require more energy for digestion, such as proteins, avocado, green tea, chili pepper, turmeric, and ginger [7].
  • Consume foods that promote satiety - These foods offset hunger and make you feel full for a long time [8]. They include high-protein options, nuts, and high-fiber foods like barley, oats, and legumes.

Reducing your calorie portion is not sustainable. However, consuming highly thermogenic foods and those that promote satiety can do more for you in the long run.

Consuming More Proteins

Protein is a macronutrient that scores high in satiety and thermogenesis [9].

Examples you should add to your grocery shopping list include:

  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lean meat

Also, consider adding protein powders to boost your protein needs where meals cannot.

Caffeine Intake

Coffee can increase your metabolism and boost fat oxidation [10]. This is why you’ll find it in many fat-burning supplements.

Studies also show caffeine improves mental focus and physical performance [11].

Although caffeine benefits are not ground-breaking in regard to fat burning, combining it with daily exercise can give you a little nudge to help you lose more weight.

Other Foods That Help Burn Calories

Apple cider vinegar and spicy foods like cayenne pepper and chili pepper have also been fronted as special fat burners.

One study found that obese men who added vinegar to their diet experienced a reduction in fat [12].

On the other hand, chili pepper contains capsaicin, an effective element that promotes fullness and prevents overeating [13].

3. By Getting Enough Sleep

Woman holding her alarm from going off

Some of my clients are surprised when I tell them that lack of sleep can negatively impact fat burning.

The thing with sleep is that it can influence certain hormones that control appetite.

Specifically, lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone ghrelin while decreasing leptin, the hormone that signals your brain when you’re full [14].

Additional studies also show that sleep-deprived people tend to crave unhealthy foods and have a high chance of weight gain [15].

“When individuals sleep for longer, they are less likely to eat hedonically and crave non-nutritious pleasure foods.”

- Lauren Martin, Medical News Today

What's more? Fatigue from lack of sleep can decrease your work output during the day and lead to less intense workouts. You end up burning less than you ought to.

For a healthy metabolism and increased fat burning, the Center for Disease Control recommends at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night [16].

4. By Controlling Your Stress Levels

Scientists have proven that stress can lead to increased fat storage, mainly in the abdominal region [17].

The hormone responsible for this is the stress hormone cortisol which releases energy for quick use when you’re in danger. Chronic stress can trigger this response, and when the energy is not used, it’s stored as body fat.

In addition, more stress means less sleep. And less sleep leads to negative hunger hormones, then back to poor diet, unhealthy cravings, and reduced willpower in a never-ending cycle that leads to more fat gain [18].

The above tips can get you within the healthy range of body mass index, improve your cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of premature death. However, you can also take additional steps to take off extra weight.

Unconventional Tips That Might Increase Fat Burning

Measuring tape wrapped around the stomach

Besides physical activity, diet and sleep, there are other ways to increase the number of calories you’re burning.

For instance, a standing desk in your office can help you burn more calories at work.

Something as trivial as putting on your shoes or tying shoe laces while standing up can also work your leg muscles to expend a few more calories.

Below are a few more:

1. Cold Exposure

Exposure to cold temperatures can boost your metabolic rate by stimulating brown fat [19].

Brown fat is a type of body fat that gets activated when it’s cold. It produces heat to maintain body temperature in cold conditions.

This brown adipose tissue fat contains many mitochondria that burn calories to produce heat [20].

Now, here are a few ways to obtain this cold exposure benefit:

3. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum scattered on a table

A scientific study found that chewing gum for 20 minutes after a meal increases energy expenditure [21].

It also stimulates the release of bile and other digestive enzymes needed in food digestion.

3. Fidgeting

While physical activity increases calorie burn, staying lightly active by fidgeting can also burn a few extra calories.

Fidgeting involves moving body parts restlessly, such as tapping your fingers on a table or swinging your legs while seated.

One study found that a combination of walking, standing, and fidgeting could burn up to 2,000 calories per day [22].

4. Laughing Often

Laughter can improve your mental and physical health and help you expend more calories.

One study subjected 45 couples to humorous movies and found that when they laughed, their metabolic rate increased noticeably [23].

FAQs

Which Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

Running burns the most calories per hour. Some reports say it burns twice as many calories as walking [24]. Other exercises that burn a significant amount of calories include HIIT workouts, swimming, and jumping rope.

Is Burning 1000 Calories Daily Okay?

Yes, burning 1000 calories daily is okay if you’re eating enough to replenish the lost nutrients and sleeping well to recover. However, burning more than that through vigorous exercise to burn calories quickly or to offset binge eating is unhealthy.

Boost Calories Burning With a Supplement

Engaging in high-intensity workouts, avoiding stress, and sleeping at least seven hours a night while maintaining a calorie deficit through low-calorie diets should all help you burn more calories.

But sometimes, it can be challenging to maintain this regimen for long, given the busy schedule many people have.

That's why I recommend adding a fat-burning supplement to the mix:

We’ve thoroughly tested all the products on these lists, and both our testing data and client feedback reports show that they can fast-track fat loss quite noticeably.


References:

  1. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/metabolismcontroversy.html
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8175496/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11882927/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17101527/
  5. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/epocarticle.html
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824717/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325237
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324078
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15466943/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33255240/
  11. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00665.x
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661687/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24630935/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29447996/
  16. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428710/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27621146
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404503/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25794237/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25841254/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16652129/
  24. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-walking-and-running
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