Crank your calorie-blasting way up with these quick tricks.
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Linger in the dairy aisle
Women burned more fat and calories when they ate 1,000 to 1,400 milligrams of calcium per day, according to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That’s three to four servings of dairy.
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Eat more meat...and eggs and beans
People who got 40% of their daily calories from protein lost significantly more body fat than those whose diets had only 15% protein, even though they consumed the same number of calories, a Skidmore College study found.
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Break a sweat in bursts
Doing two 30-minute workouts with 20 minutes of rest in between burns more fat than exercising for a continuous 60 minutes, suggests research in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
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Get your kicks
Playing soccer two or three times a week yielded greater fat loss and muscle gain than jogging, according to a study from the University of Copenhagen. And the more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn.
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The caffeine in about two cups of coffee boosts your metabolism for at least an hour and a half afterward, according to Skidmore College research. If you add sugar or cream to it, you’ll blunt the effect, so drink it black, study author Paul J. Arciero says.
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Start hard, finish easy
Cyclists who ramped up the intensity during the first half of their workout and slowed down during the second half torched about 23% more fat than those who moved from low to high intensity, research from the College of New Jersey found.
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Start with whole grain
Athletes who down whole-grain cereal first thing in the morning burn more fat during the day and during exercise than those who eat more quickly digested fare, such as bagels, British researchers say.
Women who did 20 minutes of intervals on a bike torched three times as much fat as those who stayed at one pace for 40 minutes, according to a study from the University of New South Wales.
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Crank it up
Vigorous aerobic exercise for 40 minutes makes your body burn calories at a higher rate for nearly a full day afterward, one study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found.
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Don’t hang on for dear life
If you cling to the handrails of your stepper or elliptical, you put less stress on your larger, more powerful lower-body muscles and burn fewer calories, says Stephen Cabral, a personal trainer and weight-loss coach in Boston. If needed, grip loosely for balance only.
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When study volunteers wore jeans for the day, they walked 491 more steps (about an 8% increase) than when they wore normal work attire, resulting in more calories spent, according to research from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
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Drink green tea
Testers who downed a green tea supplement boosted their metabolism by about 4%, compared with those consuming a caffeine supplement or placebo, according to Swiss researchers. Sip three cups of green tea per day for similar results.
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Two words: circuit train
Instead of resting for 60 seconds between weight-lifting sets, move straight from one exercise to another to keep your heart rate up and maximize calorie burn, says Wayne Westcott, author of Get Stronger, Feel Younger.
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Resistance training increases your resting metabolic rate by about 7%, so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, even while sitting on your duff, according to Tufts University researchers. Aim for 30 minutes, three times a week.
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Use more olive oil
People who ate a diet high in monounsaturated fats (like olive oil and avocado) burned more fat over four weeks than they did on a diet high in saturated fats, one Australian study found.
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Go for yogurt
People who included yogurt in their diet plan ditched 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply trimmed calories, University of Tennessee researchers found.
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You’ll obliterate more calories if you lift weights after cardio (not before), says a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
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Bring your iPod...
Exercisers who listened to music lost more weight and body fatand worked out more consistentlythan those who didn’t, Fairleigh Dickinson University researchers found.
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...and adjust your playlist
Throw some fast-paced songs into your music mix. You’ll work out harder and faster, burning more calories and fat. Plus, it’ll feel easier, according to experts at the University of Kansas.
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Squeeze your butt
By pushing off with your glutes when you walk instead of just shuffling down the sidewalk, you use more muscles and burn more calories, trainer Stephen Cabral says.
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Wolf some protein
A calorie is a calorie, but your body burns about 25 to 30 of them while digesting 100 calories of protein versus only 7 of them while digesting 100 calories of simple carbs, says Barbara Vinciguerra, MS, an adjunct professor in the movement-sciences department at Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass.
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People who jiggle their legs, talk with their hands, and incorporate small movements into their day can burn as much as 350 extra calories daily, according to research from the Mayo Clinic.
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Forget flat treadmill walking; crank up the incline and you’ll jack up the calories burned, says Tommy Boone, an exercise physiologist at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. A woman walking at 4 miles per hour for 30 minutes blasts off 12% more calories on a 2% incline and nearly 35% more calories on a 5% incline.
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Add some fish oil and move
Volunteers who took 6 grams of fish oil every day and exercised three times a week lost more fat than those who just took fish oil, just took sunflower oil, or took sunflower oil and exercised, according to Australian researchers.
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Stand when you take a call
It’ll burn about 20% more calories than sitting. Better yet, pace.
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Housekeepers who were told that their cleaning was good exercise lost weight and were healthier four weeks later than those who were told nothing, according to a study in Psychological Science. Take note of all your daily activities (taking the stairs, walking to lunch), and you’re bound to do them more.
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Use your arms and legs
A workout that requires coordinating arm and leg movements, such as swimming or step aerobics, feels easier than one that uses only one major muscle group, suggests research from Southwest Texas State University. That makes it more likely you’ll do it again tomorrow—keeping the fat-burning going.
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Opt for a Wii
Playing active games on the Nintendo Wii (such as tennis and bowling) knocked out more calories than using the Xbox 360, said a British Medical Journal study.
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Think about it
Subjects who visualized themselves going through a specific strength workout gained nearly as much strength as those who actually did it (24% versus 28%), one mind-blowing report in the North American Journal of Psychology found. More muscle means more calories burned.