Whether you're working out at the gym or at home, burn calories and erase flab with these 20 fast fat-burners.
December 16, 2014
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In the gym
Catch the running bug You’ll continue to burn fat after your jog: People who run for at least four hours a week melt more calories than non-runners, even when they’re not running, a Yale University School of Medicine study reports.
Crank it up early Working out harder during the first half of your workout and taking it easier during the second burns up to 23% more fat than doing the opposite, according to a study from The College of New Jersey.
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Go hard and make it quick
Staying at 80% of your max heart rate for 40 minutes can amp your metabolism for 19 hours afterward, research published in Obesity notes. And doing a shorter workout at 75% of your max aerobic capacity will give you a greater metabolic boost than sweating longer at 50%, a Colorado State University reveals.
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Lift dumbbells … slowly
More muscle equals mega metabolism boost. Strength training can help you trim major fat, research revealsand doing super-slow (versus normal speed) reps increases strength by 50%. Plus, using dumbbells activates more muscle fibers than using machines, explains Gregory Haff, PhD, an associate professor in the exercise physiology department at West Virginia University.
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Speed up, slow down
Alternating bouts of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio has been shown to torch pounds.
Put on weight (literally) Wearing a weighted vest (about 10% of your body weight) while walking can boost your calorie burn by 8%.
Download Rihanna, not Brahms Listening to up-tempo songs actually makes you run faster and harder than listening to slower-paced music, British scientists say.
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Let kettlebells ring
Not only does working out with kettlebells build muscle, but doing it for 20 minutes burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same amount of time.
Keep it up As few as 80 minutes a week of aerobic or weight training helps keep you from regaining belly fat after losing weight, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
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Use Nordic poles while you walk, and you’ll burn 20% more calories, says research from The Cooper Institute in Dallas.
Lift first, nix the rest Doing strength training before cardio can torch more fat than cardio alone. And if you do one move after another without pausing, "you’ll see more gains in strength and muscle mass," says Pierre Manfroy, MD, consultant for the book
100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism.
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Lift heavier weights for fewer reps to make your workout more intenseand burn more fatDr. Manfroy says.
Try aromatherapy Exercisers who inhaled strawberry and buttered-popcorn scents torched more calories than those who sniffed neutral odors, according to research from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
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Box yourself in
Wii boxing knocks out nearly twice as many calories as some other games, like Wii golf.
Kick it Playing soccer not only torches more fat and builds more muscle than jogging, but it feels less tiring, Danish research reveals.
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Stay in shape
Fit people have more fat-burning metabolites in their blood than couch potatoes do, scientists say.
Don’t forget your iPod Women who walked while listening to tunes dropped two times more weight than women who didn’t, one study found.
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In the kitchen
Get more protein Eating a protein-packed breakfast and lunch helps you burn more post-meal fat than if you eat lower-protein meals, according to Australian research.
Guzzle green teaor coffee Downing five 5-ounce cups of green tea a day boosts metabolism, says Lyssie Lakatos, RD, author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. Two cups of coffee will also do the trick, one study shows.
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Have an omelet
Eating two eggs for breakfast while dieting will help you trim more weight and body fat than if you ate the same amount of calories noshing on a bagel, scientists say.
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Stay above 1,200 calories
"The average person’s body goes into starvation mode if she eats fewer than 1,200 calories a day," says Eric Berg, author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning. "That’s stress, and stress creates more belly fat."
And cut calories gradually If you diet, don’t trim more than 250 calories a day. Cutting calories too quickly slows your metabolism down, Dr. Manfroy says.
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Munch on these
Almonds, cherries, yogurt, grapefruit, whole grains, and spicy foods have all been shown to torch fat.
Fuel up right Eating a low-glycemic-index breakfast (such as muesli and peaches) will help you burn more fat during a subsequent workout than eating a high-glycemic-index meal (like waffles), researchers from the University of Nottingham reveal.
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Think before you drink
Sipping as few as 90 calories’ worth
of vodka can slow your metabolism by 73%, one study shows.
Graze Women who go without eating for long periods are more likely to have higher body-fat percentages than women who nosh more regularly, one study notes.
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Dine like a Greek
Eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fat (think olive oil, avocados) can help trim both weight and fat, research published in the British Journal of Nutritionshows.
Stop gorging Your body can only handle so much food at a time, so stick to 600 calories or less per meal to maximize fat-burning, says Leslie Cooper, co-author of Flip the Switch: Proven Strategies to Fuel Your Metabolism and Burn Fat 24 Hours a Day.
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Reaching for an apple instead of apple juice is not only better calorie-wise, but it’ll also do a better job of boosting your metabolism, Dr. Manfroy explains.
Got milk? People who drank skim milk after lifting weights lost almost twice as much fat as those who downed other "healthy" beverages.
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In your life
Get C and D Vitamin C can help you burn more fat, and D may help you lose fat, research notes. Aim for 400 to 500 mg of C and 800 IU of D a day.
Walk more (in denim) Researchers found that fitness-friendly offices (think treadmill desks, mobile headsets) helped people trim pounds and fat, as did wearing jeans to work, since dressing casual encourages you to move more. Wear comfy clothes when you can, pace while on the phone, and stand while chatting with co-workers.
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Add fish oil (and work out)
Taking 6 g of fish oil per day and hitting the gym three times a week can help nix body fat, an Australian study reveals.
Work the day shift Keeping nontraditional hours lowers levels of hormones that trigger satiety, increases blood glucose and insulin levels, and raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which can drive you to eat more), scientists say.
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Nix the boob tube
Cut your TV time in half, and you’ll burn more calories each day, research from the University of Vermont suggests.
Go mental People who visualized themselves training a specific muscle boosted the strength in that muscle group, researchers found.
Eat a smaller dinner Your body may not digest foodand burn fatas efficiently if you down a huge meal right before bedtime, especially because your metabolism is slower while you sleep, Dr. Manfroy says.
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Jump-start your morning
Wake up your metabolismand get fat-burning startedby doing some sort of exercise within the first few hours of being awake, Cooper suggests.
Get your snooze on Sleep for a solid 8 1/2 hours instead of 5 1/2, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and
you’ll lose more fat. Sweet dreams!