How To Burn Fat Without Going to the Gym

Can't make it to the gym? Slip these almost effortless moves into your day to burn fat as you go.

Young person running up stairs

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Whether you've found yourself losing motivation to go to the gym, that type of space is not ideal or welcoming to you, or you've never been much of a gym-goer, that's OK. You don't necessarily have to maintain a gym routine to meet your fitness goals, particularly if you are aiming to lose or "burn" body fat.

By eating healthy, balanced meals and keeping your body in motion, you can still lose body fat without going to the gym.

To help you do that, Health rounded up some research-backed ways to get more out of your workouts and maintain your health goals.

Ways To "Burn" or Lose Fat

The following tips can help you burn fat even if you're not a big fan of the gym.

Begin the Day With Exercise

When you wake up, consider exercising sooner rather than later (if this fits your schedule). Research suggests that working out in the morning might help you lose more fat than exercising later in the day.

For a quick sweat session, try this fat-burning HIIT workout that includes challenging moves like squat jumps and lunges but can still be done in the comfort of your living room. The best part? It takes just 10 minutes to complete.

Climb Stairs

If you can, take a 10-minute break from your busy day to walk up and down the stairs in your house or apartment. Climbing stairs can improve your body composition and reduce body fat.


Dancing for an hour can burn anywhere from 200 and 600 calories. It can also help to build strength, increase flexibility, and even slow the aging process.

Do Strength Training

Strength training may burn calories long after your workout is complete. To maximize the afterburn, do "weight-bearing exercises involving the most muscle mass," such as mountain climbers, push-ups, and lunges, advised Len Kravitz, Ph.D., program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

Do Quick but Vigorous Exercises

"An intense 10 minutes jump-starts your metabolic furnace and equals about 20 or 30 minutes at a moderate intensity," said Jordan Metzl, MD, author of Dr. Jordan Metzl's Workout Prescription.

If you can't spare the full 10 minutes, you can sweat for even less time. Exercising vigorously for just five minutes, or even less, can burn calories and boost your cardiorespiratory fitness. Some research suggests that people with higher cardiorespiratory fitness may expend more energy and therefore lose more weight.

Eat Healthy

Eating certain foods can help you maintain a healthy weight. Here are some tips:

  • Eat a variety of different proteins: Protein is thought to reduce appetite. Experts recommend protein make up 10-35% of an adult's total calorie needs, with one gram of protein providing four calories. The recommended daily allowance is about .36 grams per pound of body weight. For example, a person who consumes 2,000 calories might choose to eat 100 grams of protein, which would supply 400 calories (20% of their daily intake). Examples of protein include legumes and lean meats. Seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds are other good choices that offer healthy fats.
  • Get enough fiber: Fiber is a carbohydrate that promotes digestion and helps you feel full more quickly. Daily recommended fiber intake depends on your age and sex. People assigned female at birth who are under 50 years old should aim for 25 to 28 grams per day; those over 50 years old should aim for about 22 grams per day. People assigned male at birth who are under 50 should 31 to 34 grams per day; those over 50 should get 28 grams per day. You can get fiber from cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dried beans and peas. Just be sure to increase your intake gradually to avoid upsetting your stomach.
  • Eat whole grains: Replacing refined grains with whole grains can boost your metabolism. This is because refined grains are stripped of a lot of the nutrients and fiber present in whole grains. Whole grains can come in the form of whole-wheat toast, oatmeal, brown rice, and more.

Fruits and vegetables, as well as low-fat and non-fat dairy products, are good additions to a healthy diet.

No single food will increase your metabolism enough to change your weight. The key is to fill your diet with nutritious and satisfying foods and cut back on foods that offer a lot of calories but little nutrition.

Get Enough Sleep

If you're actively watching your weight, know this: Research suggests it's easier to lose weight when you're getting a good amount of sleep. For adults, that generally means at least seven hours of sleep per night.

To settle into slumber more easily, avoid lit screens, large meals, and alcohol for a full two hours before bed. A light snack might also help you fall asleep. While more research is needed, cherries and milk are thought to aid sleep by offering melatonin, a compound that promotes sleep.

Go Walking

Stroll around the block for 15 minutes and could burn three times as many calories as you would by sitting for the same amount of time. Walking after a meal may also help stabilize blood sugar.

In the mood for a longer stroll? These three 40-minute walking workouts from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak may feel great for you.

Laugh Often

Share some laughs with loved ones. Doing so for 10 to 15 minutes can burn as many as 40 calories.

Pick up the Pace

"Speed is key—move, walk, or run a little faster, and you'll burn more total calories," said Kravitz.

In fact, changing up your walking pace quickly and frequently can help you burn up to 20% more calories, compared with maintaining a constant speed, according to a 2015 study. Try speeding up for 30 seconds, then walking at a comfortable pace for three minutes.


Enjoying a movie binge? During commercials, stand up, pace, and fidget. Fidgeting can help you burn more calories over the course of a day. It can also help counteract the negative effects of sitting down for long periods of time.


If you're able to do so, try saying no to snowblowers. "Shovel your driveway and maybe your neighbor's, too," suggested Mike Donavanik, a personal trainer in Los Angeles. "You'll burn more than 400 calories in an hour."

Try on Tabata

Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise. For a lightning-fast Tabata workout, pick four total-body moves (plank jacks, jump squats, etc.). Do one for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then do it again. Continue to the next move and repeat.

The routine is just four minutes long—and you'll burn 13.5 calories a minute and double your calorie burn for half an hour afterward.

A Quick Review

You don't need to go to the gym to maintain a healthy weight. Doing some exercises at home, timing them right, and living an overall healthy lifestyle can help you burn fat without a gym membership.

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