No heavy lifting is required to drop those unwanted pounds.
By Anthony J. Yeung,
If you’re reading this, we’ll assume you’re already doing the basic things you need to in order to burn fat now. Hopefully, these include lifting weights, doing cardio, eating healthy, and—most importantly—keeping your calories in a deficit. But there are a few more things you can do to accelerate fat loss even further, and they don’t involve any heavy lifting—literally or figuratively. Behold: seven ways to burn fat without touching a weight.
Here are 7 tips to burn fat now!
1. Eat more protein
Did you know that you can burn calories without moving at all? In fact, you burn them every day just by staying alive—it’s called your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and it actually accounts for most of the calories you burn through in a day.
Simple changes to what you eat can spike your BMR and help you burn more fat. For example, increasing your protein intake burns more calories because protein takes more energy to digest than carbs or fat. It’s also more filling, helping to keep you satisfied so you don’t risk overeating. In addition, A 2009 study in the journal Amino Acids found that protein consumption close to a resistance workout improved muscle gains.
Aim for at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight every day.
2. Take BCAAs pre-workout
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can increase fat loss and help you maintain muscle mass while dieting. French researchers found that, during calorie-restriction, BCAAs helped athletes shed 17% more fat than a control group.
Experiment with five to 10 grams of BCAAs, taken within an hour before training.
3. Drink green tea
In a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that drinking green tea helped subjects burn more calories throughout the day and increased fat oxidation. In 2008, British researchers also concluded that green tea improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which enhances your body’s ability to store calories as muscle rather than fat.
Apart from drinking the stuff, you can get a concentrated dose of green tea extract. Three capsules daily has been shown to be effective.
4. Take fish oil
Fish oil is linked to so many health benefits it seems almost foolish not to supplement with it. Not only has it been linked to improved heart health, reduced arthritis, and slowed growth of cancer cells, fish oil has been shown to generate more fat loss with the same amount of exercise.
A French study found that subjects supplementing with six grams of fish oil per day for just three weeks lost an extra two pounds of pure fat. Fish oil can also amplify the amount of fat you burn during exercise. In 2007, Australian researchers discovered that combining aerobic exercise with fish oil supplementation led to more fat loss and improved cholesterol levels than aerobic exercise alone.
5. Try intermittent fasting
Long periods without food punctuated by small windows in which to eat big is the core of the intermittent fasting trend. By lengthening the time between meals (anywhere from 12 to even 24 hours), you can elevate your insulin sensitivity and burn more fat. For example, researchers from LSU found that an alternate-day fasting routine (subjects fasted all day every other day) increased fat oxidation and led to a four percent reduction in body fat in just 22 days.
You don’t need to be so extreme to see results—try a 12–16-hour fast daily.
6. Eat your biggest meal after a workout
After an intense weight workout, your body craves carbs and starches to replenish glucose levels and stop the breakdown of muscle. This is also the time when your insulin sensitivity and metabolism are at their highest.
If your largest meal is dinner, for example, but you normally work out before lunch, eat more for lunch and less for dinner. This will minimize any unwanted fat gains.
7. Drink water after you wake up
Upon waking, you’re always dehydrated (you haven’t had any water since before you fell asleep). Dehydration cripples fat loss because your metabolism slows down to conserve fluids—according to a University of Rochester study, the loss of even one percent of your body weight in water can impair exercise performance.
Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning and aim for 64 ounces throughout the day. A 2003 study from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking two cups of water increased metabolism by 30% after 30–40 minutes.