top of page

How to increase Calorie Burn

Did you know there are four different ways you burn calories? Or better still… Would you like to know how to increase the number of calories all four methods burn? If you’re answer is yes, then keep reading…

By now I hope you understand that losing weight (we’re talking body fat here) is all about creating a negative energy balance. Create a deficit and you lose weight. Create an excess and you gain weight (by the way this isn’t always bad – for example you might be trying to add muscle mass).

Now there are four different ways your body burns calories. In no particular order, here they are:

#1: Metabolism: Your metabolism is all the biochemical and physiological process that takes place in your entire body. These are the functions that keep us alive, from digesting and absorbing your food through to build new cells (including muscle). Your metabolism requires as much as 70% of your daily calorie in-take! So a healthy and active metabolism is (literally) essential.

#2: Non-Exercise Activity: This is the stuff you do day-to-day that isn’t exercise but is movement. Like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, tapping your foot and fidgeting during a meeting. All these small movements burn calories. Not a massive amount of calories but it all adds up which is why walking to work, taking the stairs and not being lazy keeps you slim and trim!

#3: The Thermic Effect of Food: Every time you eat a meal you have to digest, absorb and process the food you eat and all of that takes energy. While the amount of energy you use varies depending on the food you can eat - the thermic effect accounts for around 10% of your daily calorie expenditure.

#4: Exercise: No surprises there but what may surprise you is that for the vast majority of us, exercise only accounts for around 15% of our daily energy expenditure. Unless you’re participating in long, endurance events or a professional athlete - the calories you burn through exercise pale in comparison to those burned by your metabolism. However, what sets exercise apart is it is the one you have the most control over, so… now you know how you burn calories, how do you go about burning more?

Before we jump in let me remind you… it's all about sustainability. A gung-ho approach with massive calorie deficiencies quickly leads to failure and can cause metabolic decline (where you metabolism starts to slow down). This is bad. So please, be sensible. Be the tortoise, not the hare! The easiest way to get your metabolism firing is with highintensity training. It rapidly raises your heart rate and creates an oxygen deficit. This is a good thing. More specifically it creates EPOC (or excess post oxygen consumption). In other words you keep burning calories even when the exercise stops. With EPOC you’ll continue to burn calories for hours or even a day or two after your exercise session. All true. High intensity training is great for stimulating your muscles and muscles burn calories.

So what about this non-exercise activity? I hope what you need to do here is obvious… Quite simply you have to move more. Walk around the office, take the stairs, walk to work and just keep moving. The more steps you can take throughout the day (10,000 is a good number to aim for) the more calories you’ll burn and the healthier you’ll be.

The thermic effect of food. Ok this is tougher but there is one possible way and one definite way to raise the thermic effect of the food you eat. The possible way is to eat 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 big meals. People hypothesize this will increase your metabolism – like putting logs on a fire - but the evidence is inconclusive on this. However there are plenty of other benefits to eating 4-5 small meals per day that make it a no brainer. For one it helps stop you getting too hungry in between meals. This is one of the biggest reasons we binge eat, overeating and pick between meal times. Plus it will help keep your blood sugar more stable. Another good thing, a guaranteed way to increase the thermic effect of your meals is to eat lean protein at every meal. That’s it. Super simple and often enjoyable!

Exercise. Ok so you know it doesn’t really matter what exercise you do as long as you are creating a caloric deficit - right? And I’ve already mentioned how high-intensity-training can help raise your metabolism. It’s also important you understand that the amount of calories your burn during exercise is determined by two key factors. They are volume and intensity. The longer you train (greater volume) the more calories you burn, and the harder you train (greater intensity) the more calories you burn. The problem is that it is hard to train intensely for a long period of time because you get too tired. What happens is people either exercise intensely or they exercise for long periods of time. They rarely do (and rarely can) do both. But if you could do both – you’d burn masses of calories in a single training session. Here’s what you do… you start your exercise sessions by training intensely for a short period of time, then at the end you add on some slower, lower intensity work at the end which increases the volume, you tick both boxes - volume and intensity. The lower intensity work doesn’t have to be crazy. It could be a swim after training. You might walk home from the gym, or spend a little time on the cardio-machines, what you do isn’t a big deal, but adding lighter intensity work after your high intensity work is an amazing way to zone in and burn lots of calories – especially body fat.

Last tip. If I had a choice of training hard and long twice a week or doing a short session four times per week - I’d do the latter.

In the words of the lovely 'Jillian Michaels' (health and fitness professional) - "It's all about calories in versus calories out".


Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
bottom of page