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How to Burn Calories Effectively (The Healthy Way)

How to Burn Calories Effectively (The Healthy Way)

If you’ve been proactive with your health, and are exercising regularly, you will probably look at how to burn calories effectively while still staying healthy.

Fortunately, there are different things you can do with exercise, diet, and lifestyle to burn more calories than usual.

And firstly, you need to understand calories better.

A calorie is the energy content in food but if we’re getting technical, a calorie is what it takes to raise the temperature of one litre of water by one degree.

Calories are determined by using calorimeters[1] which are like mini incinerators. They involve a chamber surrounded by water where freeze-dried powdered food is placed and incinerated. The temperature of the water is then measured, and this is how we determine the energy content of food in kilocalorie form.

Also, this is why it is said ‘All foods aren’t created equal’ after all, one handful of lettuce will burn up quickly, leading to a minimal rise in water temperature, while the same portion size of almonds will be much denser thus leading to higher temperatures. One cup of almonds will have around 530 calories while one cup of lettuce will have maybe just five.

However, our body doesn’t “incinerate” calories, it digests them. This makes calorie counting far from a perfect science because not only do you not know exactly how many calories you’re burning each day, you cannot be sure of the calorie content in food.

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The FDA allows labels to be off by as much as 20%, in either direction and most nutritional information comes from databases and not actual calorie measurement. This doesn’t mean calories are insignificant, far from it. But trying to measure things down to the calorie will be next to impossible.

So, how do we make sure we’re burning calories effectively?

1. Focus on Real Whole Foods

When you focus on genuine food, and not things that come out of a package, or a box, you make it much easier for your body to process those calories.

Your body is designed to manage calorie intake sufficiently without things getting thrown out of whack. It has been doing this since the beginning of time, and it’s only when we add artificial and processed ingredients to our dirt that things get messy.

Think of your metabolism like a sink, designed to drain water effectively. If we give our body real, whole food, it’s able to process and drain it effectively. However, if we put things such as hair and other gunk in the sink, the drain will get clogged up, leading to flooding.

Hair and gunk have the same effect on the sink as processed food has on our bodies. Processed food does not allow our body to run optimally instead it promotes fat accumulation and poor health.

2. Strength Training

Clearly, exercise is important for burning calories, but we will look at specific forms of exercise which are more effective than others.

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Strength training will do a few things. They take a good amount of effort to perform and require a lot of calories to provide energy. They also help us build lean muscle and the leaner the muscle we have, the better it is for our metabolism.

Muscle requires calories to maintain it, which means even at rest, our body is burning calories. Strength training improves insulin sensitive thus allowing our body to better handle sugar s because they will be processed more effectively, leaving us less likely to end up storing it as body fat.[2]

3. High-Intensity Interval Training ‘HIIT’

Most people know of HIIT as it’s one of the best workouts you can do. It also is a great calorie burner and can burn off more calories in a fraction of the time spent doing regular steady state cardio.

HIIT training involves doing an all-out exercise (such as bike sprints or regular sprints) for around 30 seconds, followed by a 90-120 slower-paced recovery period. You can do anywhere from 3 to 8 rounds of this, leading to a workout that won’t take you long.

HIIT is similar to strength training, as it uses a lot of calories. They are tough workouts, but the good news is they don’t take as long and burn more calories in ten to fifteen minutes compared to an hour of walking on a treadmill. This is why sprinters look leaner than marathon runners.

Another benefit of HIIT is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption ‘EPOC’. This is an “afterburn” effect that allows our body to burn calories long after the workout is done. Our body needs a lot of oxygen to perform a HIIT workout and it needs to replenish it – and this is done by burning calories.

We can burn calories for up to 24 hours after doing a HIIT workout.[3] The great news is we do not need to work out every day to get these benefits, just 2-3 times a week can be effective.

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Here’s a beginner guide to HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

4. Tabata Training

This is HIIT ramped up to the next level. Tabata’s were invented for Olympic athletes as a super intense training method but, it’s one that will also act as an amazing calorie burner.

Tabata is a four-minute workout and as bizarre as it may sound, there’s a lot of science behind its design. Tabata follows the same breakdown as a HIIT workout but here the intense exercise is done for 20 seconds followed by a ten second rest, over 8 rounds, for a four-minute total.

The great thing about Tabata is that it can be done with a bodyweight exercise such as burpees or mountain climbers and can be done anywhere.

Of-course, bodyweight will add to the intensity of the workout as, pushing us to our limit. At first, it may not feel like it can but it is important to preserve because once at the half-way point, the rest periods will feel insufficient.

For extra calorie burning, Tabata can be added to the end of a strength training workout and can be done every other day.

5. Eating Spicy Food

Here’s one that doesn’t require you leaving the dinner table! Eating spicy food such as jalapeno peppers, cayenne, chilis, or a hot sauce can give your metabolism a boost by up to 8% because of capsaicin in them.[4]

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Eating spicy foods increase our body’s thermogenic output by burning fat to create heat thus we feel warmer and our sinuses clear up. Capsaicin can also prevent weight gain, talk about a double whammy!

6. Drink Cold Water

This will not burn as many calories as a good HIIT session but since we have to drink water throughout the day, we may as well burn calories while we’re at it.

Not only does water keep us hydrated and quenching our thirst, drinking it cold can give us a temporary metabolism boost.

With cold water, our body must warm it up thus creating a thermogenic effect. It varies a lot on the individual, but there are various studies showing that drinking 17-ounces of cold water may increase calorie burning by at least 4.5% to up 30 % for 30-40 minutes.[5]

Final Thoughts

When considering how to burn calories effectively, it is important not to forget that our body has this ability built into it.

We can rely on natural methods to boost calorie burning and improve our health. Not only are these natural methods healthy, they generally don’t cost much and are easily added into you most lifestyles.

Finally, focusing on diet, real whole foods, will allow our bodies to turn into a calorie burning machine.

More Articles About Staying Fit

Featured photo credit: Julia Ballew via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Adnan Munye

Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert

What to Eat After a Workout (Revealed by Professional Trainer) When Is the Best Time to Work Out? (Science-Backed Answer) How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide) 15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners How to Burn Calories Effectively (The Healthy Way)

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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