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Make Your Body Burn More Calories

Fitness for mind and body.

Metabolic Rate is the rate at which the body burns up calories. A body that consumes 2500 calories a day, and burns 2500 calories a day will stay at the same weight. A body consuming 2500 calories daily but burning only 2000 will gain weight at the rate of about one pound a week.

Healthy body burning calories

You can do quite a lot to speed up your metabolism -- the secret of burning calories lies in knowing what determines your metabolic rate and what you can do to influence it.

You burn calories to provide energy for three main functions:

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
This is the amount of calories you burn just by being alive -- even when you are lying down, doing nothing. BMR accounts for approximately 60 percent of the calories burned for an average person.

2. Burning Calories for Activity
This is the energy used during movement -- from lifting your arm to operate the remote control to cleaning the windows. This accounts for approximately 30 percent of the calories burned by an average person.

3. Dietary Thermogenesis
The "thermogenic effect" described as meal-induced heat production -- the calories burned in the process of eating, digesting, absorbing and using food.

Influence Fat Burning Factors

You can influence all these factors, and speed up your rate of burning calories using some, or all, of the following tactics:

1) Build Muscle
Increase the amount of muscle in your body. For every extra pound of muscle you put on, your body uses around 50 extra calories a day. In a recent study, researchers found that regular weight training boosts basal metabolic rate by about 15 percent. This is because muscle is metabolically active and burns more calories than other body tissue even when you are not moving. Training with weights just 3 times a week for around 20 minutes is enough to build muscle. Not only will you be burning more calories, you will look better -- whatever your weight.

2) Move More
Although the average person burns around 30 percent of calories through daily activity, many sedentary people only use around 15 percent. Simply being aware of this fact -- and taking every opportunity to move can make quite a dramatic difference to the amount of calories you burn. The trick is to keep the "keep moving" message in mind. Write the word "move" on post-it notes and put them in places you'll notice them when you're sitting still. Here are some ideas for burning calories:

Man Pacing

  • Tap your feet
  • Swing your legs
  • Drum your fingers
  • Stand up and stretch
  • Move your head from side to side
  • Change position
  • Wriggle and fidget
  • Pace up and down
  • Do not use the internal phone -- go in person
  • Use the upstairs (or downstairs!) bathroom
  • Park in the furthest corner of the parking lot
  • Stand up when you are on the phone
  • Clench and release your muscles

You will find lots of opportunities for burning more calories if you remember that you are looking for them! Keep thinking "keep moving".

3) Eat Spicy Food
There is evidence to show that spices, especially chilies, can raise the metabolic rate by up to 50 percent for up to three hours after you have eaten a spicy meal. Drinks containing caffeine also stimulate the metabolism, as does green tea.

4) Aerobic Exercise
As well as the actual amount of calories burned during aerobic exercise -- studies have shown that sustained, high-intensity exercise makes you burn more calories for several hours afterwards.

5) Eat Little and Often
There is some evidence to suggest that eating small, regular meals will keep your metabolism going faster than larger, less frequent meals. There are two reasons why meal frequency may affect your metabolism. Firstly, levels of thyroid hormones begin to drop within hours of eating a meal, and metabolism slows. Secondly, it may be that the thermogenic effect of eating several small meals is slightly higher than eating the same amount of calories all at once.

Provided your small meals do not degenerate into quick-fix, high fat, high sugar snacks, eating little and often can also help to control hunger and make you less likely to binge.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.