1. Toss green tomatoes into your salads.
Green tomatoes contain tomatidine, a compound that stimulates muscle growth. Research shows it produces bigger muscles, increased strength and endurance, and prevents muscle loss as it reduces body fat.
2. Have a cup of Joe.
Can’t start your day without a cup of Joe? Your morning fix may be helping you in more ways than you know. As a central nervous system stimulant, coffee has been shown to improve energy levels during exercise, especially endurance workouts, and helps you work harder.
3. Don’t drastically diet.
Lean people (versus those who are overweight or obese) who try extreme diets are more likely to experience a rebound or “fat overshooting” effect that leaves them heavier than when they started. Small, potentially permanent lifestyle changes such as cutting out high-calorie condiments and making small increases in activity are more likely to lead to lasting weight loss.
4. Still skimping on your pre-workout nutrition?
Here’s a new incentive: Eat protein before you go and you can peel off 15 pounds a year. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport showed that women who ate a high-protein meal an hour before their workout burned more calories per minute than women who ate a low-protein meal or no food. The additional calorie burn amounted to 185 calories over the following 24 hours and could add up to a 15-pound loss within a year.
5. Eat salmon.
Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon, lead to lower body-fat storage versus diets rich in other fatty acids. Scientists believe omega-3 fatty acids work by helping increase lean body mass, which boosts metabolism.
6. BodyRock it.
Trade in your long, slow cardio for a few high-intensity sessions a couple times a week for more effective fat loss. High-intensity aerobic training is more effective at reducing belly fat and overall body fat than any other type of exercise. Women who cycled (on stationary bicycles) three times a week for 20 minutes, doing workouts consisting of eight-second sprints followed by 12 seconds of low-intensity work, lost more fat (2.5 kilograms) than women who cycled for 40 minutes at a steady state.
7. Drink more water.
You can’t burn fat and calories without adequate fluid, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. “It sounds too simple, but it’s extremely important.” A poor workout, either from lack of endurance or an inability to work out intensely, is due to being underhydrated, Olson says. “Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.”
8. Eat high-water fruits & veggies.
High-water-content food like apples, oranges, celery, lettuce and tomatoes are easy to digest and help add more water to your system to burn fat and calories, Olson says.
9. Sip green tea.
If you drink coffee in the morning, switch to green tea for the rest of the day to continue the calorie-burning boost. Studies show a chemical called catechins found in green tea may reduce body fat, as well as LDL (bad cholesterol) and cardiovascular risks.
10. Drink cold water.
A German study shows drinking 48 ounces of cold water a day can raise your resting metabolism by 50 calories a day. It may not sound like much, but over a year that adds up to a 5-pound weight loss.
11. Spice up meals.
Add red pepper to meals to kick up fat-burning. Capsaicin, which gives hot peppers their zing, can cause a small, temporary increase in metabolism, says Amy Goodson, RD, CSCS, board-certified specialist in sport dietetics and co-author of Swim, Bike, Run — Eat (2014). “Keep in mind it would take quite a bit of spice to have any major effect on weight, but every little bit helps!”
12. Keep moving throughout the day.
Even if you work out regularly, sitting the other 23 hours can slow your metabolism and fat burning. Keep active during the day to burn more calories via NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which refers to small activities we do during daily activities, even fidgeting. “I recommend ditching your couch for one week,” says Katy Bowman, MS, author of Move Your DNA (2014). “You don’t even have to go out and walk, just opt for the floor — straight, folded or crossed legs — and work your muscles more by using yourself to keep yourself upright.”
How many of these are you implementing into your day?