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10 ways to burn fat all day every day

Weighting scale
(Image credit: Unknown)

6am Drink water

Getting properly hydrated not only improves physical and mental performance – which raises your game in and out of the gym – but has also been shown to have a direct effect on carbohydrate and fat metabolism, which translates to an increase of 25% in the rate of fat burning, according to the journal Nature. Need more reasons? Drinking also triggers the mTOR metabolic pathway in your brain, which lays the foundation of muscle growth and aids recovery, according to a German study.

7am Skip the toast

Muscle tissue is insulin-sensitive, soaking up any carbs you eat at this time of day – but so are fat cells, according to research in the journal Cellular And Molecular Endocrinology. This means both will be absorbing carbs but, in the case of fat cells, those carbs will be converted to fat and stored. Instead, have a protein-rich breakfast of eggs, salmon, spinach and cashews.

8am Chill out

Your journey to work is one of the most stressful times of the day. Research from Deakin University in Australia has shown that acute stress can increase the drive to consume sugary and fatty foods. Download Marco Union’s peace-inducing trance number Weightless or any other tune with a BPM of 60 – it’ll synchronise with your heart and brainwaves, making it easier to ignore bag-spreading seat-hoggers. 

10am Get up 

Sitting is the new smoking – associated with increased risk of diabetes and obesity – and its problems are more serious than just not burning calories. Sitting changes the body at a genetic level: gene expression, which is how the body processes genetic information, changes when you’re seated. Alarmingly, research from various sources, including the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, shows that these alterations in gene expression and the associated health effects aren’t offset by training. Your prescription? Do as much standing work as you can handle.

12pm Eat

Fasted cardio might be popular with bodybuilders but if you want to lose body fat, it isn’t a wise choice. Research conducted at Michigan State University shows that eating carbohydrate and protein before training improves the work rate and duration when exercising, increases the amount of fuel used and shifts the balance towards fat usage. Not only that, but the effect can last for a day or more after the training session.

2pm Use finishers

Gym time is precious, so why choose between muscle-building weights and fat-burning cardio? Building muscle requires physical and metabolic load, and ‘finisher circuits’ targeting either the upper or lower body trigger both fat-burning effects and muscle hypertrophy at the metabolic level, according to recent findings published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research. Finish your workout with rounds of three pull-ups, five press-ups and seven squats, done as many times as possible in five minutes.

4pm Cultivate contrast

We all know that the size of your plate can affect the amount of food you eat, but it turns out that the colour can do the same. Researchers from Cornell University found that when participants ate food closely matching the colour of their plate they ate on average almost 25% more. But the Delboeuf illusion, as it’s known, can also be put to good use, helping you increase your intake of green veg by using a green plate.

7pm Eat carbs

The advice not to eat carbs after 6pm is still trotted out frequently, but more up-to-date research indicates that it’s dead wrong. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, eating the majority of their carbs in the evening actually encouraged lower body fat levels in test subjects. The night-time carb eaters also reported feeling more satisfied and happier with their diets – if nothing else, it makes it easier to order when you go out for dinner.

9pm Drink early

Alcohol inhibits fat burning because the liver prioritises alcohol metabolism to clear it out of the system – and if consumed late in the evening it can have a huge impact on sleep quality and growth hormone. This hormone increases fat metabolism and aids muscle recovery, and research in the journal Metabolism shows that consuming alcohol before bed can reduce output by around 70%.

11pm Go dark

Turn all lights off in your bedroom. Light exposure affects sleep depth and duration, which can alter the production of fat-burning hormones, making you more prone to fat gain. Disrupted sleep also sends your appetite haywire by altering your levels of ghrelin, the ‘hunger hormone’, according to Harvard University research. What’s more, research from the Mayo Clinic shows that poor sleep increases calorie intake but not expenditure.

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