Skip to main content

Madrid Personal Trainer David Hughes with on how to burn extra calories in your workout.

Now I know the math seems simple: the more calories we burn, the more weight we’ll lose. If we burn 3,500 calories per week, that’s one pound lost! To lose two pounds, we need to burn 7,000 extra calories. Some people choose to do this through dieting, but the best way to reach this goal is through a combination of diet and exercise. Here are several sneaky ways to increase your calorie burn during your workouts.


1. Listen to music!

Make your high-energy playlists before you hit the gym to burn more calories. A Farleigh Dickinson University study found that women who walked to music lost twice as much weight as women who didn’t listen to anything. According to IDEA Health and Fitness Association Fitness Expert Petra Kolber, “Music enhances a workout, it makes you work harder without realizing it, and it makes the workout go by faster. Music takes exercise from just being exercise to being an experience.”

2. Interval train!

One of the most well-known ways to boost calorie burn is to do what is called “interval training.” You basically want to exercise at full-speed for a minute, followed by a minute of recovery and maintain this for at least 30 minutes, with a five minute warm-up and cool-down. Not only will you burn more calories during your workout, but you’ll continue burning more calories for up to 24 hours after the fact.

3. Build muscle!

According to Yale Food Policy Researcher Christopher Wharton PhD, 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories a day while at rest, whereas 10 pounds of fat would only burn 20 calories. Therefore, it stands to reason that you’ll burn more calories by converting more of your fat to muscle through strength-training / weight-lifting activities. You should be working out like this at least twice a week.

Do you know one of those people who pigs out on fast food and pizza all the time, but remains rail-thin? When asked for their secret, these people always tell us, “I just have a fast metabolism.” It’s enviable, isn’t it?

Some people are naturally born with fast metabolisms, but there are also ways to trick the body into burning more calories all day long.

Here’s how!

1. Eat more protein.

Protein is the building block of muscle and the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn just doing everyday tasks. Aim for 46 grams of protein per day. You can get 23 grams in for breakfast by eating six ounces of low-fat yogurt, ½ cup of berries and a medium skim latte. For lunch, you can get another 30 grams by consuming spinach salad, 2 ounces of chicken, 1/3 cup of black beans, pita bread and 2 tablespoons of hummus. For dinner, have an Asian stri-fry with 1/3 cup of: snow peas, red peppers, bok choy and bean sprouts, ¾ cup brown rice and 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds for 23 more grams of protein.

2. De-stress.

The hormone Cortisol interferes with your metabolism and causes you to store more fat – notably belly fat. Participating in yoga and tai chi are great ways to relax and unwind. You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to keep your hormones (and appetite) in check.

3. Add Cardio.

A 45-minute high-intensity cardio workout can increase your metabolic rate by 37 percent for up to 14 hours after you work out, so you’re not just burning calories as you exercise, but at rest too. If your workout is particular rigorous, you can burn up to 200 more calories hours after you’ve left the gym.

4. Add resistance training.

Lifting weights helps you build more muscle, which will keep your metabolism high. Two or three times a week, you should add 15 to 30 minutes of strength training onto your workout. Aim to do 12-20 reps of squats, planks, lunges and push-ups that use multiple muscle groups.

5. Eat more fiber.

Eating fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism up to speed. The antioxidants in fruit and vegetables can also benefit your body. Ideally, you’ll have 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. The best foods include: walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, blackberries, cranberries, artichokes, dried apricots, kale and red cabbage.