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How to Burn Calories (Without Spending Hours on a Treadmill)

From Riley Pearce, CSEP Certified Personal Trainer at Free Form Fitness


We all know that exercise is important. and if weight loss is the goal, then calories have to be burned. You could jump on a cardio machine for the next hour, OR, you could try one of these alternatives. Each of these will cut down your workout time (30 minutes a day is all you need!) and burn calories during and after your workout.

1. Prime Movements
The body was made to do 6 primal movements: squat, deadlift, pushup, row, chin up, lunge. These movements are all multi-joint, meaning they require actions from multiple joints (squat = hips, knees, and ankles). Multiple joints means many muscles moving. The more muscles we are moving, the more energy we require. Calories are just energy, so if we are performing movements that require a lot of energy, then we are burning a lot of calories.


2. Lift Heavy
Doing a squat, deadlift, row, etc. with heavy weights will not only require energy for the muscles, but it will also require a lot of energy for the brain. After all – your brain is the one sending the message to get those muscles to contract! The stronger the message, the more energy required. With this, make sure you have excellent technique before you start to load up the plates. Lifting heavy with poor technique only leads to injury.


3. Combine Movements
One of my favourite ways to burn a few extra calories and save time is to combine movements. Try this one for a great lower body burn and I bet it’ll get your blood pumping! Grab a light kettlebell or dumbbell and perform a single leg deadlift. When you return your raised foot to the floor, bring the weight to the shoulder, and step back into a reverse lunge, step forward, bring the weight down again and repeat.


4. Up the Rest and Lower the Rest
A great way to burn tons of calories, increase your heart rate, and decrease your time in the gym is to up the number of repetitions you perform and shorten your rests between exercises. Working in the 15 – 20 rep range is sufficient, but be sure that the weight is appropriate for that rep range. Your rest intervals shouldn’t be any longer than 30s at this many reps. Try to do 3-4 sets at this rep and rest recommendation.


5. Solid Strength Training Program
For the final recommendation I simply suggest to get yourself on a good strength training program. Not only are there a multitude of health benefits for both men and women, but a good strength training session will have you burning calories for up to 36 hours after the workout. It takes a lot of energy to repair the muscles and recover after a weight lifting session.
Research has also shown that when we spend a long time on cardio machines and burn a lot of calories doing so, our body adjusts our metabolism afterwards and actually slows it down to conserve energy before we have to jump on the treadmill again. Strength training causes the body to spend its rest days increasing metabolism, and making itself stronger and more efficient so that it can lift weights more easily next time.


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