Weight Loss

13 Ways To Burn Calories When You Don't Have Time For The Gym

woman squat exercising beach

By Riley Cardoza

Start slimming down without taking time out of your day—or money out of your wallet—to hit the gym.

Maybe you used to be a gym rat until that work promotion took over all of your free time, maybe you signed up six months ago and haven’t gone back once, or maybe you’ve never even been inside a gym. Whatever the case, don’t let your lack of experience with dumbbells and treadmills stop you from reaching your weight loss goals. Instead, be more mindful of every environment you’re in whether it’s work, home, or the grocery store, and put a simple fitness spin on your usual routine. You’ll be burning calories without even realizing it! Although it’s clear that hitting the gym hard is a great way to lose 10 pounds, it isn’t the only way for you to start seeing results.

1
Try Thigh Bands

If you spend the majority of your 9 -o-5 off your feet, don’t let your desk job deter you from dropping the number on the scale anyway. You can still exercise, and you don’t even have to stop sitting to do it. Just use a thigh band while you’re at your computer, like Alanna Zabel, star of the Element: Beginner Level Yoga DVD, does. Sculpt while you sit, but make sure you stay away from any of these 25 Worst ‘Healthy’ Snacks For Weight Loss when using your resistance band. Otherwise, you might undo all your hard work.

2
Get Beneath The Sheets

What if we told you it was possible to lose weight without even getting out of bed? According to University of Montreal researchers, women burn off 69 calories during the average sex sesh, while men burn off 100. You probably didn’t need any excuse to get busy in the bedroom, but as far as reasons go, you have to admit that this is a good one. Send the scale down by getting turned on.

3
Dine at Home

When you just wrapped up an hour of weight training, meeting a friend for dinner might seem like a worthwhile way to replenish your calories. But if you haven’t been working out, too many restaurant rendezvous can lead to some serious waist widening. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics revealed that the average meal out is 1,205 calories. So spend some time in the kitchen and invite your friends over instead. By putting yourself in control of ingredients and portion sizes, you’ll consume far less calories than you would going out, maybe even enough to make up for that workout you didn’t do.

4
Pick Up The Pace

Just because you don’t have extra time to drive to the gym and back on a regular basis doesn’t mean you don’t have time to squeeze in a few walks this week. Whether you partner up, put a leash on your dog, or lace up your sneakers on your own, taking a walk can burn more calories than you think. Instead of simply strolling, put some pep in your step; by speeding up your walk from 3.5 MPH to 4, you’ll end up burning an extra 1,200 calories a month. Just get going every day for only 20 minutes.

5
Take A Different Way To Work

It’s time you started multitasking by cutting calories on your commute. Zuta Gilchriest, Regional Group Fitness Director of NY CRUNCH gums, has all kinds of quick tricks to get you moving more in the morning. For example, park your car a few blocks away or get off your train one stop too soon so you can walk to work from there. And once you arrive at work, hit the stairs instead of the elevator’s up button. Like these ideas? We’ve got even more healthy hacks on our list of 31 No-Gym Workouts to jump-start your calorie burn.

6
Get On Your Feet

Turns out it is possible to type just as easily when you’re standing as when you’re sitting—and you’re burning a lot more calories while you’re at it. That’s why Dave Colina, certified CrossFit trainer, Krav Maga instructor, and founder of formula O2, says, “If you work in front of a computer all day, I highly recommend experimenting with a standing desk.” If your office doesn’t allow for a standing desk, DIY one by propping your monitor and keyboard up on a stack of books. Up the ante even more with a pedal or treadmill desk.

7
Clean Up Your Act

Cleaning doesn’t just make your house look spick-and-span, but can make your body look better too while you’re at it. All you have to do is stay mindful about your movements as you move from room to room. Clench your core while you bend over the tub or a dustpan, then stand on your toes when you scrub some dishes. “Balance on one foot while wiping down counters, sinks, and walls—just make sure to do both sides,” Michelle Opperman, Group Fitness Manager of Crunch in New Montgomery, says. With doable tips like these, you can tone up while tackling that to-do list.

8
Weigh Yourself Down

Put a little more effort into your errands with a pair of ankle weights. If you leave them in your car, you can burn calories as you buy, whether you’re at the supermarket or the mall. “Other options include a weighted vest that allows you to increase and decrease the weight from day to day,” recommends fitness coach Nadia Murdock. By turning grocery day into leg day, you can drive past the gym guilt-free.

9
Do A Little Dance

Whether you’re heading to the club, taking a class, or breaking out your best moves in your living room, start dancing! Moving to music is a great way to get your heart pumping because it’s one of those workouts that doesn’t feel like a workout. Don’t believe us? A study by the University of Brighton found that certain kinds—think swing or contemporary—can actually burn more calories than a run.

10
Get To Gardening

Did you know you could burn 100 calories by giving gardening a go for just 22 minutes? And that’s if you weigh 175 pounds. If you weigh more than that, you’ll burn calories at an even faster pace. And while you’re digging in the dirt anyway, make sure you give yourself a double dose of the good stuff by planting produce in addition to all your pretty flowers. That way, you’ll have fresh veggies and herbs to help with your healthy meal preps.

11
Have A Spa Day

You may not have time to get yourself to the gym, but something makes us think you might be able to squeeze a massage into your schedule instead. And not just for relaxation’s sake, but for a healthier lifestyle! According to researchers from Ohio State University, women who are more accepting of their bodies are far more likely to keep consistent with a nutritious diet. It might also lead to healthier choices throughout the week—and even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least be less stressed. And since a study in Obesity linked higher stress hormones to a larger waist and BMI, that’s more important than you might have thought.

12
Sleep It Off

Not getting enough sleep? Then you’re probably not burning enough calories. Results from a study in Sleep show that less shut-eye can lead to more weight gain since well-rested people have an easier time resisting junk food. So keep your calorie count under control by hitting the hay on time. It’s just one of the 35 Fun Activities That Don’t Feel Like Exercise.


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