How Can you burn the most amount of Calories

It’s the start of a new year.  I hope you had a wonderful time over Christmas, I hope you had a chance to unwind, spend time with family, drink, eat and be merry.  We all know Christmas is a time for indulgence, and when the new year rolls around you might be feeling a little heavy, bloated or not very pleased with what you see in the mirror.


January is the time for a health kick!  The extra eating and drinking is behind you, and you want to start the year as you mean to go on!  But you might be a bit apprehensive and the thought of sticking to a strict diet and exercise routine makes you want to quit already.  There is an unfortunate all or nothing approach when it comes to health and fitness, people want to change everything all at once (with good intentions) but fall off the wagon after a few weeks of a strict diet and exercise regime.  This all or nothing approach is unfortunate, and it doesn’t have to be like that.  It’s better to make small simple changes, or add ons that you can add into your existing routine.  Adding these small things will start to become a habit, and part of your lifestyle where the change is more likely to last.  Change one thing at a time, rather than all at once.  There will be less hardship and you will be able to stick to it.  Habit change is an entire blog in itself, this blog is going to teach you about energy balance.  Basically how many calories your body burns through the day.  Knowing what burns the most amount of calories will  makes things easier for you and give the knowledge to make the right choices.  I don't want you slaving over the treadmill for hours and hours,  or eating salads all of January.  After reading this blog you will have a better understanding of what energy balance is and the most effective ways to burn calories that will help you achieve the body you want.  

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You might think that training burns the most amount of calories?  You might be pleased to hear that, that’s not true.  It all starts with your BRM.

Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate.  This is the amount of calories needed to keep your body functioning at complete rest.  Brain function, breathing, respiration and digestion and RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) all use calories that make up your total BMR and reflects the bodies heat production.  Around 70% of calories are burned at rest and BMR can be altered from things such as resistance training and body weight.  


Resistance training can slightly increase your BMR by raising your RMR.  Muscle tissue is metabolically taxing and requires more energy to keep on your body which will increase your metabolism.  This works two fold at improving your body composition as muscle will not only increase how many calorie you burn, it will also help decrease the amount of fat you store on your body.  The advise here is to resistance train and try to increase your muscle tissue.  A 3 day full body, or a 4 day upper lower training split works best in my experience.  This is literally 3 or 4 hours in the gym per week.  The key is to find what you can adhere to because consistency is key.  Giving yourself up to 12-16 weeks of consistent weekly training (along with sound nutrition) is usually enough time to see results.  


You have to move throughout your day.  Walking, doing housework, cognitive tasks, shopping, fidgeting or tapping your fingers all require energy to do so.  This all makes up your NEAT.  NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is the energy expended for everything that is not sleeping, eating or sports like exercise.  Around 15% of calories are burned from your NEAT and some people have a higher NEAT than others.  You might be that person, or know someone who just can’t sit still?  They will naturally burn a few more calories than someone is who very calm, still and laid back.  

Walking is a very effective way to increase your NEAT, and I always recommended my clients to hit a minimum of 10k steps a day, or go on 3 x 10 minutes walks.  This is a great productivity tool as going for a walk gives you a break from the daily grind and you’ll come back more refreshed and ready to go.  Walking is also great for recovery as it’s the only form of exercise that doesn’t induce the stress response in the body.  In fact it does the opposite, it taps into the rest and digest system, it increases blood flow and gets the lymphatic fluid moving around the body which helps flush toxins and deposits.  For fat loss purposes it’s much more effective to have someone eat the same amount of calories or more, and increase their NEAT.  Instead of restricting calories and over training, which breaks the body down, systems come to a halt and results stall or go backwards.  


It takes energy to digest food and there is an increase in metabolic rate after a meal is ingested. This is know as TEF, The Thermic Effect of Feeding.  TEF significantly increases from the the type of foods you eat to the quantity. (the more you eat, the higher TEF)  Around 10% of calories burned are from eating.  TEF differs from the macronutrients consumed and run in the order of Protein, Alcohol, Carbohydrates and Fats.

As Protein has the highest thermic effect, I always preach to eat lean protein at each meal.  You will use more calories digesting it, it’s a very satiating macro nutrient and is the only one that doesn't get stored as body fat.  This is paramount to changing your body as you’ll use more calories digesting it, stay fuller for longer and won’t store any excess body fat from eating it.  There is a range of protein an individual can eat depending on their energy expenditure, and I’d say the sweet spot is 1g per Ib of bodyweight.  So if you’re a 165 Ib man who goes to the gym 3-4 x a week then 165g of protein per day would be ideal.  Once you’ve found meals that hit your protein requirements then always keep that the same and adjust carbs and fats when needed.  Higher carb intake on training days and higher fat intake in non training days works great.


Now we come to the smallest factor when it comes to burning calories.  Exercise, or EEE (Exercise Energy Expenditure)  You might be surprised to hear that only 5% of calories are burned from exercise. More exercise does not equal more fat loss.  Sweating away on the treadmill and doing cardio for hours upon end does very little to change the shape of your body.  

Train intelligently.  I’ll say it again, more exercise does not equal more fat loss.  But that doesn’t mean all exercise is useless.  I’ve explained the benefits of resistance/strength training which should make up the majority of your exercise, and there are a lot of other benefits of doing cardio so never rule it out.  It’s about the choosing the right amount of frequency per week, the minimal effect dose to get you the results you want.  Choosing the right amount frequency is very individual and depends on your goals, limitations, time constraints and many other factors.  Go with the motto of train hard, but smart.  Don’t hammer yourself every time you go to the gym, have a plan you can adhere to, keep consistent, schedule in rest days and I guarantee you’ll see results.  


If you would like a nutrition and nutrition programme specific to your lifestyle that will get you results then reach out to me as I would love to help.  Hope you enjoyed this blog and speak again in 2 weeks.