Lose Weight at Work – 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Burn More Calories During your Workday

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 9 at 5:03 pm in itBODYnature, weight loss, weMINDculture

Image courtesy of sun dazed

Juggling the tasks of working on this mind-body fitness blog of mine, doting on my stunningly sexy wife, and working a full-time job makes finding time to work out and burn off all those beers I drink on the weekends a difficult task. I try to be creative in working more activity into my off hours, but those are egregiously limited, so my solution to this problem is to get more creative in trying to make my working hours more productive … and by productive I don’t mean hammering out more TPS Reports, I mean burning off more calories during my workday so I don’t have to work as hard in my precious off time to stay fit.

For this article I put together my top ten tips for burning more calories during your workday. If you follow even half of these, I guarantee you’ll be ahead of the pack when it comes to staying lean and mean.

  1. Take the stairs whenever possible. This one’s a no-brainer, folks. If you’ve got stairs in your office building, take them. If there are 50 flights between the ground floor and your office, try walking five flights, then hitting the elevator. Maybe you can even turn it into a progressive training program and work your way up to 25 flights – or more. And do yourself a favor – don’t give into the peer pressure. Get psyched up for it, because everybody else is going to want to take the elevator. Don’t worry about them. You’ll not be that far behind them getting to the meeting, and they’ll all know you’re better off for walking. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a few defectors to join you.
  2. Drink enough water. This is a no-lose situation here. You burn calories walking to the water cooler to fill up your cup or bottle. You get to take a little break and discuss who’s going to get kicked off Survivor or American Idol this week, or who won the NASCAR race, or whatever you like to discuss at the water cooler. You’ll burn more calories taking a regular walk to potty as well. So get your 2 Liters or half-gallon of water a day at least. And be sure and spread it out. No one wants to deal with hyponatremia.
  3. Quit smoking but keeping taking smoke breaks. After I quit smoking a few years back, I began to get really fed up at work watching the smokers take 5-10 seven-minute breaks a day, while I had to hang at my desk. So what do I do now? I take smoke breaks. I don’t smoke, of course. I just take an easy half-mile walk every hour or two throughout the day. It gets me away from my desk, out in the fresh air, and helps me once again, burn more calories in my workday.
  4. Change your seating arrangement. If you’re like me and sit at a desk most of the workday, you may be able to kill a couple of birds with one stone. By this I mean you can burn a few more calories and go a long way toward fixing some likely posture problems by finding a new desk or seat. My dad bought himself a desk like this one so he can alternate standing and sitting throughout the day. This is great for getting your low-back muscles off stretch and keeping your hip flexors from staying slack all day. Standing works more of your core musculature as well, which, you guessed it, burns more calories. Another, cheaper seat-change option is to replace your desk chair with an exercise ball. You’ll naturally keep a straighter back, use those core muscles for stabilization, and you’ll have a piece of workout equipment at your disposal all day long.
  5. Walk to lunch. I like to take the 1-mile walk to a nearby Subway once or twice a week for lunch. If you work near a decent restaurant, you might consider doing the same. The benefits are obvious … unless, of course, you’re walking to McDonald’s.
  6. Eat a better breakfast. Eating a good breakfast first thing in the morning is the perfect way to kick-start your metabolism and get you burning fat from the word go. I personally love the yogi bowl, but if you’re after something lower (or slower) in carbs, you could try Tim Ferriss’s 3-minute slow carb breakfast. I also like to mix 2 egg whites with 2 whole eggs in a shaker, put my skillet on the burner, and get out the cooking spray before I hit the bed-sack. Then, after I shower and get dressed the next morning, I just turn on the heat, pull the eggs out of the fridge, scramble them up and top with salsa, and I’ve got a great breakfast in just about 2 minutes.
  7. Work out at lunch. The first thing I did when I came to work at Arkansas Children’s Hospital was join the fitness center. It comes straight out of my check, it’s cheaper than a regular gym membership, and I can work out during my lunch hour. If you’re lucky enough to have such a benefit, use it. If not, check around to see if there’s a gym close to your office you could join. The advantages here are obvious.
  8. Eat more negative calorie foods. Negative calorie foods are foods that require more calories to digest than the food actually contains. What this means is that when you consume these foods, once your body is finished processing them, they leave you with a net loss in calories. You essentially burn calories simply by eating these foods. For a detailed discussion of the thermogenic effects of various foods, check out this article, and for a detailed list of negative calorie foods, click here.
  9. Put on five pounds of muscle. That’s right, putting on muscle is going to help you burn more calories, even when you’re sitting at your desk. For every pound of muscle you put on, you’re going to burn close 50 calories more per day. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity also showed that simply eating more protein helps lose weight. Plus it looks great on your waistline.
  10. Have a little fun. Buy some toys to lighten up your work environment. I like to stick to things that involve others and create movement like little basketball hoops, disc guns, Nerf balls, etc. This is a great way to de-stress and create more movement and laughter for you and your coworkers, which will not only increase your popularity at work, but also … you’re probably ahead of me on this one, aren’t you … amp up the amount of calories you’re going to burn from 9 to 5.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article, and that you found some helpful suggestions. As always, I’m interested in what you have to say! If you have some experience with one or more of these, or if you have additional suggestions on how to maximize the calorie burn during your workday, please comment below!

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