The second part of our summer fat-loss tips gives you another 25 ways to burn more calories and get the exercise you need. These tips are particularly useful if you’re in a rut and miss workouts in the gym. Now you can expand your horizons to include other kinds of physical activity. Around you is a veritable smorgasbord of sports, exercises and opportunities for movement. No more excuses— if one idea doesn’t work for you, perhaps 10 or 20 of the others will. Use a little imagination and you can burn more calories almost anywhere.
At Home and at Work
- Be more active at home: Home can be a place where you vegetate, or it can be a fitness paradise. There are literally hundreds of ways to be more active: throw away the remote, walk up the stairs several times a day, mow the lawn by hand, clip the hedges, get rid of the spiders on the ceiling and move the furniture around.
- Be more active at work: Work out at work— build your abdominal muscles by tightening them isometrically, take the stairs instead of the elevator, sign up for an exercise class at lunch and park several blocks from work and walk the extra distance. Get up from your chair and stretch at least once every hour.
- Calisthenics: These are resistive exercises using your bodyweight as resistance. They are excellent for a person who wants to develop muscle strength but is unwilling to join a gym or devote too much time to the activity. Examples include push-ups, chair dips, crunches and jumping jacks.
- Gardening: Trimming the hedges, planting bushes and mowing the lawn are not Olympic sports, but they do burn calories and get you outside.
- Housework: While some people only see a vacuum cleaner, active men see a lunge machine. Use a little creativity and you can turn simple household chores into a weight and aerobics workout. Try wearing a weighted vest while you sweep or mop the floor. Don’t walk up the stairs— run. Jog in place as you wash the dishes. Stretch while putting them away.
- Active shopping: Go on a window-shopping hike. Walk through the mall and check out every single shop. If you live in a small town, check out each store twice. If you live near the Mall of America, cover the stores in four days.
- Clean the rain gutters: Climbing ladders and reaching for the rain gutter is great for your legs, and gives you a big stretch.
- Paint the walls: Painting is not fun and is physically exhausting. That’s what makes it such good exercise. You’ve wanted to change the colors in your kitchen and living room, so why not do it now while the weather is nice?
- Trim the hedges— by hand: Go to the hardware store and purchase hand hedge trimmers. This garden chore builds pec and shoulder muscles. You will also build leg and core muscles stabilizing your body while cutting the hedge.
- Sweep the walkway: Try interval sweeping: pick a 10-yard strip of cement and sweep as fast and as hard as you can. Also, try lunge sweeping: do a lunge every time you sweep the broom— first your left leg, then your right.
Out and About
- Enter a charity walk-a-thon: Many charities make money by getting people to sign up sponsors in walk-a-thons, fun runs and other feats of physical fitness. These events help your favorite charity, and make you look better on the outside and feel better on the inside.
- Explore a new city on foot: If your schedule and budget permits, fly to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, London or Paris and walk the city.
- Do errands by bike or on foot: You are not chained to your car. Buy a grocery cart and walk to the store, or get a bike and go grocery shopping. You will be limited in what you can bring home, so you won’t buy as much food and you will increase your fitness at the same time.
- Take the dog for a walk: Overweight people often own overweight dogs. Do your dog and yourself a favor and go for a walk together.
- Hit softballs at the batting cage: The batting cage is a great way to get ready for softball season. Hit balls until you can’t hit any more.
- Hit a bucket of balls at the golf course: Many people think golf is a wimpy sport. Hit a couple of hundred balls at the driving range and see how you feel the next day. This is a great way to improve your game and catch some sun.
In the Gym
- Train with weights: Weight training burns almost the same number of calories as aerobics, and it also builds muscle and increases your metabolism so you look more ripped and lean.
- Treadmill: The treadmill is one of the best machines in the gym for burning calories and increasing aerobic capacity. Exercising on a treadmill in an air-conditioned gym can be a lot better than training outside on a hot, muggy day.
- Stationary bike: The bike builds endurance capacity and overloads your leg muscles, which will make you look strong and powerful. You can purchase excellent bikes at sporting goods stores or online at reasonable prices.
- Elliptical trainer: These machines and trainers like the Cybex Arc allow you to reach high heart rates while maintaining low impact on your knees, hips and spine.
- Cross-country ski machine: Ski machines let you work upper and lower body muscles at the same time. It will prepare you for outdoor cross-country skiing next winter.
- Supine bike: Many people like the supine bike because the seat is more comfortable than a conventional upright bike. It gives the illusion of exercising while lying down.
- Rowing machine: Rowing machines build aerobic capacity and the large muscles of the upper and lower body. Many machines are equipped with computers that allow you to compete against rowers from around the world.
- Plyometrics: These are bounce exercises that increase speed and power for sports like volleyball, soccer and basketball. Plyometrics are fun, and develop fitness you can use in your daily life.
- Include HIIT in your program: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) cuts body fat and builds fitness and conditioning quickly. HIIT involves repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise lasting 10 seconds to four minutes, followed by rest. Short intervals are effective— provided you work at near-maximum effort.
- Find a training partner: Working out with a friend will help you stick with the program. Find someone to train with and you will keep each other motivated, push each other and you’ll both have a spotter.
Get Going— It’s Summer!
See how easy it is to find an activity suited to your interests and fitness level? Most guys could come up with an additional 50 ways to burn calories. Use your imagination, find something you like and get moving. If whatever is at the top of your list is not available, try something else. The ball is in your court, so run after it!
Fahey, TD, P Insel and W Roth. Fit and Well. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.
Fahey, TD. Basic Weight Training for Men and Women. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.