7 Ways to Burn Body Fat Without Cardio
When you think about burning body fat, chances are good that long bouts of cardio sessions come to mind. But, did you know that there are other ways to manage body fat besides just sweating it out with long, boring aerobic training? It’s true. With a few simple strategic additions to your workout routine and some savvy alterations to your lifestyle, you can turn down the cardio and still ramp up the fat burning. Here’s how:
7 Ways to Burn Belly Fat Without Cardio
1. Become Friendly With the Weight Section of the Gym
Did you know that resistance training is one of the best ways to burn off body fat for the long term? Yes, lifting weights may actually be your secret weapon when it comes to getting toned up and trimmed down.
Why is resistance training so effective at burning off body fat? Well, the reason is that resistance training helps you build muscle, and muscle burns calories. You see, unlike body fat, which is a tissue that just exists, muscle mass is what’s called “metabolically active.” Being metabolically active means that such tissue requires calories in order to survive. As you can probably deduce, the more muscle tissue you can develop and add to your frame, the more calories you will need to take in on a daily basis just to maintain your weight.
And, bonus, if you stick to your normal pattern of eating (not upping your calories), but continue to put on extra muscle mass, you will naturally and effortlessly lose body fat over time.
2. Monitor Your Diet
Your second major strategy when it comes to burning off body fat is to accomplish it through your diet. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “calories in versus calories out,” and it will help you in your quest to slim down without cardio. The trick is to find out how many calories you actually need to maintain your weight where you are now. (You can use online diet calculators to figure this out.) Next, subtract 10% of the calories you need for maintenance (or 20% if you want to be aggressive), and that is your new calorie goal for body fat loss.
Keep in mind, you can’t stay on a reduced-calorie diet forever without your body adjusting and slowing your metabolism, so the strategic way to do this is to keep your calories low for a few days at a time and then up them to your maintenance level for a day before dropping back down low. This trick will keep your body confused, your metabolism burning bright and strong, and the body fat melting off.
3. Harness the Power of Intermittent Fasting
This can be the thing that pushes you into the success zone. Eating your meals within a prescribed period of time and then letting your body rest and simply burn fat is another tried and true way to burn body fat without cardio.
Intermittent fasting should, by necessity and timing, have you naturally eating less calories than you normally would. Because you’ve condensed your feeding window, you should be eating fewer meals and thus fewer calories overall. Additionally, since your body won’t have to digest food constantly, it will release less insulin and thus more growth hormone, both of which foster increased body fat burning.
4. Reduce Stress
Cortisol is the hormone that is produced by your body when you are stressed, and being in a constant state of stress can cause your body to store fat. Learning to relax through the practice of meditation, yoga, relaxation ceremonies, and higher quality sleep can help. These are all things you should take up as well to help your body relax so it can focus on fat loss while your hormones regulate and your central nervous system cools down.
5. Get Your Protein
A diet without sufficient protein is just an exercise in futility. If you’re working out with weights (and trying to avoid excessive cardio), your best bet is to ensure you’re getting plenty of protein. That means you’ll be eating at least one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Why? You need to build the metabolically-active muscle tissue, and dietary protein is one of the building blocks that will help you do it. A diet rich in protein will help you get lean and stay lean while preserving that hard-earned muscle mass and allowing your body to release excess body fat.
6. Moving and Grooving
Increase your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). That means start moving a little more every day than you usually would. Park further away from your destination, take the stairs and never the elevator, learn to fidget, squirm, and not sit still, get up several times every hour to move around. If you don’t have time for a 30-minute walk every day, sneak in several 5- to 10-minute walking breaks throughout your day. Getting in 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day can go a long way toward increasing your level of fitness and toning you up rather quickly.
The idea is to start moving more and keep moving more to burn off extra fat without worrying about official cardio sessions at the gym.
7. Eat Foods that Burn Excess Calories
Did you know some foods take more calories to digest and absorb than others? It’s what’s called the “thermic” effect of food. Other foods may cause an increase in body temperature, which boosts metabolism. Some great examples of more thermogenic foods include:
- Fibrous veggies
- Proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, and fish
- Coffee and tea
- Hot, spicy foods like hot peppers (e.g., jalapenos, cayenne, and chili peppers), black pepper, and even bell peppers
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
In fact, just sticking with whole, natural healthy food choices may automatically help you get rid of bloat, water weight, and yes, over time, excess body fat that can be stored when you eat processed foods and foods laden with chemicals, artificial ingredients, preservatives and other toxins, refined oils, sugars, and of course, calories.
Burn Body Fat Without Cardio: A Wrap-Up
If you hate running, aerobics, or swimming, you don’t have to start just to lose body fat. Instead, find an exercise or activity that you enjoy—from gardening to walking the dog to yoga to cleaning or organizing your home to resistance training and more. Combined with the above ideas, you’ll see the body fat begin to burn off over time, helping you enjoy greater health and fitness.