How To Burn More Calories While Sitting Still

How To Burn More Calories While Sitting Still (2019)

Author Image Ash May Training Nutrition

By Ash May

Put the fat burners down.

Seriously, put them down. Stop wasting your money.

The accepted way of burning fat that is currently developing in today’s fitness culture is something that can be seen in every gym: as much cardio as possible, while eating as little calories as possible, and taking all the most recently popular ‘fat burning’ supplements.

Not only is this a huge, unenjoyable waste of time, but it is also very unhealthy in the long and short term, while also providing the opposite effects of what you’re trying to achieve.

Throughout the article, I will explain why cardio is making weight loss harder, and how to burn more calories while sitting still.

Click Here for customised workout or diet plans, tailored towards your goals and lifestyle.

Weight Loss Supplements

Weight loss supplements have always been pushed by the media as a magic solution to burning fat, which gets even worse during times of high fitness uptake such as New Years.

However, these supplements all have a few things in common:

  • They promise to help you burn fat by increasing the amount of calories you burn in a day.
  • They contain unpronounceable, poor quality ingredients in ineffective doses.
  • They contain substances such as caffeine which increase your heart rate, leading to negligible calorie burn, and a placebo of the tablets doing something for your weight loss.
  • They are expensive. Like, really expensive.
  • They don’t work.
Male Running To Burn Calories and Lose Weight

The Damaging Effects Of Cardio

Cardio stands for cardiovascular activity. This basically means any activity which brings your heart rate to a certain bpm (beats per minute), which will be slightly different for everybody. The way you will see this is often running outside, or the use of cardio machines at a gym, such as treadmills, rowing machines, etc.

When done in the right way, cardio is an extremely healthy form of exercise which strengthens your heart – the most important muscle of all. Without a healthy heart it doesn’t matter how strong your body is, or how slim you are, you wont be healthy.

But that being said, cardio is hardly ever done right. The main mistake is made by people looking at it as a tool for burning calories, rather than a skill which improves heart health and more.

In order to burn a notable amount of calories, the standard amount of cardio is 30-60 minutes, 5 – 7 times per week. This helps you lose weight as it increases your weekly caloric expenditure, meaning that your body is using more energy than it is taking in.

However, the human body is an incredibly intelligent machine. With a low amount of calories, and a high energy output through cardio activity, within a matter of weeks it will begin to adapt.

This will happen in two ways:

You will become more efficient at the exercise, meaning your body is using less energy to perform the movement, leading to less calories burnt from the same time and exercise.

Or, your metabolism will process calories more efficiently, which will bring your daily calorie requirement down. As this goes down, you will need to be eating less and less, or exercising more and more in order to keep losing weight. This is simply not sustainable!

The damage done to a slow metabolism can effect somebody throughout their whole life, and make it much easier to put on weight, as it requires less food to do so. In today’s world with such calorie dense food options everywhere we go, it becomes inevitable that you will gain weight, not lose it.

It is because of this that cardio is making you gain fat, not burn it.

Brocolli and chicken healthy clean eating in order to lose weight

What To Do Instead

With so many people wanting to lose weight, and so many companies lying to these people, it is a viscous cycle.

So, I will tell you the real way to burn more calories while sitting still.

The factor which dictates the amount of calories you burn is your metabolic rate. The resting metabolic rate is your baseline calorie burn with no activity whatsoever, which is what we will be increasing in order to lose weight.

TDEE is the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, which is your resting metabolic rate, with daily activity added to it. By doing cardio, you re increasing your TDEE, causing your body to reduce your resting metabolic rate as a survival mechanism.

There are many factors which determine your resting metabolic rate, along with a huge amount of individual variance. However, to list a few; age, height, weight, gender, health, and muscle mass.

Obviously, not a lot of these can be controlled. Unfortunately, you can’t make yourself taller and younger, but there are some variables which you are able to improve on, significantly increasing your metabolic rate, along with many other aspects of your physical health, and life. This will allow you to eat more, while losing body fat, or maintaining where you are.

Boosting Metabolic Rate For Weight Loss

Out of the variables listed above, fortunately the two we can actually do something about, are the two which have the biggest effect on your metabolism. Health, and muscle mass.


A healthy body is reflected in your metabolism. Living an active lifestyle with regular exercise, and a balanced diet all contribute to a healthy body.

When you are healthy, everything works better. You feel less sluggish so have less desire to sit around doing nothing, you are able to do more before getting tired, and just feel happier in general.

However, there are less physical effects to a healthy body which will be reflected in your metabolism, allowing for weight to come off, and stay off.

When your body is healthy and working properly, the process of digesting will work as it should do. This means that the food you eat will be efficiently assimilated, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients it should be, rather than passing them through.

Not only will this allow for a healthier absorption of food and a better performing metabolism, but it will also likely reduce bloating. Slow or poor digestion and issues can often cause inflammation and bloating, leading to the appearance of weight gain, or a lack of tone – even after losing weight.


Muscle mass is the big one for when it comes to boosting your metabolism for easier weight loss. there is a reason that you often see large, muscular people or body builders eating huge amounts of food, while having ripped six packs. Muscle burns calories.

Woman building muscle looking strong and lean not masculine

Before going into the detail of why building muscle will help you burn more calories, I want to clear up a common misconception amongst women.

Building muscle will not make you look bulky or masculine! Women simply do not have the hormones or genetics to get to that stage, and will definitely benefit visually and physically from having more muscle mass.

This is because more muscle will mean there is more pushing against the skin, leading to the appearance of tighter skin, and a more toned body. This also means that you will appear to be leaner/slimmer than if you had less muscle, as the body fat you do have will be more shaped by the layers of muscle beneath it.

As for the calorie burning benefits of muscle without moving:

Muscle is expensive for your body. This means that in order to build it, a lot of calories are needed, much more than the equal amount of fat tissue, for example. Therefore, when your body is being trained to build muscle through weight training, it becomes more careless with calories – rather than trying to store them due to a severe lack of food, it will be burning through them in order to adapt your body to become stronger.

This will raise your metabolism greatly so that once you have build muscle, when the time comes to then cut down any body fat gained in the muscle building process, you will be able to eat a lot more and exercise a lot less to get the same results.

Along with this, muscle releases more heat than other tissues in the body. The way heat is generated in the body is through the burning of calories, like wood on a fire. Therefore, muscle mass on your body will increase your resting metabolic rate further through energy release.

Summary - Burning More Calories While Sitting Still

By prioritising building muscle, your body will become less efficient with calories. This leads to a higher resting metabolic rate, so you use more calories throughout the day, rather than conserving them as fat.

This is the absolute best approach due to its sustainability. The calorie burn from cardio is short term – it is restricted to the time where you are actually doing the activity.

On the other hand, the increase in resting metabolic rate from building muscle, and an increase in health, is a long term boost which will continue to increase over term, rather than decrease like the metabolic adaption seen from cardio.

Overall, it is clear that the sustainable, long term approach of focusing on a healthier life style and building muscle is the best approach for fat loss – you will genuinely be burning more calories while sitting still.

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