We know. Following a strict body weight loss plan is difficult. But what if we said you could strip the blubber with minimal exercise, cost and sacrifices to your diet? And that all these methods are backed up by peer-reviewed studies? That’s right, cancel your gruelling spin class and ditch that lump of kale: these are the shortcuts to slim you’re going to enjoy.
How to cheat your: diet
They say that you need to eat less to lose weight. They’re wrong. Simply add the foods below to your shopping basket to see the pounds fall off.
This hot food staple is one of the fastest foods to burn off your blubber. Why? A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to a placebo, capsaicin—the active ingredient in cayenne pepper—increases fat burning. It’s your guilt-free excuse for a curry night.
(Related: The ultimate guide to chillies)
2. Green tea
Swap your regular cuppa for a green brew won’t just change your tea break, but your body fat score too. How? The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound the catechins in green tea boost metabolism and increase your calorie burn by up to 4%. Say hello to your most sophisticated weight loss supp yet.
Looks like the white stuff is also the right stuff. According to research published in Cell Metabolism, milk contains a compound called nicotinamide riboside, which increases the rate at which your body burns flab.
And that’s not all: because of its high protein content, chugging down a glass of semi-skimmed after your workout will grow your muscles up to 40% (yes, 40!) more than if you didn’t, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
One a day keeps the fat away, according to scientists at Pennsylvania State University. How? Due to its high fibre content, snacking on an apple 15 minutes before a meal consume 200 fewer calories. And no, downing a Bulmer’s before dinner won’t work as well.
Don’t worry, taking up this habit won’t leave you with Alex Ferguson’s physique – if you opt for sugar-free gum. University of Rhode Islandresearchers have found that chewing by itself reduces the amount you eat and speeds up your metabolism.
Need another reason? A study published in the journal Appetite found that working gum around your mouth will make you consume 36 fewer calories each time you snack because your appetite had been sated. Now that’s something to chew over.
6.Water (before a meal)
That’s right, downing two glasses of plain old H20 before your dinner is enough to burn 15 pounds over 12 weeks. How? According to scientists at Virginia Tech University, zero-calorie water can make you partially full, meaning you’ll eat less grub during your meal.
Plus, downing a cold pint of the clear stuff (water, not vodka) after every meal is enough to raise your metabolism by 30% for 40mins, according to theJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. That’s a lot of burning for little effort.
If you want to lose weight then you’ve got to move out the whey, right? Wrong.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that meal replacement andhigh protein shakes are a vital part of a weight loss plan. Don’t hold back.
Eat more, burn more. At least when it comes to breakfast, anyway. According to research from the University of Bath, eat 700 calories before 11am and you’ll have better blood sugar levels than those who skipped the most important meal of the day. It’s the best excuse you’ll have of sticking with a morning fry-up and avoiding a costly Starbucks lunch.
(Related: The 14 best breakfast foods on the planet)
And they say you can’t eat like a pig and slim down. Scientists at Kyoto University found bacon is a great source of the hormone coenzyme Q1, which spikes up your metabolism when combined with a brisk walk. And here’s the best bit: the study showed eating six rashers of bacon an hour before your stroll to the office will double the fat burn. There’s no need to ration your rashers.
It might not build you like Popeye overnight, but add a bit of the green stuff on the side of your plate if you want to slim down - fast. It’s thanks to spinach’s ecdysteroids, natural compounds found in the veg that increase the levels of protein adiponectin, which makes fat cells more sensitive to insulin, and breaks down fat. It’s really that easy.
How to cheat your: training
Sure, exercising will speed up your weight loss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take shortcuts there too. Here’s the ones you need to know about.
10. Try HIIT instead of cardio
Want to blow away you belly without logging months of mind-numbing hours on the treadmill? There is another way. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)will kickstart your metabolism like no other workout, burning over twice the calories as a lighter and longer session, according to a study from Southern Illinois University. And the total amount of time you need to dedicate to HIIT: 20 minutes. It really is the least time exercising for the biggest results.
(Related: The beginner’s guide to HIIT)
Not sure where to start? Try this simple kettlebell circuit used by Joel Edgerton:
-Hold the bell in your right hand, swing it back between your legs.
-Squeeze your glutes to drive it forward.
-At eye level, punch up so as not to smack your forearm.
-Do 10 reps (5 each side).
- Maintaining your stance, grab the bell with both hands.
- Swing it between your legs, but snap your hips hard so bell ends up level to your head.
-Do 10 reps
-Put the bell to one side and squat to place your hands on the floor.
-Kick your legs back and perform a press-up.
-Jump your legs back in and stand up.
-That’s one rep. Three more rounds and you’re done.
11. Listen to music
Want to instantly burn more blubber in your workout? Research conducted at Brunel University found listening to your favourite tracks will increase your endurance by a massive 15%. And if you really want to turn your weight loss up to 11 then try the Men’s Health Workout album with the heavy bass that Social Psychological and Personality Science found increases your sense of personal power to help you get the most out of the gym.
(Related: What type of music will banish work stress?)
12. Walk or cycle to work
Avoiding the gym at all costs doesn’t mean you can’t shed the pounds. Simply swap your normal boring commute for a short cycle and you’ll keep the calories burning long after you step into the office, according to researchers at Loughborough University.
Don’t want to fork out for a new set of wheels? Just avoid the car and you’ll still speed away to your blubber. Why? Research published in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that you can still lose weight by opting for public transport over your morning drive.
13. Workout at home
Gym memberships are expensive. Home workouts are free. You do the math(s). Need more persuading? Bodyweight workouts are the perfect way to burn the calories as you’re always setting the correct weight: yourself. It’s no wonder it made to our list of 2016’s top fitness trends.
(Related: Burn fat fast with this 20 second circuits)
Just starting out? Try this simple circuit (with each exercise lasting just 45 seconds) three times over:
-Get into a press-up position with your hands staggered, so your right is further forward then the left.
-Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then drive up explosively.
-Pull your hands off the floor and switch positions so your left leads, then repeat.
-Get into a press-up position with your hands wider than shoulder width apart.
-Bend at the waist and lift your heels off the floor, keeping your back straight, so your body forms an upside down V-shape.
-Bend at your elbows to lower your head towards the floor.
-Push back explosively to the start position.
-Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms by your side.
-Squat down halfway and jump as high as you can.
-Land softly and use the momentum to power into your next rep.
-Start in a half squat position.
-Jump off your outward facing leg as far as possible before landing.
-Immediately return to the other side.
Can’t be bothered training 5 days a week? Exercise early in the morning and you can cut out one of your sessions says a study published British Journal of Nutrition. The Reason? A bodyweight circuit before breakfast blasts away 20% more fat than a session at lunch. That leaves you the rest of the day to gloat about your results.
How to cheat your: habits
Supposed to make that early gym class, but suffered a sleepless night? Give yourself a lie in. As research published in the International Journal of Obesityshows, getting eight hours shuteye will reduce your stress levels and double your chances of slimming down. It really is your dream weight loss method.
(Related: The expert guide to getting better shuteye)
Colleagues annoyed by your constant posture changing and leg waggling? Just tell them you’re burning the calories. How? A study from the University of Leeds showed that those who fidgeted more often weighed less than those who didn't. Bottom line: reposition your chair all you want.
17. Play video games
Want to instantly crush your cravings by 24%? Load up FIFA instead of Netflix, says research published by the Plymouth University. Why? Spending time bossing virtual 40-yard free kicks is enough to distract your mind food, meaning you’ll eat less. Game on.
18. Turn the lights off
Get slim at the flick of a switch. No, really. Research in the Journal of Biological Rhythms found sleeping in a blacked out room can speed up your metabolism while also ensuring you catch better Zs. You don’t even need to be awake to drop the pounds.
19. Escape your work chair
Hate being chained to your chair eight hours a day? Bug HR to get a stand-up desk and not only will you be able to casually see what your colleagues are up to, you could easily fight off obesity if you stand for a total of just an hour a day, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Break up your day and lose weight: it’s a win-win.