3 Ways You Can Burn More Fat In Your Sleep
You know the saying: Sleep when you’re dead. Well, if your goal is to get fitter, stronger or lose weight, it’s total BS. Sleep is one of the most important parts of any fitness regimen. When you sleep, your body produces human growth hormone, essential for repair. And it’s during this repair phase that your get those sought-after gains. By tweaking how you work out, you can prompt your body to use even more energy when it’s at rest – and burn fat in the process!
1/ Build more muscle
The benefits of strength training are many and varied. For starters, a strong, toned body looks smoking hot. But that’s just the beginning. Building functional muscle helps you power through life by making simple tasks – like picking up your toddler or carrying buckets of grey water (ag shame, Cape Town) – far easier. Women with more muscle mass increase their bone density, lowering your chance of developing osteoporosis later in life. Stronger muscles also stabilise and support your body as you move, so you’re less likely to get injured. But here’s the kicker – increasing your muscle mass makes you burn fat. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, which means your body needs to burn energy to sustain it. That means, by simply having more muscle, you’ll burn more fat for energy, even when you’re just chilling or, you know, sleeping.
DO IT: Cardio junkie? Add some strength training to your weekly workout schedule. If you train four to five days a week, make two of those days strength days. If you train three days a week, make one day a strength day and try to incorporate strength work into one of your other sweat seshes.
2/ Up your workout intensity
There’s a reason high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has dominated the list of workout trends consistently for the past five years – it works. If you’re still not entirely sure what HIIT is, here’s a crash course…you go all out for a period of time, take a short breather, then you go all out again. Research consistently shows that training in this way prompts your body to burn more fat in less time – and that you’ll keep up that burn for up to 12 hours after you’ve stopped exercising. Problem is, you really need to be going flat out in your work periods. So HIIT is not a good idea if you’re still a beginner. But if you’re more advanced, it can still be difficult to push yourself to that kind of intensity.
DO IT: Tabata body-weight training. You can totally do this on a cardio machine, but if you struggle to push yourself to the limit, here’s a way to make it a game. Pick four simple body-weight moves (say, squat, high knees, push-up, burpee). Starting with your first move, see how many reps you can do in 20 seconds. Take 10 seconds to catch your breath and write down your score. Then do the same with the next move. At the end, rest for a minute, then go again. Do eight rounds in total. See if you can get a better score next time.
3/ Turn down the temperature
A dropping body temperature helps you fall and stay asleep, but a toasty room prevents that process. So switch your heater off and even crack a window if you can bear it. “The other potential benefit of sleeping in the cold,” says Winter, “is that your body has to work to keep you warm, so over the course of the night you may naturally burn more kilojoules.” A study in the journal Diabetes found that people who slept in a 19°C room increased their brown fat – a metabolically active form of fat – by 42 percent, which the researchers say may be enough to spur weight change.
DO IT: If you have an aircon in your room, set it to 18 degrees Celsius, two degrees below room temperature. No aircon? Have a shower before your bed – your falling body temp post shower mimics the fall in body temp as you drift off. Crack a window, use a fan or switch to a lighter duvet to stay cool.