7 Sneaky Ways to Burn More Calories Each Day

Wcan have the best intentions when it comes to staying in shape, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Whether it’s work, family, or friend obligations, life has a way of setting up roadblocks between you and your fitness goals. The great thing about staying healthy, is that you can make strides with the smallest of changes. Give these 7 practices a try to help burn some extra energy without too much extra effort.


Get Moving First Thing

Even if you don’t have time to get to the gym before work, try to squeeze in a quick burst activity to get your day started. Just 10 minutes of tried and true exercises like squats, jumping jacks, crunches, and push ups can help stoke your metabolism all day long. By getting the body moving early, you ensure that you’re burning calories all day long.


Stay Cool

Keep your home on the cooler side. This simple habit can increase your brown body fat by up to 40%. Plus, when activated by cold temperatures, brown body fat burns calories to keep your body warm, even if you’re just sitting around.


Use Your Phone to Get Yourself Moving

Have your phone remind you to get up and moving every hour. Without some kind of prompting, it’s all too easy to say seated at your desk for hours on end. You don’t need to do much, but even just taking a quick walk around the office or a break to grab water helps your body burn more calories.


5 More Minutes

Whether you’re surfing, working out, or going for a walk around the block, keep going for an extra 5 minutes. Take the long way home for the grocery store, or throw an extra quarter in the meter so you can surf just a bit longer than your average session. A couple more minutes of activity won’t drastically affect your schedule, but you can burn a couple extra calories.


Follow the “1 by 10” Rule

Make an effort to get your heart rate up for 1 minute spurts at least 10 times per day. Take the stairs. Carry your grocery bags in from the car one by one. Do a quick series of squats. Whatever you can think of, just squeeze in quick 1 minute bursts of activity 10 times per day, and you’ll burn significantly more calories throughout the day.


Add Strength Training

A lot of people focus exclusively on cardio if they’re trying to burn more calories, but strength training has been shown to help you make strides as well. Building muscle tone helps you burn more calories throughout the day, even if you’re not especially active.


Sprint it Out

Whether you’re running, biking, or surfing, we all have a tendency to fade as the activity goes on. Instead of winding down your session or run slowly, escalate toward the end. Sprint the last 50 yards, go all out catching waves for the last 10 minutes, or finish your ride with an intense hill climb. Pushing your body at the end uses up any extra gas you had left in the tank, and it will help your body keep burning calories the rest of the day.

The Nerd Fitness Academy

Our ebooks have evolved!

Back in October, we launched a beta version of the Nerd Fitness Academy with our first course: Women’s Fitness 101. In that first week, over 1400 rebel women enrolled, and we’ve been working hard on working with them to improve the course ever since.

On January 1st, 2014 we’ll be officially reopening the Academy with two courses:

  • Men’s Fitness 101
  • Women’s Fitness 101

These self-paced courses will contain everything you need to build healthy habits, start exercising properly, and effectively adapt your diet and level up your life. Each course comes with its own “path” to follow, high-definition exercise demonstrations, months and months of exercise programming, nutrition advice based on your goals, a special community for “students,” and more.

Right now, feel free to check out the sales pages for each course (Men’s Fitness 101 and Women’s Fitness 101), with all of the information you need, and an email sign-up at the bottom of them to make sure you get all the info and can be one of the first in the course to join up!

Spending the past two months with the Rebel Women who have joined The Academy have made me so excited for the future of this platform. It’s a perfect medium for us to help people and provide specific advice that we can update and improve on the fly.

I’m confident that starting on January 1st, we’ll be able to help out the Rebels of Nerd Fitness in a more technologically advanced and interactive way. The future is bright!

On January 1st, we’ll be officially reopening the Academy with two courses:

  • Men’s Fitness 101
  • Women’s Fitness 101

New NBC Reality Show ‘STRONG’ Focuses On Building Muscle Instead of Just Getting Skinny


If you combine The Biggest Loser with American Ninja Warrior, you might end up with something similar to STRONG., a new fitness-focused reality show coming April 13 to NBC.

he premise of STRONG is simple: 10 women from around the country who desperately want to get in shape will pair up with 10 elite male trainers. The trainers will help the women transform their bodies for the better and will compete alongside them in a number of weekly physical challenges. If a duo can’t cut it, they’ll be eliminated. When all is said and done, the last team standing will walk away with a cash prize of up to $500,000.

One of the trainers featured on STRONG will be STACK partner and expert contributor Todd Durkin, one of the top strength coaches in the industry. His client list includes a huge number of professional athletes, including Drew Brees and Gerald McCoy. We’re looking forward to watching Durkin do his thing and help one of these women get seriously strong.

5 Tips For Gaining Lean Muscle Mass Without Getting Fat

‘Bulking’—every gym-head loves this stage. Why? Well, because you get to eat ‘whatever you like’. Yup, that’s what over 90 percent of the guys think—‘eat whatever comes your way’. Here’s exactly where they go wrong and end up ballooning instead of bulking, or in short, get fat in the name of bulking up. Here are 5 pro-tips that will help you keep that unnecessary fat at bay while bulking.

1. Increase Your Calorie Intake But Eat Clean


Bulking does not give you a license to binge-eat junk food. Eating clean is just as much important in the bulking stage as it’s during the cutting stage. Here’s the key: make it a point that your meal contains proteins, low-glycemic carbs and healthy dietary fats.

2. Plan Your Day’s Major Carbohydrate Intake Around Your Workout


An overdose of carbs leads to hyper insulin spikes which ultimately leads to fat gain. On the other hand, it’s also wrong to completely eliminate carbs from your meals. If you have a pre-dominantly sitting job, the best thing is to center your carb consumption around your workout. Pre and post workout is exactly the time when your body needs insulin spikes and glycogen replenishments. Also, make sure that your carbs are coming from the likes of sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grains.

3. Dietary Fats Don’t Make You Fat And Are A Great Source Of Calories


Please be very clear that healthy fats don’t make you fat! Moreover, fats have 9 calories per gram whereas carbs and proteins have 4-5 calories per gram. It’s the quality of calorie you ingest that determines the quantity of muscle you’ll gain. Fats from sources like nuts, avocado, whipped butter and eggs are a must if you want to put on size. Say no to saturated fats from chips, cheese dips and other junk foods.

4. Don’t Overdo Cardio


While High Intensity Cardio is a silver bullet for fat loss, going overboard with it will only kill your lean muscle. Bulking up is primarily about preserving calories and using them for the right workout. Limit your HIIT to 2-3 days a week and focus more on strength training.

5. Lift Only As Heavy As You Can And Focus on Form


Thumb rule for gaining size—proper form over max weight. There’s no point bench pressing 100kgs when your forms sucks even at 50. Lift only as heavy as you can and gradually scale up the weights.

10 Muscle Building Foods to Add to Your Diet for Faster Gains

Continuing on my theme about the critical importance of nutrition within the whole fitness/training process. In my Thursday column I talked about healthy snacks. A big thanks to all of you who sent in those great snack recipe ideas.

I posted some of the best on my site www.jameshaskell.com . So please take a look and tell me what they taste like. As they all look so good!

In today’s column, we are going to take a wider look at the whole subject with some interesting food ideas and eating tips.

The reason most people struggle to build muscle isn’t through lack of effort in the gym. With so much fitness information out there these days, most guys and girls can engineer a decent enough training programme. The hard part is eating enough and enough of the right foods, to trigger muscle growth.

Science tells us that in order to build muscle, we have to be in a caloric surplus. But when you factor in a full day’s worth of activity, this can end up being a lot more food than you think.

One day of eating big won’t cut it, either. In order to build muscle we need to maintain our caloric surplus for weeks, months, as long as we want to keep growing. To do this, we need to achieve the following two things:

Eat high calorie foods. They’ll make it much easier to achieve your caloric goals than plain old chicken and rice. But before you dive head first into a pizza box, remember that these have to be good calories – or you’ll just end up looking like a marshmallow.

Eliminate food boredom. There’s only so long that you can force feed yourself meals that you don’t enjoy. If you’re in this for the long term, we need to eliminate the food boredom so you can hit your calorie goals day in, day out. Most importantly, you’ll have fun doing so too.

With the above in mind, here are 10 foods to add to your diet to help you build (and keep building) some serious muscle.

1) Whole Eggs

Eggs are the ultimate muscle building food – they’re cheap, versatile, and packed with calories and protein. They’re also high in cholesterol, which, contrary to popular belief, is actually extremely beneficial for your performance goals. This is because cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone, one of the major hormones responsible for building muscle.

Eggs and fish


Eggs are also extremely rich in selenium, which helps maintain a healthy heart and joints, along with iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function. They’re great for breakfast, as a portable snack when hardboiled, or used as an easy way to bump up the caloric value of your other meals throughout the day. After all, who doesn’t love topping their steak with a couple of fried eggs?

2) Almond butter

In fact, any nut butter will do. There aren’t many easier (or more delicious) ways to bump up your calorie intake than with a couple of teaspoons of nut butter each day.

The beauty of nut butters is that they contain all the benefits of whole nuts – protein, healthy fat, fibre, minerals – but in a much more convenient form. Let’s face it; it’s a lot easier to eat a tablespoon of almond butter than it is to eat a handful of raw almonds. Spread it, cook with it, or even eat it straight from the jar. We’re not judging you, we promise.

3) Steak

A good steak is a little pricier than most other protein sources, but the muscle building rewards make it more than worth the investment. Offering uch more than just protein, steak is loaded with iron and zinc, along with the amino acid L-Carnitine, which helps the body utilise testosterone to build muscle.

Don’t be afraid to choose a fattier cut either. Providing it’s grass fed, it will be packed with CLA, a potent fatty acid that helps to build muscle and slash body fat.

4) Coconut

Including coconut in your diet is one of the most efficient ways to bump up your calorie intake from a high quality, nutrient dense source.

It was only a few years ago that we were being advised to avoid saturated fats, but we now know just how beneficial they can be to boosting both health and performance. This holds especially true for lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconuts that is easily metabolised by the body for energy rather than being stored as fat.

coconut oil and fresh coconuts on old wooden table


One great way to use coconut is for cooking rice – instead of boiling it in water, use a can of coconut milk instead. Not only will it make it creamier and more delicious, it will also add an extra 400 calories to your meal without the need for any extra chewing!

5) White potatoes

Recent health trends have seen many people switch their regular spuds for the more coveted sweet potato, but is this really necessary? Whilst there’s certainly no denying the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, white potatoes are also an excellent addition to your diet – for one, they’re higher in iron, magnesium and potassium than their sweeter cousin.

White potatoes were a favourite of all the old school bodybuilders trying to gain size, and for good reason. They’re delicious and one of the best carbohydrate sources on the planet. Don’t be afraid to enjoy your fair share of spuds if you’re serious about building slabs of muscle.

6) White jasmine rice

The best time to take in high GI carbohydrates like white jasmine rice is after a workout, when the insulin spike can help accelerate the rate at which amino acids are shuttled into your muscle cells. Jasmine rice is delicious and incredibly easy to digest, making it the perfect mass building post workout carb source.

7) Sardines

Sardines are high in calories, but are also an excellent source of many important nutrients; including omega 3, to improve joint health and recovery, and vitamin D, to improve energy levels and boost the immune system. They’re also one of the few good non-dairy sources of calcium, which is great news for those that struggle with lactose. Sardines are cheap and surprisingly delicious – try them on a jacket potato for a delicious post workout meal.

Sandwich with sardines, sprats with parsley and dill


8) Whole chickens

Be honest – do you really enjoy eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts every day? Even the most perfectly cooked chicken breast just can’t compete with the satisfaction of tucking into a juicy, skin on, roasted whole chicken.

Not only are whole chickens tastier – they’re also better value, with the price of a whole free range chicken roughly the same as just two breasts. In other words, you’re getting the drumsticks, thighs, skin, and other tasty bits free of charge! The fattier meat and skin also provide a healthy serving of extra calories, too.

Top tip: Buy a large whole chicken, and portion it up for meals throughout the next few days. You’ll get loads for your money and save time, too!

9) Avocados

Is there anything that doesn’t taste better with a side of avocado? Not only will these delicious green fruits make the rest of your meals more enjoyable, they’ll also add a hefty serving of healthy fats and calories to every meal that you use them in. Mash four or five at a time with a little lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper to make an easy guacamole, store in the fridge, then add a big dollop to your meals as you go through the week. We bet you can’t make it to Wednesday before it’s all gone!



10) Hemp Seeds

This one may surprise you, but there’s a good reason why hemp is quickly becoming a favourite amongst bodybuilders across the globe. These tiny titans of nutrition are packed with essential recovery minerals iron and magnesium, and also boast a hefty 40% protein content! The best thing about hemp seeds is that they’re just so easy to use – sprinkle them on top of salads, soups, roasted veggies or grilled meat for a delicious, nutty flavoured topping.

The protein found in hemp seeds is a ‘globular’ protein, considered the most bioavailable to the human body. That means more of the amino acids in hemp get to work where you need them most – in the muscles!

Remember: muscle is broken down in the gym and built in the kitchen. Now get cooking!

10 facts about building muscle

When it comes to building lean muscle, you’ll find countless theories, techniques and testimonials. Whether the goal is upgraded health, aesthetics, performance, or a combo of all three, there is no scarcity of advice to help you get there. So much so that it can often become overly intricate and you forget about the basic ideals of building that enviable definition and muscle tone. Trust me, it’s simpler than it seems. As compiled from Men’s Fitness magazine, here are the facts about muscle building that you really need to know.


1. It takes protein

Protein is imperative to have with every meal because it builds and maintains those striking muscles you’re after. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight a day — less active people need less — and that should be spread out over five or six small meals. Don’t go overboard, though. Excess protein, especially from animal sources, has been linked to kidney stones.

2. Sleep is crucial

It’ll be an understatement to say that it’s uber difficult to build muscle without adequate sleep — seven hours a night, preferably eight. Sleep is when most of your hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, are released, allowing your body to recover and grow. Without adequate sleep, you’re sabotaging your efforts to build muscle, because without those hormones released, your muscles won’t respond to your workouts as well.


3. Yes, it also takes carbs

Protein will only be used to build muscle if you consume enough carbohydrate calories to provide your body with energy. Else, your body will tap into the protein for that fuel and you’ll end up losing muscle instead of building it. Carbs provide energy for muscle function and act as the fuel for the brain. But that doesn’t mean you down a bunch of fries! Opt for minimally processed carbs such as veggies, daal, oats and brown rice.

4. The foundation is key

The abs and biceps might gain more attention but the many little stabiliser muscles around your shoulders, hips, and midsection — collectively the core — provide a strong foundation. Challenging the stability and mobility of these key muscles with medicine balls, doing circuits, squats, lunges etc will surely give you huge paybacks.

5. Routine is the enemy

Training at a consistent time of day is a great thing, but having a routine workout is not since the body quickly adapts. Constantly challenge yourself by adding different movements. When you do turn to a familiar exercise, aim to improve on it by adding resistance or playing around with reps and sets.

6. Timing is important

At the end of your workout, your body is literally desperate for nutrients. The sooner you refuel the tank, the quicker your body will recover and your muscles will grow. One simple strategy is to place in your gym bag a post-workout recovery snack or a shaker bottle for your protein shake that you can consume immediately after the workout.


7. Water is essential

Sadly, we aren’t asking you to go swimming or scuba diving! Fact is, however you train, drinking sufficient amounts of water is essential to building lean muscles. Drinking enough water before, during, and after exercise can increase performance up to 25 per cent. Make it a habit to drink half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day to maintain hydration.

8. It’s not just about lifting dumbbells

You can build muscle from carrying heavy grocery bags, flipping tires, hauling buckets of water, doing push-ups and innumerable other ways. The best muscle-building exercises are those that mimic everyday movements. So if you don’t have a gym membership, don’t find excuses and get on your bedroom rug to squeeze in some push-ups.

9. The more muscles involved, the better

Why spend your time on an isolated exercise like a bicep curl or leg extension when you can get much more benefit from movements that pull in more of the body? Think in terms of rotational, chopping, and swinging movements that provide much more range of motion. That said, focus on total body workouts or assign days to cover each body part to get to your goal.

10. It takes intensity

Smartphones produce not-so-smart workouts. Don’t be the person in the gym playing with the phone for two minutes between sets. You’ll lose the focus and intensity required to build muscle. Better yet, don’t rest between sets. Superset with a pushing exercise, like a set of planks or crunches, followed immediately with a pulling exercise like a dumbbell row. You’ll produce better performance since the non-working muscles recover faster while their opposing muscles work.

How to gain muscle for skinny guys

I used to be skinny. Really skinny. In high school and up to my first year of college, I was a complete stick — until I made the decision in my freshman year that I needed to put some muscle on.

Eventually, by my senior year of college, I went from just “putting on muscle” to actually becoming a bodybuilder – standing on stage and posing 35 pounds of muscle above my original starting point.

If you were born skinny, you may not have the potential to gain the bulk of an NFL lineman, but it’s completely possible for a skinny guy to put on muscle. The bonus for you is that your body fat levels are naturally low, so when you do gain muscle, you’ll be able to achieve a very ripped look, which bigger, bulky guys often envy!

Here are seven things I learned from my own journey.


Normally, you can get from food all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need. But if you’re trying to put on significant size and you’re exercising at a level that is constantly stripping your body of fuel, you’ll need help from supplements.

For calories and upping your protein intake, a protein powder is important. If you don’t want the typical gut distress that comes from eating protein powders, don’t just settle for any version of protein powder. Try to choose one without added soy and corn, with no artificial sweeteners, and with added digestive aids such as digestive enzymes and probiotics.
Other supplements that can effectively help a skinny guy gain muscle are:

-Creatine: 0.3 g/kg bodyweight for 5-7 days followed by 5 g/day.

-Carnitine: 750 mg, 2,000 mg/day, in 2 doses.

-Citrulline: 6-8 g, 30-60 minutes before exercise.

-Beta-Alanine: 2-5 g, 30-60 minutes before exercise.

None of these supplements are a substitute for lifting frequently and lifting heavy, but they will certainly help to enhance results.

Eat Frequently

Strength training is very glycolytic, which means it burns a high amount of carbohydrates. Because of this, you shouldn’t go into any muscle building workout without having eaten about 300-600 calories of a carbohydrate-containing meal two to three hours prior. This meal can include sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or any other healthy carbohydrate source. If you eat another similar meal after your workout, you’ll be able to put on size more quickly, as your muscles will rapidly absorb the sugars more quickly after a workout.

In addition, timing your protein intake with several small 20-25-gram portions split up through the day will be far more effective for gaining muscle, compared to a giant protein shake at the beginning and end of the day.

Ultimately, a skinny guy trying to put on muscle should be aiming to consume a pre-workout meal, a post-workout meal and at least four to five additional meals. This may seem like a lot of eating and food, but this is what it takes to build significant muscle if you’re skinny.

10 Muscle Building Foods


1. Skinless Chicken: High in protein it is ideal for muscle repair and maintenance. It also helps you in weight management. The skin basically constitutes of all the fat, therefore when removed it cuts down large amounts of calories.

2. Cottage Cheese: Contains casein protein which being a slow digesting protein helps in muscle maintenance. Also a great source for Vitamin B12 and calcium.

3. Eggs: Contain high quality protein, it is ideal for muscle building. Also contains amino acids, choline and the right fat needed for the body.

4. Whey Protein: One of the best protein supplements that help you gain muscle mass at an affordable price. Can simply be consumed by adding them to whole foods. However one should not become entirely dependent on them.

5. Tuna Fish: Excellent for protein and low in fat, they serve as an amazing muscle building food. They contain omega-3 fatty acids that boost metabolism and help in proper functioning of the body along with weight loss.

6. Oatmeal: Perfect for carbs and low in glycemic index value, they help reduce cholesterol levels. They enhance the immune systems response to infection.

7. Brown Rice: These are considered to be whole grains that haven’t lost their fibre content. The fibre is what reduces the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. It is considered to benefit our nervous and reproductive systems. They help lose weight as they make the process of digestion very easy.

8. Spinach: It is a rich source of glutamine , the amino acid that increases muscle strength and endurance.

9. Cantaloupe: Popularly known as musk melon. This melon counts for one of the very fast digesting carbs due to its low fructose content. Recommended to be eaten post workout for its ability to induce energy.

10. Beetroot: The nitrates present in beetroot convert into nitric oxide which is responsible for improved heart health and muscle strength. Beets contains anti- oxidants that help reduce blood pressure and reduce inflammation.