How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk

How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk

Get up!

Text: Yeong Sassall

Stuck at a desk all day? Nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach Nik Toth shares

A survey conducted by Medibank found that the majority of office based employees spend 77% of their working day sitting, with many of these employees spending much of their days off sedentary as well. You've probably heard this before, but it's true that 'sitting is the new smoking' with research linking long periods of sitting to numerous health concerns including increased blood pressure, blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels and of course, obesity.

While some office spaces are putting in options to allow employees to move around more freely, from stand up and treadmill desks, to coproate fitness classes, unfortunately this is not yet the norm for many businesses. Having said that, there are still a few things you can do to help boost your metabolism and burn fat... even if you are desk bound.

How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk (фото 1)

Exercise daily
Did you know that strength training can increase your metabolic rate? In fact, some studies have shown that people who lift weights can reap the benefits of a calorie burn for up to 38 hours after they have completed their session.

Make sure you are completing 3-4 resistance sessions per week to reap the benefits and get the fat burn going. Better still, do your resistance training in the morning to get that calorie burn happening before you even start your day.

Do as much incidental exercise as possible
Whether it be walking to work (or to public transport) or taking the stairs instead of the lift, try to take every opportunity possible to move. Incidental exercise may not produce massive results when it comes to changing your body, but it is a great habit to get into and a good place to start.

Drink plenty of water
This is an obvious one, but you would be surprised at how many people overlook it. You should be drinking at least 30mL of water per kilo of your bodyweight PLUS an additional 500mL of water for each hour of exercise that you do. 

Why? Because dehydration can make your muscles cramp and it will also make detoxification impossible. If detoxification is impossible, then so is fat loss.

How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk (фото 2)

Eat more protein
Protein raises your metabolic rate by 30 per cent because your body has to work harder to 
digest it. Try to eat smaller, protein rich meals every 3 hours to help turn your body into a fat burning machine. Good protein rich foods include beans (lentils, chickpeas), quinoa, lean meats, tofu and tempeh to name a few.

Additional tips and tricks:

  • Get up every hour
    It's important for your digestion, your muscles and your mental health to move. In fact, after just 20 minutes of sitting our blood sugar and insulin levels can rise so we should really be getting up every 30 mins, even if it's just walking up to walk to the water bubbler. Better still, if you can get a stand up or treadmill desk, I highly advise it.
  • Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum
    Alcohol will slow your metabolism for 72 hours post drinking. There is no grey area here, choose water.


  • Stretch at night
  • How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk (фото 3)
  • Tight hips and weak glutes are a common complaint from the deskbound, as are sore shoulders, neck and back as a result of hunching. Make sure you stretch out in the evening to try to reduce the negative side effects of sitting all day.

  • Increase Your Omega-3s
    Studies show that those who are low or deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids are more prone to depression. Furthermore, research has also found that Omega-3 fats change brain activity levels too. Consuming these healthy fats are not only essential for our minds, but they are also great for keeping us fit as they can help you burn more body fat, as well as improve your mood, skin, and reduce inflammation in the body.

  • Nik Toth's Lean Body Formula was created from Nik's own personal experience with serial dieting and subsequent weight gain. Now a qualified holistic nutritinist, personal trainer and soon-to-be yoga instructor,  she has since has helped transform thousands of women's bodies and their relationship with food.

  • Nik will be hosting her first Women's Healing and Yoga retreat this October 23-28 in Ubud, Bali. Visit for details.

How to burn more calories while sitting at your desk (фото 4)

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