Burn calories doing nothing! Lose weight while you sleep! No, you haven't tuned in to a late-night infomercial. This dream is a reality. Here's the trick: Exercise vigorously in the morning and you'll burn more calories than usual for the rest of the day, and then some.
That's what happened to a group of average Joes (not trained athletes) in one study. They alternated resting one day with cycling vigorously for 45 minutes the next. The intense exercise boosted their resting metabolism so much that they burned almost 200 more calories than normal during the next 14 hours -- even while they slept. That's a 37% bonus on top of the calories they'd pedaled off.
It's as if you get the calorie blast of working out one-third longer when all you're actually doing is watching American Idol. Sweet.
How vigorous does your workout have to be? The cyclers hit 85% of their maximum heart rate, which is the high end of target heart rate for exercise and will work up a serious sweat. (To calculate your rate, subtract your age from 220 for men; 208 minus 82% of your calendar age for women; 85% of that maximum is your target heart rate.)
Too intense? Try this. Slip several short bursts of speed into your walk, swim, or bike ride. It'll give you a nice calorie-burning boost during your workout and for a while afterward. To make it easier, join a class, or work out with a supportive pal. Kick it up a notch together, and watch the pounds melt away. Yep, even while you sleep.