The Non-Expert

Lose 15 Lbs. in 20 Minutes a Day!

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we give advice on nutrition and exercise, topics we know everything about.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


Question: Which equipment-free exercises will get me to drop about 15 pounds and a few inches from my midsection in 20 minutes or less a day? I’m a relatively active 32-year old man whose metabolism just slowed significantly and I hate running.

Answer: Milo of Croton, a legendary Greek wrestler from the 6th century B.C., is said to have developed his thunderous strength by shouldering a calf every day until it was a bull. There’s also an old story about a poor, overweight man who lost 100 lbs. by lugging water buckets around his basement, filling them higher and higher, week after week, and eventually replacing the water with stones. These are unconventional approaches, to be sure, yet the fundamental lesson is clear: if you have access to bulls and buckets, you’ve already won half the battle.

You need to understand a few facts about weight loss. Eating right will help you lose weight. So will exercise. Doing both together (though never simultaneously) produces the best results. To lose one pound of fat, you need to burn about 3,500 calories—aside from those needed to maintain your current weight. Let’s say you eat 3,000 calories a day and weigh a steady 200 lbs. If you cut back to 2,700 calories a day, the loss is equal to:

  • 300 calories per day
  • 2,100 calories per week
  • 109,500 calories per year

At the end of a year, you’ll have lost 30 lbs. by cutting out the daily equivalent of a Snickers bar. Lose an additional 200 calories a day with exercise and you could lose 15 lbs. in 15 weeks—a pound a week. Not bad for 20 minutes of daily exercise and a barely noticeable calorie reduction.

Ordinary activities will burn a surprising number of calories. Fifteen minutes of lawn mowing, for example, burns 100 calories. But if you hope to burn at least 200 calories a day without resorting to running or traditional equipment-based exercises, you’ll need to multitask. Here are 5 amazing 20-minute combos that’ll have you down a belt size in no time! Get pumped!

Raking Leaves Uphill with a 10 Lbs. Load on Your Back

Calories Burned: 300

Description: Strap a small cinder block onto your back using ordinary rope and grab a rake. Take a breath of fresh, autumn air. It’s great to be outside! Clearing a single leafy hill is a terrific way to burn fat and beautify the neighborhood…just don’t forget the twist ties!

Playing the Flute During Sexual Intercourse

Calories Burned: 200

Description: Imagine how surprised your lover will be when you begin to play ‘Greensleeves’ during coitus. Everybody knows that strenuous sex is fun, easy, and good for your health, but so is flute-playing. You’ll be wondering why you never put the two together before!

Hunting on a Golf Course

Calories Burned: 200

Description: Exercise ought to be fun. And though it’s good to push yourself from time to time, you want to avoid activities that are too difficult—or too dull. Aging golfers make easy targets, and there are plenty to go around. If you don’t want to find yourself exercising in prison, use a paint gun…or aim low!

Gulping Cold Water During Vigorous Swimming

Calories Burned: 300

Description: When you swallow ice cold water, you expend energy heating it up to body temperature. Drinking 8 cups of cold water burns 67 calories, but filling and refilling cups can be a chore. Leap into an icy ocean, pond, or swimming pool and start flailing. Keep your mouth open! Don’t let that ‘bloated feeling’ fool you. All the water flooding into your stomach and lungs will actually help you lose weight in the long run!

Square Dancing While Stacking Wood

Calories Burned: 350

Description: Working out with a partner can keep you motivated, but stacking wood has never been a couples activity—until now. Grab your partner, grab some wood! Workin’ out now, and workin’ good! Stack it low, stack it high! Wave to your partner, don’t be shy! Stack those logs, and stack ‘em neat—then clap your hands and stamp your feet!