As a fitness professional, I often am asked about the best exercises to lose weight. The honest answer is that there are no magic exercises or special workouts that are much more effective than others in weight loss.
We all want quick fixes, even us fitness professionals, but the reality is that shedding pounds is a challenge. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some tips to follow; here are some important points to remember when it comes to exercises to lose weight.
Exercise to Lose Weight
- Cardio is necessary to burn calories in your target heart rate zone for 4-5 days weekly for 30-60 minutes each session. Weight bearing exercises typically burns more calories than seated workouts.
- Interval training, which incorporates periodic short bursts of higher intensity during cardio sessions, helps burn more calories during workouts and after recovery.
- Cardio habits are fine, but varying modalities (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, lateral trainers, etc.) throughout an exercise regimen adds challenge and leads to greater conditioning and results.
- Strength training 2-4 times weekly is essential to build muscle and boost metabolism. Work the major muscle groups using selectorized machines, plate-loaded machines, free weights, kettlebells, resistance tubing or body weight.
- There is no such thing as spot reducing, so incorporate a variety of exercises that together will target all areas of the body, rather than just repeat the same movements over and over. 100 crunches a day won’t give you flat abs if you have a layer of subcutaneous fat over the rectus abdominus. You have to burn the fat first and then build muscle through multiple exercises.
While exercise is critical to lose weight, you must also reduce calorie intake by limiting portions and choosing lower calorie foods. Combining a low-calorie diet with consistent exercise leads to a caloric deficit that will prompt weight loss over time.
And remember, every little bit adds up. Stand when you can sit; fidget; take the stairs; walk instead of drive (or email or call); do some squats, lunges and pushups when watching TV, and more. No exercise is wasted!