Knowing where to begin when it comes to fitness and weight loss can be tough. Weight loss is a complex thing, just exercising can’t get you where you want to go. Combining a good exercise routine with a healthy, well-balanced diet is going to show you the best results. You have to give your body the fuel it needs to burn the fat and build the muscle.
There are lots of workout plans out there, and honestly there are lots of them out there that work. What is important is finding one that you enjoy and pushes you towards your goal. These are some of the best exercises for weight loss today.
Seriously underrated. Walking is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine regardless of your fitness level. If you are new to weight loss walking is a phenomenal starting point. You don’t need any special skills, equipment or knowledge and it is easier on your body than other vigorous exercises.
While the average person takes 3,000-4,000 steps a day, ideally you want to get in at least 10,000. Now that may seem like a lot but if you’re not anywhere close to that don’t worry. Change takes time and you don’t want to push yourself so hard to where you’re unhappy. Start off slow and add 1,000 steps a day to your average now. You can stick with that for a week or two and then add more steps.
Some may feel overwhelmed or asking “Where am I going to find the time?”. I believe in moderation. Take away at this number of steps little by little throughout the day. Go for a 10-minute walk after each meal you have. Go for a warm up walk before you workout, and another cool down walk afterwards. If you have breaks at work walk around the office. Go with some friends before or after work and walk around the neighborhood or local trails. I love to go hiking and be in nature, maybe you’ll love it too!
2. Jogging and Running
Jogging and/or running are just as easy to incorporate into your routine. Starting out you should try to go for 20-30 minutes of activity at least three times a week.
There are lots of options for running as well. Your local gym may have a track to run at, or a local school’s outdoor track is usually open to the public given it’s not being used by student athletes. Treadmills can be designed to be easier on your joints, as well as running on grass, if that is a concern for you. But if those all aren’t to your liking then you can always make your own path. Running trails, or routes through your town. Maybe you’ll discover something new, a shop or restaurant. Who knows? The discovery is yours for the taking.
I am a fan of interval training when it comes to weight loss. It is a great starting point if you’re wanting to push yourself and become stronger. The weight loss aspect of it is awesome because interval training really helps raise your metabolism. Your metabolism is how many calories your body burns at rest and during activity. So, if you have a high metabolism you’re going to burn more calories while you’re resting and working out. While if it’s low then you’re not burning as many calories and will have to watch your calorie intake to avoid becoming over weight.
Interval training involves a short period of intensity followed by a longer period of recovery. For example, you could run or sprint for one minute and then slow down to a jog for two minutes and then repeat this. If you’re first starting out and are struggling it’s okay to jog and walk too.
I would start out with some nice stretches and a quick jog to get your body warmed up and then try these:
High intensity (sprint/jog)- 30 seconds
Rest pace (jog/walk)- 1 minute
High intensity (sprint/jog)- 1 minute
Rest pace (jog/walk)- 2 minutes
And then try going for about 20 minutes. It is okay to start off with a walk/jog pace for the first one and then work your way up to a jog/sprint speed. Then once you’re comfortable move on to the second. However, your body will work harder and burn calories the faster you run. So while it is great to start out where you’re comfortable don’t forget to push yourself a little.
3. Biking or Cycling
Cycling is another great exercise for all levels of fitness. It is easy on the joints and can be done almost everywhere! If you have a bike at home you can go for rides outdoors and maybe even to and from work. It would be a great way to save you some gas money or other transportation costs and you’d be getting in a nice little work out.
Most gyms also have stationary bikes for you to enjoy as well. It may also be fun for you to join a fitness class. Lots of gyms have group cycling classes. Don’t be shy to try new things, you may end up loving it!
4. Weight Training
This may seem intimidating for some, it definitely was for me. But now I love it and it’s my favorite way to work out. There are so many options and ways for you to work on your body this way. You can really target specific areas of your body that you want to work out. It is a great way to lose weight and build some muscles.
I was always told that “low weights and high reps are better for weight loss”. If you’re going to try lifting weights it is important to always push yourself. Lifting low weights won’t give you the results you’re probably looking for. Lifting low weights will have to be combined with something else, such as a HIIT workout to achieve the best results. Lifting heavier weights will help you build muscle while losing fat.
Now I don’t mean you have to kill yourself in the gym with crazy weights, but enough to feel like you’re working for it. Remember that it is okay to fail in the gym. When I first started my form was awful, I was uncoordinated and self-conscious that I couldn’t lift certain weights that I thought I would be able too. Don’t get discouraged. You really have to keep pushing yourself. You will be surprised at how quickly your body will start to feel more comfortable with lifting.
5. HIIT Workouts
HIIT or High-Intensity Interval training are short periods of exercise, typically 10-30 minutes where you really go hard for short periods of time, then rest and repeat. Same as my example above in the running/jogging section. They can really work anywhere and with all kinds of workouts. They have become very popular today because they can burn lots of calories in short amounts of time. Which is great if you have a really busy schedule and need to cram in a workout.
You can do them on your own while running, cycling, and weight training or if you prefer guidance there is a booming business out there. Anywhere from classes at your gym or programs you can buy and follow along digitally. The experience is what you make of it.
Swimming can be a relaxing exercise and can also be a really tough work out. It works your whole body and can be easier on your joints than running. So if you’re looking for some great cardio, go find a bathing suit.
It is important to push yourself while in the water. It can be easy to relax and take a leisurely swim but if weight loss is what you’re after then try to speed up your pace. Starting out try swimming for 15-20 minutes. Different strokes can also be more demanding and burn more calories than others. The butterfly stroke is going to work you hard but you will burn more calories. The breaststroke is a great second.
Yoga has become extremely popular in the recent years and has so many benefits. Yoga can help to increase your flexibility, relieve stress, help with breathing, and even stem unhealthy habits such as over eating. It helps you to become more aware of your self not just in your mind but in tune with your body’s signals. These signals can be related to effects from stress, and hunger signals which in turn can help you from over eating and developing healthier eating habits. It is definitely worth a try!
Pilates is a great workout for beginners, but it can sometimes be confused with yoga. The differences are that yoga is meant to improve flexibility while linking the mind, body and spirit. Pilates is similar however it focuses more so on relaxing tense muscles and building strength. You can try Pilates at a class or at home.
Oh, crossfit. If you’ve never been to a crossfit gym or class. It. Is. Tough. But effective. Crossfit is similar to HIIT but it combines weightlifting, cardio and body weight exercises. Going to these classes can be intimidating but remember to pace yourself and find a class with a great coach that knows his/her stuff.
You will definitely be pushing yourself but the results will be worth it. I don’t mean to scare you and you really shouldn’t be. I just want to make sure that you know this one can be tougher than the ones listed before. But you shouldn’t be discouraged. You may be sore after the first few days but I say, always go into something with open eyes. Of course, you’re probably not going to be great, but it’s day 1 and most people who try something new aren’t great at it anyway. Strength and skill comes with time and experience.
The extreme HIIT workout. If you’re really crunched for time then here you go, perfect exercise. This exercise typically only lasts about four minutes… That’s right. Four minutes. It involves an alteration of 20 second, super high intensity effort followed by a 10-second rest. It is meant to be done with just one type of exercise. Lunges, squats, push-ups, mountain climbers, and literally anything else you would like.
We’ll take mountain climbers for example. In a tabata workout you would go as hard as you possibly can. As many mountain climbers as you can do as fast you can do them in a 20-second time frame. Rest for 10 seconds and then do it all over again for four minutes. If you’re not tired after that then you have definitely done something wrong.
At the End of the Day
You know your goals and what will make you happy. Always stay safe, have fun, and enjoy the process because it doesn’t have to be as big a battle as it sometimes feels. Remember to eat healthy as well. Good food will change your life, I promise. It will make you stronger physically and mentally. You will feel so good about yourself. The bottom line is to try new things, find something you love and switch it up. Go have an amazing day!