By Diana Sanchez, Staff Writer
What are the best workouts for weight loss? That’s such a good question that I will try to answer here, with one caveat. Consistency is key with weight loss. You can’t eat healthy one day a week and expect to lose a lot of weight with that strategy. If you eat healthier consistently however, you will see weight loss results. The same goes for exercise. It’s important to be consistent.
I did CrossFit for about a year in my mid-20’s. Did I look amazing? Yes (I think so, anyway). Did I feel good? Absolutely. Did I love it? No. NO. Not even a little bit. It was, and I am not exaggerating here, the literal worst. Of course, that comes down to personal preference. There are many people out there, I am sure, who do love CrossFit. But I didn’t. I struggled to be consistent (actually, the only reason I kept going was because I’d purchased a membership and CrossFit is not cheap, my friends.)
Find a Workout You Enjoy
That leads me to my first point here. If you want to lose weight, you have to practice consistency. (This gets easier once the weight starts coming off, too. There is nothing more motivating than results.) It is tough to be consistent when you are hating every minute of your workout. Use the information below as a guide, but don’t choose something you know you will truly dislike if you really want to make progress in your journey to a healthier lifestyle. At the same time, if you’re completely new to implementing daily exercise into your lifestyle, be willing to try out new things to find out what works for you. Allow time for adjustment, and give new workouts at least two weeks to a month before deciding to try something different.
So what workouts are the best for weight loss?
Consider Your Fitness Level
Your current fitness level will affect what the best workout for you might be. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter where you are starting - be proud of yourself for making a positive change. Where you are is not as important as where you are going.
If you are really out of shape, there is truly no better exercise than walking. I love to start my day with a fast walk, either outdoors or on a treadmill. I’m fairly fit at this point in my life but anytime I find myself wanting to lose weight, I add a daily walking session to my day and it really helps. It’s not high intensity so it’s easy to do it every day (and it pairs well with my HIIT workouts!). If you have the time, I highly recommend building up to doing 2 or 3 35-minute walking workouts to your day. You can do one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening after dinner. It’ll keep your metabolism revved up and going all day long. I do this every year in the spring or early summer to get rid of those pesky winter pounds I tend to gain. Works like a charm every time! And it’s so much easier to find 30-minute blocks in your day, rather than carving out an hour and half for workouts all at once.
As walking gets easier for you, there are ways to make the workout a little more challenging. You can use ankle weights, for instance, or, if you are on a treadmill, you can start adjusting the incline and gradually increase the incline to get your heart pumping.
Yoga. I love, love, love yoga. It’s great for achieving mental clarity and relaxing your body and mind. It’s also great for beginners because it will really help you stretch your body and improve your flexibility. There are different levels of yoga, so make sure to practice gentle yoga to begin with. Check out these videos, if you are interested.
When you build muscle, your body burns fat all day long. Interested? You should be! The best duo for weight loss is cardio paired with weight lifting sessions thrown in. It doesn’t matter if you start off with 3 lb weights. Gradually increase your weights by 10% once your current weight starts to feel too easy. You will thank yourself later.
If you’re not totally new to working out, the following workouts will work great for weight loss.
Jogging is just a step up from walking, so if you’ve already done the walking bit and feel ready for something a little more challenging, or if you’re in fairly decent shape already and want to boost your weight loss, jogging is the perfect place to start. Consider using a free app, like C25K on your phone to get you started. Read more about how to get started running here.
If you’re at an intermediate level of fitness and want to see some serious fat burn, HIIT workouts are perfect for you. HIIT workouts are intense interval workouts, typically about 35 minutes long, consisting of heart-racing moves like burpees, commandos, mountain climbers, and jump squats. Find out where you can get HIIT workouts here.
If you’re already super fit but want to change things up to get your weight loss going, here are some suggestions for you.
If you’re already very fit and want to try something new, there are few workouts that are better than running. Running will tone your whole body and really help you lose serious weight. Start off small, by running just a few minutes at a time, and gradually increase your time running every week. You might even be running a marathon before you know it!
Advanced HIIT, Yoga, and Weightlifting
These three workouts come in different levels of ability so if you’re already at an advanced level of fitness you can tackle these three workouts at levels that are challenging (but doable) for you.
The most challenging yoga class I ever took was hot yoga - with weights. It was a blast!
To recap, find a workout that you enjoy and that you will be consistent with. As long as you’re moving, it works! It’s so easy to focus on our flaws and where we fall short, but don’t forget to celebrate your achievements on your journey to a healthier you. Be proud of you. I’m proud of you!
What workouts have you noticed were especially helpful to you for weight loss?