Exercises for Losing Weight & Lifetime Fitness

In pursuing exercises for losing weight, you are looking beyond dieting and reducing calories and really pumping up the volume on getting your body into a fat burning machine!

There are loads of exercises you can do at home, so you don't need to spend lots of gym memberships or exercise equipment. One or two well-chosen pieces will can give you a good all-round work out.

The more weight you want to lose then the greater the calories deficit you need to create. Yet, if you cut down calories with diet alone, your body goes into starvation mode, your metabolism drops, you lose energy and you burn less anyhow! So counting calories is really important so you can work out your calorie balance - you need an overall deficit for fat loss - as well as the right exercises for losing weight.

See Best Way to Lose Weight for a revision on all that ...

There's only so many calories you cut down in your diet without your body going into starvation mode or you going crazy with hunger!!!

So to achieve a greater calorie deficit means EXERCISE!

Regular exercises for losing weight should be linked to your efforts with a healthy balanced diet - see Healthy Eating Guidelines for help with planning.

Doing the two things together is the best way to work off that fat, and achieve and keep your ideal weight. There's a lot of talk about cardiovascular or CV workouts versus strength training exercises for losing weight.

So let's explore here what works best for burning calories and fat loss.

We'll also take a tour of some great abdominal exercises for tackling that stubborn belly fat!

It's true to say that your goal for exercises for losing weight is to train your body to be an efficient fat burner, so you can have your cake and eat it! To be an efficient fat burner you need to increase the amount of muscle in your body - your 'muscle density' - because it's the muscles that burn calorieswhen they are doing 'work'. When the muscles are super efficient at burning fat, that's when quicker weight loss is possible.

Coupled with some of the tips on my Lose Fat page ...

here are the best exercises for losing weight that you should combine in some way into your weekly regime, 2, 3 or 4-5 times a week.

First some quick exercise tips:




Weight Lifting or Resistance Training
I'm not suggesting you go body building here! Your metabolism and the number of calories you burn during your workout and at rest depends on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

To maintain or build muscle tissue, you should aim to start some resistance training. This means using your muscles in repetitive exercises, such as bicep curl or shoulder press.

However, you can also build muscle using your own body weight (e.g. press-ups), resistance bands, medicine balls, or training in water, sand or uphills for resistance. (You've probably seen people do this in the swimming pool, as it has very low impact on the old bones and joints!)

Here's some little known and simple techniques for exercising the five major muscle groups.

Compound Training

Compound training is similar to resistance training, except you don't rest between sets of repeat exercises - you switch muscle groups but keep working out. This gives your muscles more strength.

For example, during your resistance training complete one set of bicep curls followed immediately by one set of leg curls followed by another set of bicep curls, completing two sets for each of your muscle groups. You should aim to keep this going for around 20 minutes, because it keeps your heart rate up throughout your workout.

Cardiovascular or Aerobic Exercise

To burn fat, your body needs oxygen - this is why cardiovascular training relies on steady breathing for fat burning. Include at least 30 minutes, preferably 45 minutes of varied aerobic activity at least 2-3 times a week.

If it's too hard to find or make that chunk of time, just build up smaller short bursts of aerobic exercise - 20 minutes of the cross trainer or rower (if you have one at home) or a brisk walk round the block for 15 minutes.

High Impact Workouts
The quickest weight loss and exercise combo is highly intensive aerobic workouts. This will burn more calories than a more gentle, lower intensity workout. However, you might not enjoy it as much - so it's better to do an hour of something enjoyable than half an hour of pure hell!

By way of example, it stands to reason that jogging will use more energy than walking the same distance, but you can get your exercise regime done quicker! There is also a fair amount of research evidence around that indicates that it is the higher intensity training that produces the greatest post-exercise energy expenditure and fat utilization. To clarify: your body carries on burning calories and fat hours after you stop exercising!!!

Interval Training or Circuit Training

This is a technique for mixing things up and can really boost your fat loss during exercise. In the same workout, switch between short periods of low intensity and high intensity exercises.

For example, if your routine is 30 mins on the treadmill, alternate 2 mins running with 2 minutes fast walking or 3 minutes running with 1 minute walking - and repeat this throughout the session.

Fat Loss Circuit Training

Ok, so let's close for now. Here's a bit of homework ...

Consider what exercises for losing weight would suit you best and when you will do them.

Spend a few minutes thinking about the following, jot down your answers, then make a plan of action:

1. how much exercise you currently do and need to do

2. what kind of active things or training you like to do

3. how much time you can spend doing it each day or each week

4. which days and times would work out best

5. who might do the exercises or training with you (keep you motivated and turning up!)

Developing an exercise routine and fitness action plan is a way to help you not only lose weight and burn fat, but also to improve your health related fitness and lifetime fitness. Oh, and it'll give you tonnes of energy too!

Have fun!

More articles on weight loss tips

Written by