10 of the Best Workouts for Weight Loss

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10 of the Best Workouts for Weight Loss

Before we get into the best workouts for weight loss and how to use exercise as a tool in your weight loss journey, let’s make two things clear. First, there are a huge number of reasons to work out that have absolutely nothing to do with losing weight. From mental health benefits to better sleep to boosted immunity, regular exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t have to be about losing weight, and for a huge number of people, it isn’t.

And that brings us to the second thing: If your goal is to lose weight, you should know that working out isn’t enough on its own to actually make that happen. There’s so much else that goes into weight loss and body fat loss; in fact, exercise isn’t even technically necessary to lose weight for most people. We wouldn’t ever recommend a weight loss regimen that doesn’t include exercise, though, because exercise is good for you and it’s a healthy way to live. And on that note, even if you are doing everything “right” — working out regularly, eating appropriately — lifestyle habits like sleep and stress, and health conditions (think thyroid issues, to name just one of many) can get in the way of your weight loss efforts. Weight loss is an extremely personal journey that doesn’t look or work the exact same way from one person to the next.

With those disclaimers out of the way, however, it’s also true that there are certain exercises and workouts that can be particularly useful in helping you lose weight or burn fat or change your body composition as you please (and, on that token, there are certain mistakes you might be making in your exercise routines that can get in the way of your weight loss goals). The best workouts for weight loss, as we explore below, all have certain elements in common: They’re generally high-intensity and they burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

1. Your food choices — how you fuel your body — are even more important than your workout choices. I covered this above, but it’s worth reiterating: healthy eating habits are even more important than your exercise routine if your goal is to see permanent changes on the scale. Here are 27 tips from registered dietitians on how to eat healthier this year.

2. Exercise should become part of your routine in a meaningful way. In order to see results, hitting the elliptical for 30 minutes while you catch up with the Kardashians once a week just isn’t going to cut it. Instead, aim for three workouts if you’re just getting into a routine again, or five to six sessions if you’ve been at it for a while, says Holly Rilinger, a master Flywheel instructor and star of Bravo’s “Work Out New York.” “And keep in mind that rest is key to reset mentally, physically, and emotionally, so make sure to build in at least one full rest day.”

3. You’ll need to really push yourself in every workout you do. It’s kind of a big deal that you bring your A-game to each and every workout. “I’d rather see you do balls-to-the-wall workouts three times a week than see you give 50 percent for five days,” says Rilinger. “Decide when you walk through that door you are going to give it 100 percent the entire time, and check in throughout your workout with one simple question: Can I give more?”

4. You’ll need to find a workout you genuinely enjoy if you have any hope of sticking with it.“Finding a trainer or workout that makes you happy is actually really important to weight loss,” says Rilinger. When you enjoy doing it you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Below are 10 workouts that will help you reach your weight loss goal. If you’ve tried one of the classes here and there and didn’t really love it, don’t give up on the sport or practice altogether. You may not have found an instructor you love yet, and that can make or break your goals.

THE WORKOUTS

1. Interval Training

The number one training method the experts turn to again and again for weight loss: interval training. What’s that? “Any form of exercise where your heart rate spikes and then comes down repeatedly,” says Rilinger. This type of training keeps your heart rate elevated, which in turn keeps your metabolism humming. When that’s happening, you burn more calories.

One of the many styles of interval training is indoor cycling, though this workout leans heavily toward cardio over strength training, Rilinger explains. She also notes that cycling requires you to use various muscles in your body — quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core, for starters — which once again translates to weight loss. “The more muscles you have to incorporate, the more calories you’re going to burn because those muscles all require energy in order to work,” she says. “And the more energy you use, the higher those calorie-burning numbers climb. It’s all a cycle.”

Try it: Here are 4 fat-burning stationary bike workouts that you might like. If you’re more of a treadmill person, this 20-minute treadmill interval workout will kick your butt in the best way. And if you want to skip the equipment altogether, this 10-minute lower body bodyweight interval workout is a good place to start.

2. Weight Training

“Do you even lift?” “You mean chocolate dumbbells, right?” #regram from @evachen212

A photo posted by SELF Magazine (@selfmagazine) on

Consider weight training “the mother of all weight-loss techniques, the highest in the workout food chain, the top of the totem pole,” says Rilinger. Resistance training, whether it’s with your bodyweight alone or with added weights, is an effective method to help you drop pounds, if that’s your goal. Lifting weights has been shown to increase your resting metabolic rate, which means you’ll continue to burn calories even after you finish working out. It’s called the “afterburn effect,” and you can read all about it here. Rilinger suggests adding weight training to your routine at least three times a week. And since your body adjusts to workouts after being exposed to the same moves at the same intensity, becoming less effective over time, she says to mix it up about every three weeks to keep your body guessing.

Try it: First, if you’ve never done it before, be sure to read these strength training tips for beginners before you get started. And check out this primer on how to choose the right weights for your workout.

Now here’s a quick 10-minute total-body dumbbell workout and another 10-minute living room dumbbell workout to get you started. Here’s a 20-minute strength workout for when you have a bit more time. (Just be sure to use actual dumbbells, not the adorable dessert dumbbells above.) Here’s some info about how to superset at the gym. And if you’re going to use kettlebells and barbells in your strength workout routine, be sure to work with a personal trainer to make sure you’re using proper form. You’ve got this!

3. Boot Camp

For a workout that’s going to keep your metabolism elevated all day, turn to boot camp, as these classes (think Barry’s Bootcamp) combine two of the most effective styles of training: interval and resistance. “You’ll perform exercises, some more cardio-focused and others strength-focused, full-out for short bursts of time, coupled with short periods of rest,” says Adam Rosante, certified personal trainer and author of “The 30-Second Body.” But if it’s your first time giving it a go, speak up. He says a good instructor will help you determine when you need to crank up the weight or intensity (tip: if you can cruise through 10 reps without any trouble, it’s too easy), keep your form on par, and can always provide a modification for any move that might be too tough or irritates an injury. If you can’t make it to a studio, though, you can virtually sweat it out with Rosante in his 20-minute C9 Challenge, or try this bodyweight-only 16-minute routine.

4. Boxing

@fizzle_28

A video posted by elliegoulding (@elliegoulding) on

“At its essence, boxing is really another form of interval training,” explains Rosante. But it also makes you feel insanely badass. Here’s the trick to remember: it’s a common mistake for beginners to punch using only their arm strength, but the majority of your power is going to come from your core and you’ll use muscles that are typically ignored in other workouts (hey there, obliques).

It’s best to log this type of workout in a class, as Rosante says it’s crucial for beginners to learn proper form from an instructor who can help keep your intensity level high. Here are 15 boxing gyms worth visiting. But if you want to brush up on your skills at home, try this beginner-friendly video from Milan Costich, founder of Prevail boxing gym in Los Angeles.

5. Running

All you need is a pair of sneakers before you head out the door. But if weight loss is the name of your game, the lackadaisical head-out-for-a-light-jog style of running isn’t the way to go. Instead, find a hill you can sprint up, or crank the incline on that treadmill. “Running up hills forces you to work your glutes and legs — two of your body’s biggest muscle groups — even more, which requires smaller muscle recruitment and more energy expenditure,” explains Rosante. As noted earlier, the more energy you’re using, the brighter that calorie-burning fire burns. But proper form here is key. “Lean into the hill, and drive your knees as high as you can, striking the ball of each foot down directly under your body,” he says. “Keep your hands open and arms bent at 90 degrees, and drive your arms straight forward up to face level, then backward to the top of your back pocket.” And try not to let your arms cross over your body — that’ll just waste the precious energy your muscles need. If you’re training indoors, here are a few fat-burning treadmill routines to get you started.

Try it: You can do these 4 fat-burning workouts on a treadmill. Or you can take them outside if you’d like — for incline work, just fine a good hill.

6. CrossFit

There’s a reason CrossFit has become such a booming part of the workout industry — it works, so long as you don’t overdo it. Workouts are varied — you may be doing anything from kettlebell swings to rope climbs and box jumps to front squats — and the routines are designed to be short and intense. The most important thing to find when looking for the box (CrossFit slang for “gym”) that fits you best: a well-informed coach who can explain and modify the moves, and make sure that you don’t push yourself to the point of injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind before every WOD, and here are 11 of the best CrossFit gyms in America.

7. Tabata

If your biggest excuse for skipping a workout is being crunched for time, Tabata is your dream come true. It’s designed to be four minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times, explains Shanon Squires, an exercise physiologist and human performance lab coordinator at Colorado University Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. And you can use this protocol with different exercises, including the battle rope slams above. You’ll spike your metabolism and heart rate in four minutes, but Squires warns against making this time frame a habit if you’re trying to lose weight. “Your body will quickly adapt to that interval, and you’ll need to increase the volume or intensity to continue getting a benefit from it,” he says. To do that, Rosante suggests extending your session to 20 minutes and following the same format. Simply pick four exercises — think jump rope, squats, mountain climbers and squat jumps — then do each for 20 seconds as hard and fast as you can (while maintaining proper form, of course), then recovering for 10 seconds and 10 seconds only. Repeat for eight rounds on that one move (so, four minutes of work) before resting for one minute and moving on to the next exercise.

Try it: Here’s a 4-minute Tabata you might want to try.

8. Yoga

OK, so yoga alone isn’t a great workout for weight loss. But Rilinger says it can be a secret weapon in your weight loss arsenal because it keeps you flexible and healthy for your other, more intense workouts (like that boot camp class). But that’s not all. “Yoga requires balance and stability, which promotes functional strength, and it helps our mental health,” she says. Aim to squeeze it in at least once a week. And if you can’t make it to the studio, there are plenty of flows you can do at home.

Try it: Here’s a yoga flow sequence for stronger abs. Here’s one to help you wake up in the morning. And here’s a yoga workout for arms.

9. Swimming

Stretch your boundaries.

A photo posted by Speedo USA (@speedousa) on

If you can’t stand the thought of running, or just want to work out without a ton of pounding on your joints, do a few laps in the pool. Rosante says you can burn over 750 calories in an hour of swimming and you’ll work all of your major muscle groups. As with most workouts, it helps to go in with a plan. Try this one, from Rosante: Tread water for as long as possible by standing upright in the deep end and using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Then rest for two minutes. Now swim 10 sets of 100 meters (that’s back-and-forth lap in an Olympic-sized pool), resting for one minute in between sets. By the time you climb out of the pool, your muscles will be pleasantly worn out.

10. Jumping Rope

The only way you skip your workout. #jumpingrope : @shauna_harrison

A video posted by Under Armour Women (@underarmourwomen) on

It’s time to kick it back to the good ole’ days of P.E. class, when you first learned how to swing a jump rope. This tool is cheap, portable (it’ll fit in the tiny parts of your suitcase!), and can be used just about anywhere. After just a few minutes you will feel your heart rate racing!

Try it: Here’s a speedy routine to try from Rosante:

  1. Warm up with a light 3-minute skip with the rope
  2. Do 100 traditional jumps (both feet leave the floor at the same time, and no extra hops in between)
  3. Once you finish, immediately do 100 jump rope sprints (think regular jumping rope but at an even quicker pace)
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, but follow this format: 50/50, 21/21, 15/15, 9/9
  5. If you want more, work your way back up the ladder until you reach 100/100 again

Oh, and whatever you do, don’t do it barefoot. “Few things compare to the pain of missing a skip and smacking the tip of your toe with a jump rope,” says Rosante. Noted. You can do this entire sequence mock-style, though, if you don’t have a rope handy.

You got this!

Related

  • Mark Ronald Kolman

    Good ideas. I don’t agree that every workout needs to be a 100%, “balls to the walls” exertion, unless you’re in training for a race, big game, other competition. For daily fitness, the key to consistency is to find an exercise program that you both can and WILL do consistently. Nothing kills enthusiasm like having exercise become an unwelcome task.

    Making exercise part of your workday instead of an extra one more thing to do, is both economical and efficient. Walk to the bus/train, walk during your lunch break, ride your bike to/from work, to/from the store. I think it’s ridiculous that people drive to the gym, circle the parking lot looking for a close to the door parking space, then go inside and ride a stationary bike.

    Exercise should be a pleasant experience that leaves you feeling better, not a job. You already have at least one of those.

    • mdg2188

      I agree. I enjoy doing Zumba I do it at least 45mins everyday. Making exercise fun is the key for me and I’m finally seeing results!

      • Mark Ronald Kolman

        That’s the key.

    • Maxine Downing

      So true! Some people just need to learn how to move, period. When I preach exercise to the executive team I support, (who are all younger than I & all need to drop some pounds), they look at me like I have a horn growing straight outta my head. You will never regret taking better care of your body. Ever.

    • artvandelay

      Agree 100%. If you can safely and relatively conveniently walk or cycle to work, do that and that’s probably the best change you can make.

      I think the key is to make things easy for yourself. Join a gym close to work, or home, or in between. Or if you can afford it/have the space, build a gym at home! Then aim for consistency, rather than intensity. A good way to factor in intensity is to use periodisation (increment the weight gradually each session), but if you’re not enjoying it, drop the weight or change the plan.

    • Every workout should not be 100% exertion. Your body will ultimately breakdown and you will suffer injuries. Then you will need to take time off. The important thing is consistency, doing your workout when you don’t feel like it. It doesn’t need to be your full out best effort every time you are in the gym.

  • Anna

    yes i agree with Mark, consistency is the key and eventually you will be able to bring your A game almost every workout. The idea of all or nothing.. is not correct. Everyday you feel different and sometimes do feel like A game but a little A game is better … and again… once you’ve got it down.. your A game will come more frequently. :-)— i’ve learned this the hard way.

  • bennycc

    No cycling, really? Low impact plus you enjoy the outdoors and yes, you can ride the bike outdoors during the winter time.

    • davedave12

      if you can push the whole time you are on the bike good for you — for me I notice that when I am running I can’t sit down

      • DaBoss

        Maybe you just need to adjust your running style. Try bending your legs to a 90 degree angle, or less.

    • Nathan Jones

      There’s loads of great indoor cycling workouts too (though with smart trainers and the like they do get a little expensive) – swift and the sufferfest being two of the most popular for interval type training

  • Thomas Satterly

    May I make a suggestion?
    I am finding that snow shoveling is as good an all around exercise that is available to me.
    If you live in Montana, or any similarly located geographic area, you are set. You already have your workout clothing. The required tools are not expensive, in fact many already have the starter set.
    It is variable. I need not overdo it, but I can test my limits. Often.
    It is an excellent cardio workout.
    It provides ample opportunity for lifting.
    It’s environmentally sound. No need to drive anywhere. The “gym” is a short walk from my front door. A very short walk.
    The cup of cocoa tastes wonderful when you’re finished!

    • davedave12

      the cup of cocoa replaces all the calories you just burned

  • Alison Shirley Perrin

    5 or 6 workouts a day?!? This is insane, not realistic. How about some realistic advice for real people?!?

    • Amy

      5 or 6 sessions a week, not a day.

      • Steffy Bi

        Yea a week, I can’t even do two 45-minute HIIT workouts a day and not want to pass out 🙂

    • Stuart Wolfe

      lol

    • Jared

      Lol, I work two jobs (almost 60 hours a week) and still make time for working out 5 times a week. Is it hard sometimes? Yeah. Do I get exhausted and want to skip the gym and go sleep? Absolutely. But it’s all about making the habit pattern. If you want to be fit, you have to be active somehow.

    • DaBoss

      By posting on here you allow everyone access to all the comments you have made on other sites, (including Learnvest and Patch). I see that every one of them is negative. Be happy Alison. You will feel much better!

  • Kristin-Marie

    Check out Orangetheory Fitness in your area, it’s 1 hour classes of interval training. It’s been a year for me and I’m down 65 lbs it works. The people are great, and it really is a lot of fun!

  • Laneisha Walker-Bryant

    what about dancing?? I was just dancing and that was all the exercise I’ve done in weeks!

    • Robyn

      As a former dancer – Heck yes!! It is not only fun, but u work out your entire body. Dancing is also good for balance, stamina, confidence, flexibility and of course your figure!!! Be sure to stretch religiously!! Have fun with it. There are so many different types of dancing. Just like other forms of exercises- different types of dancing will illicit different pros and work your entire body. Same applies- change it up . Our bodies are miraculous and smart. They catch on quickly to everything we do so changing up styles , pace etc is important!!
      **However- I found with hip hop and salsa dancing no changes needed! Self explanatory!! Have fun dancing!! I am no longer able and a dancer who can no longer dance is a sad one. The good news is- I’m slowly improving to hopefully be able to at least return to a disabled dancing class here! I’m not joking. I wish I was!! Dancing is not only good for your physical health but it’s amazing for your mental health as well!!!
      Keep me posted! Btw- love ur name

  • davedave12

    sitting at the bench press checking your instagram account burns no more calories than doing it at home

    • Ashley

      This annoys the crap out of me! Every day I go to the gym and see people hogging up machines and weights because they are too busy sitting there on the phone instead of finishing their sets. I’m old school o guess. I still use my old IPod so I don’t have to have my phone with me for 2 hours.

  • Erich Sterzing

    I never understood why HIIT isn’t built into MyFitnessPal’s exercise tracker. Almost all of these fall under that category. Add that treadmill workout please!

  • Leilani Aki

    What about someone with a injured meniscus plus arthritis. Do you have exercises to strengthen the knee.

  • Pascal Aschwanden

    I prefer a bit more moderation and consistency. If you advise people to work out 5 or 6 times a week, it’s less likely to be consistent, unless you make it part of your everyday routine – like jogging to work or something.

    Balls to walls will probably get you injured and discouraged, unless it’s something safe, like swimming. Why not go 50 to 70% and do it consistently?

  • Ang

    Roller skating! So much fun and a great calorie burn! My fitbit logged me 950 calories burned in 75 minutes the other day.

    • robinbishop34

      Maybe if you’re 300lbs and went “balls to the wall” the entire 75 minutes. It’s probably more like half that amount.

  • davedave12

    I am sure science works on the margins, but 95% of weight loss is common sense and discipline (things that cannot be bought or sold) —the biggest part of weight loss is diet, small portions, lots of veggies. —- Carbs is a new invention, everyone has known for over a hundred years to go easy on starches i.e. potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, — also brand new scientific info — no dessert (unless it is a piece of fruit) be careful with animal fat and dairy — the purpose of milk is to make babies gain weight

    • Javier Moraleda Martin

      That’s what the “book” says, everyone one has their needs. I eat 400gr of carbs (rice, oats, potatoes fruits and veggies) a day, why? because i need them, that simple. My body fat percentage? 7,4% (too low I know, i’m trying to gain weight). Obviously i’m an ectomorph and I workout 6 days a week (swimming, running, gym and also i’m very active so i always end my day with 15.000 and 20.000 steps, so yes i need those crabs hahahaha. Like I said there’s no perfect diet, there’s the perfect diet for each person.
      One thing is true, sugar, no sugar for me, only from fruits.

  • Kathy Gomez

    Great article! The hardest part for me is figuring out what to eat. Keto seems intriguing but so many of those recipes are greasy and unappealing. Is there a middle ground? I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast but friends say that has way too many carbs. It’s so confusing.

    • Kira

      Hi Kathy, it’s all going to depend on what works for you! If you want to go low-carb, many of your recipes are going to be on the greasy side because the majority of your usable calories in a low-carb diet come from fat (our bodies can only break down a certain amount of protein for energy — usually protein gets broken down into amino acids for building up cells in our body. Eating too much protein with too little fat and carbohydrate leads to a condition they used to call “rabbit starvation,” because rabbit meat is only about 8% fat and hunters who were forced to live on rabbits in the lean season got sick very quickly from a diet that had too much protein.)

      However, carbohydrates aren’t intrinsically bad any more than fat is bad: the problem with them for weight loss is that refined carbohydrates, like refined fats, add calories without adding nutritional value. Research is suggesting more and more that refined sugar in particular can be a problem because it absorbs so quickly into your bloodstream, causing a quick spike in blood sugar and a following spike in insulin to deal with the blood sugar (the “sugar crash”), a pattern that can wind up driving insulin resistance long-term. Be careful of your overall calorie intake, try to get most of your carbohydrates from whole grains (oatmeal is a whole grain, and is fine! Just be careful of those instant packets, because they’re full of sugar) and make sure you’re eating a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. My parents swear by the Mediterranean diet, which is heavy on fresh vegetables, lean meats like chicken and fish, olive oil and whole grains. I’m a vegetarian myself, so I tend to wing it with plenty of legumes, tofu and eggs! As long as you’re tracking the overall balance of your meals and overall calorie consumption, I think the most important thing is to pick healthy foods that you find appealing and tasty, because a diet made up of food you like eating is a diet you’ll be able to maintain long-term and not have any urge to “cheat” on or slide back to unhealthy eating habits from.

    • artvandelay

      Keto diet = no beer. I’m out!

  • Jill

    I have a disability. I can’t walk for exercise. What else can I do?

    • lizangel_1982

      Can you swim? Yoga is also a good idea.

  • joelilawrence

    Why are there never photos of people with BMI of more than 30 doing these exercises?

    • funkybro

      For the same reason swimsuit manufacturers don’t use tubbies in their ads. The exercise mavens want to convince you of how you’d look if you adopted their ideas. Kind of hard to be inspired by a fat person walking on a treadmill, just like you don’t want to look at a fat person modeling a bathing suit while thinking, “I’d sure like to look like that!”

      • crosscountrytraveller

        It IS inspirational to the overweight person who has anxiety about walking into a gym in the first place b/c of people who think like you…. When I see an overweight person exercising, I think good for them….maybe that is something I can do. If the swimsuit fits them right, it doesnt matter what they look like physically. You are shaming people who are overweight and you dont even realize it. And yes…I have a goal to lose 100 pounds. Ive walked OUT of gyms because I felt like I was being stared at by muscle bound people who clearly had no intention of making me feel comfortable there.

        • funkybro

          I am fat shaming no one. You are the one doing it to yourself. I have NEVER looked down on anyone who is working to improve themselves and have only praise for those that tackle their problem head on. My comments were purely related to what marketing gurus think, not what I may think. But what I DO think is, I think your antenna is a wee little bit too high and that is making you read things into my words that aren’t there. I imagine that’s the same thing you did when you felt that “muscle bound” people were staring at you at the gym. Honey, no one was staring at you. They weren’t even looking at you. When lifters get in the “zone” while lifting they are so focused on what they are doing and what they are going to do next that they may appear to be looking at something or someone, but in reality they aren’t even seeing where their eyes are pointing. YOU should be so focused instead of making whiny excuses so you can “walk out of the gym.” Don’t like being fat? YOU have the power to change that! Get serious and DO IT.

          • crosscountrytraveller

            Since you obviously werent there at the gym that day to know what they were or were not doing, you cant comment on my experience. The people that were staring at me were not working out…therefore they werent so hyper focused on their workout. They absolutely were looking at me. I also never said I didnt go BACK to a different gym, which you more or less have assumed. Being fat wasnt my choice, but not breathing isnt an option. Steroids suck. Not breathing sucks even more.

          • funkybro

            25 % of your weight loss comes from working out. 75% comes from controlling your diet. If asthma is requiring you to use steroids to breathe, I strongly suggest you investigate the Paleo Diet. I have done it and it DOES work and extraordinarily so. It is an anti-inflammatory diet and has helped many asthmatics. Please read Robb Wolfe’s book, “The Paleo Solution Diet”. I firmly believe in it and if I knew where to send it to you I would send you a copy even though I don’t know you. It is a difficult diet to stay on because you must eliminate a lot of things you have really gotten used to eating, but the reduction in inflammation had a remarkable effect on me. Not only did I lose weight, but my cholesterol, PSA, and insulin readings all improved and my blood pressure dropped. A lady I work with was able to completely dump her Cholesterol meds after she went on the diet. And, oh yeah, you also lose weight in the process.

            YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

          • crosscountrytraveller

            please just stop and leave me alone. I really dont need you telling me how to do this or what I need to do. You have no idea what my eating habits are or anything else. Its arrogant of you to assume you know what I need to do. So please…just leave me alone from here on out. I didnt come asking for advice.

          • funkybro

            Leave you alone? You responded to my post with comments that needed a rebuttal. Then you do the same yet again. And when I respond you tell ME to leave YOU alone? Honey, to end this it’s very simple…..JUST GO AWAY! Your defensiveness is indicative of problems that are far deeper than a need to just shed a few pounds.

          • Holly Burns

            Holy Moly!

            Funkybro was stating facts. Why would exercise companies market their products using unfit and unhealthy models? That would defeat the point of being healthy, right?

            Crosscountrytraveller I’m sorry you feel so insecure. Honestly I think the reason you feel stared at when you go into a gym is based upon your insecurities. No one is making fun or staring at you. Sure, it may seem that way due to how you presently feel about yourself, but most of the time when you go in the gym, everyone is pretty focused on their own personal goals they have set for themselves. I am personally to self absorbed to be working about what anyone, other than myself, is doing at the gym.

            Lastly, who cares if anyone was or was not looking at you. Be proud you showed up, and work for what you want.

            Sorry your having a rough time. I hope you find a place of security and happiness in your journey!

          • Mandie Jackson

            I think ur being a bit unfair! U asked a question, incidentally, I’m FAR more motivated seeing a skinny minny so I can aspire to be that person!! It’s like going to a slimming club and the leader is a chunky!!!
            Also, “funky bro” was it, was being really helpful suggesting a diet that might help u! I agree with him, think u might have a bit of a chip on ur shoulder and see every with their eyes open as judging u!
            If ur esteem was higher, u might just accept that people were looking thinking “Oo look, a new person!!”

          • Honna51

            Does the paleo diet allow meat? I don’t eat meat.

          • funkybro

            Yes, a paleo diet is basically meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts. No sugar, no grains of any sort, no cow’s milk, no white potatoes, no legumes. It is a low-inflammation diet that also results in a weight loss for most people. I go on a Paleo “diet” for six weeks twice a year just to give my body a rest from the inflammatory effect of the foods that, unfortunately, taste so good. My body reacts very well to the diet and I try to keep eating that way with some modifications after the six weeks are up. In otherwords, after the six weeks, I try not to eat a lot of bread, but if we’re having grilled burgers I’m going to have one. I may have a bowl of ice cream once a month or so and I’ll also have P&J. But all in moderation. It seems to work well for me, but may not for everyone. We’re all individuals.

          • Sandy Wall

            Thanks for the info funkybro. I’ve been somewhat trying the paleo diet. I’ve heard about the foods that are inflammatory so I cut them out of my diet completely, except for the once a month treat meal. I’ve lost 45 pounds so far and I’ve been over weight most of my life topping out at 280. At the gym I do the circuit (which I love)- great cardio and weight workout-and the PF 360. Walking is harder because of my hips but I still try and I find, with each week I can do a little more. I’m glad you were here to confirm my efforts. You hear so many different things it’s hard to know for sure what actually works. I’ve completely changed my eating habits but it seems I’ve peaked somewhere and am not seeing the results I was before. Should I increase the intensity of my workout more? I do drink a whey protein shake before gym, it seems to help with stamina. Maybe I should focus on interval? My diet is lean meat, veggies, limited fruit, good fats like olive oil and grain fed butter. I used a macro calculator and keep a food journal. I’ve even found recipes for my insatiable sweet tooth using ingredients like coconut flour and stevia. I’ve found great substitutes for my favorite meals like spaghetti squash for noodles. Any more advice would be greatly appreciated. Some of us value your opinion. THE GYM doesn’t intimidate me at all. I’m there for me- no one else plus the eye candy is motivating. Even had some hard core weight trainers take pity and give me great advice.

          • funkybro

            First of all, a hearty congratulations on the tremendous success so far! You’ve got an iron will, and it is paying off for you! Don’t get discouraged because you seem to hit a plateau…..that is only a temporary holdup on your pathway to a more healthy body! That pathway is very, very rarely a straight line. The body has a tremendous ability to adapt to the demands being put on it; if you’re doing the same workouts every week, try mixing them up a bit with some new exercises that work the same muscle groups. Example, instead of just doing the standard bench press each week, try substituting a dumbbell bench press instead. The body will be shocked by the new demand and it will respond with increased muscle mass and fat burning. Same thing with your diet; try mixing it up a bit with some new things. Try this for breakfast: go to the store and buy some almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts. Put them in a food processor and chop them up until they look like granola (not too small, but small enough). Keep in the refrigerator and pour some in a bowl and add banana, blueberries and almond milk! It’s delicious and totally paleo! There’s all sorts of things like that you can do to change things up.

            One of the unique things about the paleo diet is how it influences the two conflicting hormones, insulin and glycagon. Insulin, when present in the blood stream is trying to ram nutrients INTO your body’s cells to store them for future use, i.e. as fat. Glycagon does just the opposite: it is constantly trying to get those cells to RELEASE their nutrients into the blood stream to use as energy. So, it stands to reason that you cannot lose weight if your insulin levels are too high or if your glycagon levels are too low. That’s where the low-glycemic nature of the paleo diet comes into play; by following a strict paleo diet you automatically keep insulin low and glucagon high! That’s how you burn fat!

            Keep up the good work! And please let me know of your progress. It’s a wonderful and healthy thing you are doing!

        • Megan Klein

          Hi there! I totally understand the anxiety. Honestly, I can’t go into a gym or do any exercise publicly because I feel too self-conscious (and not because of my weight). The best gym I ever went to (and would still be going if I had the funds for it) was an all women’s gym which had all kinds of rooms for classes, treadmills, strength training, and personal trainers. I didn’t think an all women’s gym night make the difference – but it totally did! This might help because those muscle building guys tended to be where the most anxiety built up for me, and maybe that’s the same for you. The gym I went to was Fernwood Fitness.

          Hope that helps 🙂
          Go get life!

          • armydicked

            I was a gym rat in my day before my gnarly work accident. I just joined 24hr and MY GOD, I never seen so many heffers in one room at one time (it was like a Bakersfield Cattle Auction or BN roll call at the Hagen Das Weight Gaining Clinique!!!).

            Made me feel great about myself working out with all those Tubby Bee-ach-res!!!
            Phat-On, my brotha!!! Belly bump & hi five me!!! It meant I could hit the gym, hit the buffet line after and still look great!!!

          • Kayotickicker

            You’re a very cruel person. It takes no more effort to write something kind rather than saying something degrading. You are not superior because you feel you are fit. BTW. Proper English would be “I HAVE never seen”. #makekindnessviral

          • armydicked

            I have zero tolerance for plastic people. In SF there was a woman who wanted to be a man. She met a Lesbian and wanted to get married to a Lesbian who also wanted to be a man. then they wanted children. Since her plumbing was less damaged, she got pregnant. ‘hello, I am your Father who used to be a mother but now I’m “Gender Fluid’?!!!
            Why must I indulge her “Fluidality”?!!!

        • Gandalf Stormcrow

          I read a few of your other posts to get a feel for who you are as a person. You seem like a decent human being. I hope you’ll take the following comments in the spirit of friendship. That is how they are meant.

          Your own paranoia about what others MIGHT be thinking of you at the gym, is of your own making. Part of the journey is personal commitment, and the courage to face what you ARE and to strive for what you want to become. No one has a duty to “make you feel comfortable” in your own skin. That is YOUR job.

          Besides, there are other areas of life where you may have also done a similar thing to someone else (perhaps even inadvertently). I know “christians” who look down their superior noses at everyone else. I know political progressives who unfairly bully and personally destroy conservatives on social media, and conservatives who want to deny gays equal rights. (Etc.) It’s all the same thing.

          Face it—life is a competition sport. The fact that you walked out because you weren’t “comfortable” is, perhaps, symptomatic of what led you to this point in your life. I’m not being mean, I’m trying to help. This is YOUR world too. Own your part. Shamelessly. If you WANT to get fit and lose weight, then close your mind to what you THINK others might be thinking (because you may very well be wrong), and JUST DO IT. And change your life. Think of how great you’ll feel about yourself afterward. I know. I worked my ass off and lost 100 pounds. I feel so much better about myself. You can too. Peace. Good luck.

      • armydicked

        Because being PHAT is the 1,000 lb elephant in the room that everyone chooses to ignore. Everyone loves Porn but try to find Porn where the ACTORS/ACTRESSES (Yeah Right!!!) are B-O-T-H Obesse Tpye II (BBW or SBBW). I did. It made me hop on my bike and ride 14 miles!!!

        Because Cripples & Tubbies are perceived as being sexless and/or unsexy. And yet, as I type this, 66% all US Menstruating women are overweight/grossly overweight!!!

    • Sue

      WAs just wondering what exercises thos of us who aren’t fit YET can do

      • chandra8908

        Hi Sue. I know you directed this at someone else, but I was in that place for years, unable to figure out how to get in shape, and I think I might be able to help.

        First, you need to find the motivation to stick to one new thing for 6 weeks.

        Next, find one workout you enjoy doing. For me, it was a group Kickboxing class. I highly suggest a group class. If you are the type who eases into things, try something heavier on the cardio that you can stop and breathe occasionally. If you find a class with lots of new people who are also unfit newbies, that’s a good sign it will be a good one to start with.

        If you are the type to jump in head first and you don’t think it was a good workout unless you nearly passed out, try a Bootcamp or CrossFit type group/gym. These are also good to up the ante later on in your journey.

        Another option is martial arts classes. This is a good idea if you prefer to gain some other useful skills as well as getting fit.

        If you aren’t ready to try a group class for whatever reason, there are a few less expensive/more convenient things you can do to get started. I recommend you add these later because they are difficult to stick with, but if group classes aren’t an option, these are better than nothing. You can join a regular gym (get someone to show you the ropes when you join so you know how to use the equipment) or you can do exercise videos or weights at home. YouTube has some good workouts for free. I prefer to do my strength training at home because I hate regular gyms…

        Third, do that one thing three days per week until it is part of your routine and keep doing it. When you are ready, add in whichever form of exercise you aren’t already doing- cardio or strength training- on your two off days during the regular week. You’ll still have your weekends this way. Do this long enough to make it routine and eventually work on what you are eating.

        One new healthy change at a time and you’ll be there before you even know it! If it’s ingrained in your daily life, it will also be harder to lose all your progress since it will be more difficult to quit. Focus on your improvements rather than the number on the scale (unless it’s good) and you’ll probably look skinnier and/or more toned even when your weight sticks.

        Whatever works for you, I hope you find it and see success! Feeling healthy and in shape is worth it!

  • VictorLandry

    I’m handicapped from a stroke and can’t walk well on rough surface. I walk on a treadmill for 2 hours a day at 2.2 mph, the fastest I can manage. I do weights for upper body strength. Anyone have any ideas for something I can be doing?

    • Tonya

      @VictorLandry you can try leg lift with light ankle weights or chair aerobics.

  • fmrleftchick

    Any regular activity that elevates heart rate for any significant amount of time will burn a good amount of calories. Running from the cops with a television in your arms is an effective calorie burner.

    If you are interested in building/maintaining muscle and overall body composition (lean mid-section, broad shoulders/lats, etc), intense cardio can really inhibit not only the recovery necessary for muscle growth, but burn muscle instead of fat if not following a strict dietary protocol… mainly pre-workout protein/carbs, and more importantly post-workout protein/carb consumption.

    I would advise those who are serious about weight training, I would suggest brisk walking, mobility drills, and warm up sets to get in some moderate cardio and prep for weightlifing, followed by 10 min of brisk walking and static stretching afterwards. Also, when I say weight training, I don’t mean swinging around kettleballs or little neoprene hand weights, I mean a full body/compound workout .. deadlift, squat, bench, overhead, rows, and pull-ups.

    Warm ups can include some moderate abdominal work like planks, hanging leg raises, and proper crunches. This is more important to strengthen your core rather than building a six pack. A six pack is developed in the kitchen 🙂

    • artvandelay

      Agree completely, and do all the compound exercises you mention in the 5-8 rep range to maximise strength gains. However, if I want to cut a bit more, is it OK to do 20 mins of intensive cardio at a different time of day, without burning muscle or inhibiting recovery?

      • fmrleftchick

        I think there is pretty much universal consensus on maintaining muscle while cutting fat, and that is continue lifting same amount of weight, while reducing volume, and going into moderate calorie deficit (carb macros would be the most sacirficed while maintaining around 1 gram/lb body weight in protein).

        I think some limited cardio post-lifting is beneficial for reducing build up of lactic acid but I would make sure that you get in a fast absorbing protein source before/during the session.

        There is some argument that intense cardio can reduce testosterone levels, and as you mention, cut into recovery, so 20 minutes is reasonable.

        • artvandelay

          Thanks for the tips!

  • Ann Oymous

    I’m 72 years old. I’d risk serious injuries trying most of the suggestions in your article. Brisk walking or swimming seem to be the safest options for me. Please follow up by adding an article on elderly folks attempting a fitness routine to maintain their strength and loose weight.

    • Endless Loop

      I am younger and I am pretty sure I would have the same results as you.

    • For the most part you are right. 90% of what they are suggesting in the articles are not for you or me. I guess we need to look at the senior publications. I am 60 and I try to be sensible in my workout. Swimming and brisk walking are great. I swim 3 times a week and do resistance exercises the other 3 days. The key is moderation and consistency in keeping with the program. On occasion I will up the intensity but within reason. If you think you are risking injury with the movement, then don’t do it.

  • Rodney C Foster

    The sport of squash is an amazing workout for weight loss. 🙂

  • sw

    Do only women do these workouts? That’s all there are pictures of.

  • Christopher Snyder

    personally I prefer karate or kick boxing. It engages the brain as well as the body.

  • srichey321

    Nice article, but might be a good idea to write one for people 50+ in age and who have nagging arthritis etc.

  • tirichitirca

    I am very surprised to see they don’t mention walking. Walking is underrated, but it is a very good way to burn fat.

  • Del

    I have read some of the concerns re getting started. I suggest start w walking. Get yourself a fit bit and make goals for yourself. My current goal is to achieve at least 10,000 steps in a day. You can start smaller or bigger re steps. Wearing the fit bit really keeps me motivated. Good luck all.
    I am surprised Pilates is not on the list. is amazing and intense workout definitely burns a lot of calories and I love it.

  • Jennifer H

    After reading this I realized that a list of 10 is really just a list of every exercise option, multiple times. 😀 In fact HIIT, Tabada, and Crossfit are basically the same thing; fast and hard workout. Swimming, running and jump rope are pretty much regular old cardio using your own body weight against you. Boot Camp is a cop out, might as well say take an aerobics class of your choice.

  • Anne Pitts

    There are many 50+ people who read this avidly. I’m 60 and I cannot do most of the exercises suggested. Please do an article devoted to those of us who can’t go all out anymore due to old joints, injuries, getting back into the swing of things. I hate going to gyms, I’d rather workout at home. How about one column a month devoted to us.

  • Shelley Alston-jones

    Just wanted to encourage anyone trying to lose weight I have lost 45lbs. I look great and feel great. I’.m 5 lbs away from my goal and have hit a plateau. I use my fitness pal to keep track of my calorie intake and do zumba a few times a week. Weight lifting is important for toning for me. I’m 49 but look 15 years younger since my weight loss. Be encouraged in your journey. What helps me is I get a small saucer not a traditional plate to fix my meals. Being skinny like women in magazines was never attractive to me I am smaller but curvy. Embrace your body type and push for that sexy vision you have for yourself.

    • Gwendolyn Wimmer

      Thank you for the encouragement. I am just starting my journey to a healthier new me. I joined a gym in april, but didn’t use it for the first week and a half. Partly because of anxiety and partly because I wanted to meet with the trainer before using any of the equipment. I think that a good trainer is key to finding the right gym. We set up a system for me. I rotate my routines. I have a “push day” where I do a few upper body push motion exercises then 10 or 15 minutes on the treadmill to up my heart rate. I usually do a little more on the treadmill to reach my steps goal on my fitbit. Next day is all cardio, so for me, that’s an hour on the treadmill at 3mpr and I push myself the last minute running. I plan to increase the run time as many body adjusts to running since I’ve never been a runner. Next day is a “pull day” with upper body pull exercises ending with treadmill. Then another cardio day. Then I have “leg day” with different leg exercises and treadmill. Then another cardio day. Then I start over. I don’t always get to the gym everyday but I go at least 3 days and try to go 4. I’m down 28lbs and was able to buy a new pair of pants 2 sizes smaller than my others.I feel great and no longer worry if anyone is laughing at me. I know they are not and some were where I was in the beginning as well. My long term goal is to lose 112 lbs. That places me where my bmi says I should be. I have reached my first short term goal already and lost 10% of my body weight when I lost the first 25 pounds. I am now 3 pounds into my second short term goal of 22 lbs. My blood pressure has come down since starting this journey. I wasn’t medicated yet for it, but the doctors were noticing it was elevated just about every visit I had. With my blood pressure coming down my eyesight has gotten better. I have contacts I can no longer wear because they make my sight blurry now. I’ve been going without until I can find time to get back in to the doctors office. I watch what I eat, mostly. Unfortunately I still have some things that I cannot resist if the package is in front of me and already open… But I’m working on that. I am proud of my hard work I’ve put into me and my confidence level has gone way up.

  • Nicolas Cake

    Hiking FTW!

  • ron bates

    is top notch worked well for me in the past on weights/jogging/running/stretches/ and total flexibility with weight loss as metabolism worked / diet low fat high protein and/ beer recovery/black coffee (1)/

  • BuckeyeBeth7

    “It’s kind of a big deal that you bring your A-game to each and every workout. “I’d rather see you do balls-to-the-wall workouts three times a week than see you give 50 percent for five days,” says Rilinger. “

    Balls to the wall huh? But what if that put you over your maxHR? If I go balls to the wall I’m over and I’ll bet when the trainers on the shows like The Biggest Loser are screaming at those people to go faster harder at the end of the exercise that they are over their HRmax. But then we are told not to go over. So which is it? I understand balls to the wall when you are training for something like a marathon, but weight loss?? My Fitness Pal’s articles seem to contradict each other… if I’m missing something please tell me.

  • I am sorry – Jump Rope is the devil. I agree with the rest of it though. 😉

  • Love Holly Rillinger’s new book, “LIFTED” — the very best for motivating & coaching you to get fit & hit peak performance. #Fitness #Workout #WeightLoss

  • EdMcConkie

    One word: SWIM!

  • Greg Dahlen

    my impression is that exercise is fun but weight loss generally comes from diet and dietary control.

    I’ve lost and easily maintained on my diet, which for ten years has been more than 90% fluid milk products, cow milk and cow cream. I started at 255 (i’m six feet one inch) quickly went down to 175, then got more in touch with my body and for the last two years 165. Every day more than 90% of my diet is some kind of milk, skim, 1%, 2%, whole, plus i sometimes buy pints of half-and-half or fluid whipping cream and drink them straight.

    it might be hard to put on too much weight on this diet cuz it fills you up with water (milk and cream are mostly water) which is zero calories yet tastes good cuz it’s milk

    but when you lose weight you get in a good cycle where you feel like exercising more. mainly i walk (to actually get places) and dance, alone in my apartment or at concerts.

    disclaimer: this diet hasn’t been approved by any medical authority as safe or healthy for humans, but it has worked well for me and my body works similarly to many.