12 of the Best Workouts For Weight Loss

Julia Malacoff
by Julia Malacoff
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12 of the Best Workouts For Weight Loss

Whether you’re looking to lose a lot or a little weight, exercise is an important component of any weight-loss plan. But not all workouts are created equal when the goal is shedding pounds. Ahead, trainers rank their favorite research-backed workouts for weight loss.

But before we dive in, there are a few important facts to note.

  • Weight loss and fat loss are different: Many people say they want to lose weight, but most of the time, what they really mean is that they want to lose fat. This is an important distinction, because some workouts that help with fat loss — like strength training — may cause weight gain in the form of muscle. That might seem like it defeats the purpose of trying to lose weight, but the opposite is actually true. Adding muscle mass to your frame increases metabolism, which can help you lose fat and keep it off long-term.
  • Exercise isn’t the only factor in fat loss: Working out is important for your health, and it can help with fat loss. But ultimately, fat loss is determined by whether or not you’re in a calorie deficit. In other words, your “calories in” needs to be less than your “calories out.” This means that if you’re working out but not paying attention to what you eat, exercise alone may not be enough to achieve results.
  • Consistency is key: While some forms of exercise burn more calories than others and some may offer post-workout calorie burn, the best workout for weight loss for each individual person depends on what they’re able to do consistently.“You might have the best workout in the world, but if you only do it once every two weeks, you won’t get the results you’re looking for,” says Grady Bridges, a certified personal trainer. At a minimum, he recommends working out three times per week if your goal is fat loss. It’s key to find something you truly like doing: “It’s better to do something you enjoy regularly — even if it’s suboptimal for your goal.”




Bodyweight exercises can be used to do both cardio and strength training. “If your body allows, I suggest bodyweight cardio exercises like burpees, high knees, jumping jacks, butt kicks, alternating boxing punches in a low squat, squat jacks, plank jacks and squat jumps,” says Heidi Schmidt, a certified personal trainer at West Kept Secret.

While you might think you need equipment to do strength training, there are several ways to make bodyweight exercises more challenging, which creates a similar effect to getting stronger by using heavier weights over time.



If you’ve ever done a heavy bag or shadow boxing class, you know boxing is one of the sweatiest, most intense workouts. One study looked at adults with higher levels of belly fat and found that a high-intensity boxing regimen four days per week was more effective at helping to reduce belly fat than a brisk walking workout routine.



“My top workout for weight loss and cardiovascular health is a high-intensity, steady-state circuit workout,” says Andrea Levine, a certified group fitness instructor. This is slightly different from HIIT, since there’s minimal rest involved. Levine’s go-to method: Performing 6–10 exercises for 1 minute each without rest. “I recommend doing this circuit three times, then resting about 1 minute in between sets.” According to an article published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, this type of workout can provide maximum benefits with a small time commitment, especially when you alternate between upper- and lower-body exercises within the circuit.




Whether on a spin bike, road bike or cruiser, cycling can also be a great workout for weight loss. Research has consistently shown riding a bike is associated with health improvements. A recent study even found bike commuting can be as effective for fat loss as working out in your free time.



HIIT is one of the most well-known weight-loss workouts, and it’s a great way to lose body fat, says Alex Tauberg, a chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning coach. “HIIT exercise has been shown to be more effective than steady-state exercise for fat loss.” While it’s not clear why this is, HIIT does seem to work better than other forms of cardio for some people.

To get started, Matthew Brenner, founder of High 5 Fitness & Nutrition, recommends an “every minute on the minute” (EMOM) workout. “These workouts are a great way to squeeze in a ton of exercise when you’re in a time crunch,” he says.

Here’s how it works: Pick an exercise or a set of exercises that will take you less than 30 seconds to complete. Every minute on the minute, complete the set of exercises, then rest until the next minute starts. The faster you complete the exercises, the higher the intensity — and the more time you get to rest. “Just make sure to save some time for warming up and cooling down,” Brenner adds.



“I love jump roping because it’s a full-body calorie burner you can do anywhere,” says Meghan Kennihan, a NASM personal trainer and USA Track & Field coach. “Jumping rope can burn anywhere from 600–800 calories an hour. Obviously, you won’t be jumping for a whole hour, but it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and can easily be combined with bodyweight strength exercises for a fun circuit.”



Another great low-impact, full-body workout, rowing is also highly effective for weight loss. What’s more, it’s accessible for people with various levels of physical ability. Research published in the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine found people with impaired vision (who often have lower levels of physical fitness) were able to decrease their fat mass by adding rowing to their routine five days a week for six weeks.



Running can be extremely effective for weight loss, provided you’re not overcompensating for the calories you burned when you refuel post-run. One way to boost your calorie burn with running, according to Kennihan, is to add sprints to the mix. “I recommend starting with 5 minutes of easy running with 30-second sprints for 5 rounds.”



Lifting weights helps with weight loss by improving your metabolic rate and helping you continue to burn calories post-workout.

While any type of weightlifting or strength training can be beneficial, experts recommend heavy weightlifting in particular. “Engaging in heavy lifting is fantastic for increasing muscle and bone density, and has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to burn maximum amounts of calories during and after the session,” explains Chris Edwards, owner of TriCore Wellness and a Trainerize trainer. “Pair heavy lifting with a caloric deficit and you have a recipe for success.”



“Swimming is a great low-impact workout,” says Javier Robles, a health coach and trainer. Because it’s easy on joints, it’s a good pick for people who find other forms of cardio too harsh. Other pros of swimming workouts, according to Robles, include a low risk of injury and the fact that it’s a full-body workout. One study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found swimming for 60 minutes three times per week was an effective method of improving body composition in middle-aged women.



Believe it or not, boosting your step count is a solid strategy for fat loss, according to Edwards. Walking counts as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, which is another way of saying the calories you burn during your daily activity outside of working out, sleeping and eating. “NEAT accounts for about 15% of your total daily energy expenditure, and increasing it can significantly improve blood pressure, blood sugar and digestion — and burn calories at the same time,” Edwards explains. A simple way to get started: “Many times, I recommend a 10-minute walk after meals to help with digestion and reduce stress.”



“I recommend all my clients attend regular yoga classes to help work on strength and flexibility, destress and burn calories — up to 200 in 30 minutes,” Bridges says. A large-scale review in Preventative Medicine concluded that yoga is a safe, effective method of managing body weight. Apart from calorie burn, yoga also supports several other factors that can make weight loss easier, such as decreasing stress and improving social connections.

Originally published July 2020

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About the Author

Julia Malacoff
Julia Malacoff

Julia (@jmalacoff) is a seasoned writer and editor who focuses on fitness, nutrition, and health. She’s also a certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach. Based in Amsterdam, she bikes every day and travels around the world in search of tough sweat sessions and the best vegetarian fare.


106 responses to “12 of the Best Workouts For Weight Loss”

  1. Avatar Mark Ronald Kolman says:

    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.

    • Avatar mdg2188 says:

      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!

    • Avatar Maxine Downing says:

      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.

    • Avatar artvandelay says:

      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.

    • Avatar Phil_Lorenzo says:

      they did say if you want the most effective weight loss, to the balls is the way to go, which i agree.. i’ve done both, and to the balls definitely gives you more results.. if you’re ok with not so fast and effective results, that’s fine too.. to each his own

  2. Avatar Anna says:

    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.

  3. Avatar bennycc says:

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

    • Avatar davedave12 says:

      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

    • Avatar Nathan Jones says:

      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

  4. Avatar Thomas Satterly says:

    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!

  5. Avatar Alison Shirley Perrin says:

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

    • Avatar Amy says:

      5 or 6 sessions a week, not a day.

    • Avatar Stuart Wolfe says:


    • Avatar Jared says:

      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.

    • Avatar DaBoss says:

      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!

  6. Avatar Kristin-Marie says:

    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!

  7. Avatar Laneisha Walker-Bryant says:

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

    • Avatar Robyn says:

      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

  8. Avatar davedave12 says:

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

    • Avatar Ashley says:

      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.

  9. Avatar Erich Sterzing says:

    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!

  10. Avatar Leilani Aki says:

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

  11. Avatar Pascal Aschwanden says:

    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?

  12. Avatar Ang says:

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

    • Avatar robinbishop34 says:

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

  13. Avatar davedave12 says:

    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

    • Avatar Javier Moraleda Martin says:

      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.

  14. Avatar Kathy Gomez says:

    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.

    • Avatar Kira says:

      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.

    • Avatar artvandelay says:

      Keto diet = no beer. I’m out!

  15. Avatar Jill says:

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

  16. Avatar joelilawrence says:

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

    • Avatar funkybro says:

      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!”

      • Avatar crosscountrytraveller says:

        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.

        • Avatar funkybro says:

          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.

          • Avatar crosscountrytraveller says:

            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.

          • Avatar funkybro says:

            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!!!

          • Avatar crosscountrytraveller says:

            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.

          • Avatar funkybro says:

            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.

          • Avatar Holly Burns says:

            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!

          • Avatar Mandie Jackson says:

            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!!”

          • Avatar Honna51 says:

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

          • Avatar funkybro says:

            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.

          • Avatar Sandy Wall says:

            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.

          • Avatar funkybro says:

            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!

          • Avatar BluePotion says:

            I am surprised at your gym people are like that. Most people who go to the gym care about health and would be thrilled to see you there. I think you need to find a new gym.

          • Avatar Tams Harty says:

            I have worked out most of my life (pretty much daily). I run 30 miles a week, swim 6-8 miles a week, take spin classes, strength train, and do the occasional yoga class. I am not svelte and I don’t expect others to do what I do. I am someone who enjoys exercise and being healthy. What you are is a jerk.

          • Avatar funkybro says:

            Oh, wow. So, I’m being a jerk, eh? Did you even read what was written in this whole thread? You don’t even know the contents of the comment that sparked this discussion, as “Cross Country Traveler” deleted her initial response to my first comment and replies to that comment now show up as going to “Guest.”

            Please tell me exactly where I was being a “jerk.” Was it where I said I’ve never looked down on anyone who is working to improve themselves and only have praise for those who tackle their problems head on?

            Was it where I was trying to tell her that she needn’t worry about the other lifters in the gym looking down their noses at her because they likely weren’t even really looking at her critically?

            Maybe it was where I tried to help her by suggesting the Paleo diet as being a good one for people with inflammatory conditions such as asthma, or was it where I even offered to send her a book for free about the diet? Yes, that was an obviously jerk thing.

            Or, was it where I explained the Paleo diet to Honna51 and explained that while it worked for me, we all have to seek out what works best for us as individuals. Maybe I was being a jerk when Sandy Wall thanked me for the information and I gave her a hearty congratulations for her accomplishments. Yes, that was a pretty jerky thing to do, wasn’t it?

            Cross Country Traveler didn’t like my initial comment because she said I was “fat-shaming” people. I explained to her that that was not my intention, but I was simply pointing out how marketing gurus think. I tried to encourage her to work to better herself, but she kept answering me in a negative way everytime I put up a post. Others on this thread also were taken aback at the fact that I was trying to help her and she kept taking it negatively, finally telling me to leave her alone. All she had to do was to quit responding to me and I would have done just that.

            I think if you would take the time to read this thread you might be able to see my point. But given the fact that you (1) obviously haven’t read it through, and (2) hurled a label of contempt at me without being able to see Cross Country Traveler’s initial comment here, and, (3) go into a self-righteous litany of all of your athletic abilities and workout regimens, an unbiased reader of this thread can easily understand who is actually being a “jerk” here.

          • Avatar Leigh Ann Vanschaick says:

            You don’t recognize yourself as a jerk? How about an arrogant, pompous arse? I have read through the posts (granted not the deleted response) but it really only takes reading your initial response to get an idea of what kind of person you are. Perhaps you should reread it… “tubbies, hard to be inspired by a fat person, don’t want to look at a fat person in a swimsuit…”. These are YOUR opinions, not a “marketing guru’s”. Don’t try to play it like you were really interested in trying to help…AND calling this person “HONEY” in your response was classy too…not at all demeaning.

          • Avatar Lawzy says:

            My, my but aren’t you the triggered and humorless little snowflake! There was nothing arrogant in funky’ posts; in fact, he was very willing to help anyone who asked and with good info. If anyone displayed pompous arrogance it was definitely you.

          • Avatar Dick Highfalutin says:

            This was a pretty nice set of friendly and informative posts until you and your friend Tams came along with your grousing and griping. I’ll bet you’re a lot of fun to live with.

          • Avatar Lawzy says:

            Just read through these comments and you, Tams Harty, appear to be pretty confused. I don’t see funkybro being a jerk at all and it looks like you are reading in things that are not in there. Looks to be a case of jumping to conclusions w/o knowing what you are talking about. Do you have some kind of chip on your shoulder or something?

        • Avatar Megan Klein says:

          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!

          • Avatar armydicked says:

            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!!!

          • Avatar Kayotickicker says:

            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

          • Avatar armydicked says:

            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”?!!!

          • Avatar BluePotion says:

            Poor little guy. Doesn’t even realize how pathetic he is.

          • Avatar BluePotion says:

            I guess you were one of the people staring at crosscountrytraveler at the gym. There goes all the advice given to them like, “You are imagining that people are that shallow and childish”. There really are people that unhappy in life. Good to know. I guess most of us are to busy working out to notice the high school mean kids at the gym. Good luck with your workout.

        • Avatar Gandalf Stormcrow says:

          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.

          • Avatar BluePotion says:

            Actually Gandalf that may not be true. Look what this dufus wrote:

            armydicked to Megan Klein • 3 months ago

            Scroll up to see his ridiculous post about laughing at people in the gym.

      • Avatar armydicked says:

        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!!!

        • Avatar BluePotion says:

          Funny how you only mention the obese women. Look your gay and that is fine. But it doesn’t mean you have to hate or be mean to the opposite sex.

          • Avatar armydicked says:

            I’ve heard about you TROLLS, but I didn’t expect you people could write.

            You should try meditation. Remember, there are always another freeway underpass you can sleep under….if you sober up enough to claim yer spot early…now P*ss off!!!

    • Avatar Sue says:

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

      • Avatar chandra8908 says:

        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!

      • Avatar KC says:

        Sue, put on some walking shoes and walk. Increase your speed and distance if you want to make your workout harder, find a few small hills. Almost anyone can walk. Doing stairs helps, too. Just don’t be surprised when one or two flights get you winded. You will accommodate and improve. Nothing more than a pair of shoes and time. As a Physical Therapist, this is what I would recommend. Making it a habit is the hardest part, but doing it will be the best for you. Make an appointment with yourself, half your lunch time or after dinner. Just move. Good luck to you!

      • Avatar Trudie Schneider says:

        Well – you could start with walking more. I would recommend getting a Fitbit – just wear it all day and start where you are as far as step count. Then start pushing yourself to increase your daily step count.

  17. Avatar VictorLandry says:

    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?

  18. Avatar fmrleftchick says:

    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 🙂

    • Avatar artvandelay says:

      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?

      • Avatar fmrleftchick says:

        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.

  19. Avatar Ann Oymous says:

    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.

    • Avatar Endless Loop says:

      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.

    • Avatar Kelly Monteleone says:

      I have fibromyalgia and would have the exact same problem too. This is really geared at young/middle aged people who are just overweight – no other issues.

  20. Avatar Rodney C Foster says:

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

  21. Avatar sw says:

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

  22. Avatar Christopher Snyder says:

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

  23. Avatar srichey321 says:

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

  24. Avatar tirichitirca says:

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

  25. Avatar Del says:

    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.

  26. Avatar Jennifer H says:

    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.

  27. Avatar Anne Pitts says:

    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.

  28. Avatar Shelley Alston-jones says:

    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.

    • Avatar Gwendolyn Wimmer says:

      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.

  29. Avatar Nicolas Cake says:

    Hiking FTW!

  30. Avatar ron bates says:

    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)/

  31. Avatar BuckeyeBeth7 says:

    “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.

  32. Avatar MommyLisa says:

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

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

  34. Avatar EdMcConkie says:

    One word: SWIM!

  35. Avatar Greg Dahlen says:

    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.

  36. Avatar BluePotion says:

    Balls to the wall is great if you are able. As we age that may not be ideal. Which is why right now I am looking to find a healthy lifestyle that I can carry into my future. I don’t want to go crazy then have some random surgery where now I will gain weight because i can’t do the balls to the wall workout for a while. I used to do gymnastics but the risk of breaking a bone is too great. So that’s out but Yoga may be a great alternative. Hopefully something I will be able to do forever. Never even thought of aging until I developed a seizure disorder at 35. Now it’s on my mind once I saw how limited my life could become.

  37. Avatar Jackie Marfuta says:

    I’m 69 and do 50 minutes of water aerobics 3 x wk. walk the treadmill once a week. lift 4lbs. weights 1 x wk.

  38. Avatar NiceGuysFinishLast says:

    With the advent of HIIT being the greatest thing since sliced bread, should I ignore the idea that reaching the anaerobic heart rate so-called “red zone” (165+) is such a bad thing if I’m simply pushing myself to the high intensity limits during interval training? I have a healthy resting BP and I’m an triathlon endurance conditioning athlete. (Used to be in track/field in college) Back in the old days, they used to say if we hit the anaerobic heart rate zones that we’re not doing our bodies any favors because oxygen is improperly carried to our muscles. I’m mainly curious because now that I’m growing old, my long term endurance is tapering and I’m trying HIIT to combat my genetic disposition of weight gain from an inherited thyroid condition. When I’m hitting it hard in the gym, my heart rate monitor gets up to 180+ bpm at times. Just curious if I should refrain from that level of intensity…?

  39. Avatar Lynn says:

    I love kettlebells. I think it is because it’s all about the heavy. They are hard. Do some get-ups.

  40. Avatar TiffyPop says:

    So basically, just exercise.

  41. Avatar Lori says:

    Wow, after reading some of these comments, it’s a wonder why MFP doesn’t take the road of many other publications and disallow comments. Or maybe that’s why the “reply” button is not working for me in this thread. All I can say is Karma is a very real thing.

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