What’s the best weight loss exercise?
It’s a question we get asked time and time again – what’s the best weight loss exercise? Should I do weights or cardio? What are the best exercises to do to lose weight? I have a big stomach so should I just do lots of abdominal exercises?
These are all important questions and as with most things, there is no simple answer. In order to lose weight our bodies need to burn more calories than we eat. In very simple terms, if we exercise more and eat less we will lose weight. But there are definitely ways you can maximise your training towards weight loss to help burn calories faster.
The best weight loss exercise involves a combination of training and it’s important that it’s tailored to your specific needs. I.e. your goals, your body type and working around injuries. Having said that, there are a few general principals you can follow to maximise your weight loss potential.
Weights or Cardio
Whilst low intensity steady state cardio such as walking or swimming burns the most fat, it’s also long in duration to get results. I.e. you need to walk for a long time to burn a large amount of calories.
Resistance or weight training burns less calories per minute, but increasing your muscle mass will increase your metabolism. This is because muscles require more energy to function on a daily basis. A muscular person will burn more calories sitting on the couch doing nothing than a less muscular person.
Therefore, a combination of cardio and resistance training is ideal for weight loss exercise. A quick fix if you’re short on time is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. This is a combination of both cardio and resistance training that is relatively short in duration and contributes to fitness, weight loss and muscle tone. 2-3 sessions a week of HIIT training and you will soon notice results.
What exercises should I do?
Exercises that involve large muscle groups such as a squat press, press-ups or burpees are great for weight loss. The more muscle working at any one time, the more calories you can potentially burn. The glutes (bottom) and quadriceps (thigh) muscles are large groups of muscles in the body and targeting these can help maximise weight loss, but it’s also important not to focus on one area of the body as discussed below.
Should I target a specific area of my body that I want to work on?
The short answer is no. Whilst targeting one area will help tone those specific muscles, it may not necessarily help you lose weight in that area. You need to do a full body workout using a combination of cardio and resistance training to help your body lose weight as a whole. Just doing tricep extensions will get you very strong arm muscles, but it won’t get rid of the fat at the back of your arms unless you reduce your total body fat mass.
Also take into account your posture. You don’t want to create muscle imbalances that will affect your posture and potentially create injuries. Often young males (sorry fellas!) concentrate on arm and chest muscles but neglect the shoulders and back, which can lead to injuries and postural problems later in life.
The ability to lose weight and gain muscle varies from person to person depending on their genetics. Some individuals are naturally predisposed to put muscle on easily while others may have to work harder at it. The same goes for how you lose and gain fat. Another important factor is your lifestyle growing up. If you have been fit and healthy all your life, chances are your body has a good metabolism and is well accustomed to burning calories. If this isn’t the case then you’re going to need to retrain your body and get it into some good habits.
Don’t get hung up on what the scales say
I often find it amazing how obsessed people are about their weight. Bear in mind that muscle weighs more than fat so don’t be too hung up on what the scales say. Your body shape will change for the better when doing regular activity and after an initial loss of weight, you may find it harder to continue losing weight. This isn’t a bad thing! I often tell people not to worry about their weight and base their success on how they’re feeling and to a lesser extent what they look like.
If you’d like any more information on the items discussed in this article, feel free to call us on 0424 959 880 or contact us online.