What's the Best Exercise for Losing Weight?

by abekkala

You’ve made the commitment. You’ve cleaned up your diet and are eating fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein to kick start your weight loss journey. Fabulous! How’s your exercise program? Not sure what you should be doing? Bored with your workouts?

The two biggest obstacles when trying to lose weight with exercise are boredom and injury. You’re probably wondering what are the best exercises to lose weight. Truthfully, there is no one best way. The activity that you enjoy the most is the best. Sure there are some exercises that burn more calories per hour but exercise should be something that you want to do rather than dread. You want to stick with it for life not just for right now.

There are two things that every exercise plan needs for weight loss success: Cardio and Strength Training.

If your goal is to lose weight or maintain your weight loss, the American College of Sports Medicine advises you must exercise for 60 to 90 minutes per day, five days a week.

When you find an activity that you enjoy, there are plenty of ways to keep things interesting. You don’t want to do the same workout every single time. Your muscles (and your brain) need to have variety to continually progress and for the scale to continue to move in the right direction.

See: How Often Should You Exercise?

Interval training is a great way to keep things fresh, interesting and fast paced. Intervals incorporate exercising at a high intensity for a set time followed by a low intensity “recovery” period. For example, try a sprinting workout. Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy pace. Run or bike at an all out fast pace for 30 seconds. Return to a slower recovery pace for 2 minutes. Repeat this 30 seconds all out/2 minutes recovery for 6 times. Cool down for 10 minutes. Intervals allow for a shorter workout but because of the high intensity you will get maximum caloric burn.

See: Boost Your Results With Interval Training

Maybe you’re more motivated by having a team behind you for support? There are adult leagues for all different sports such as soccer, hockey, volleyball, tennis, you name it! A 140 pound woman can burn approximately 333 calories during a 30 minute soccer game. Compare that to 30 minutes on the stationary bike at a moderate pace and you will only burn 183. Sports are a great way to have fun while torching major calories.

Strength Training
Strength training is sometimes forgotten in the weight loss sequence. Cardio burns more calories during the actual workout session. However, strength training continues to burn calories throughout the day long after your sweat session has ended. You may not see the scale budge much with strength training but you will lose inches. Aim for 2-3 muscle building sessions a week that include all the major muscle groups such as legs, back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and core. Try for at least 10-15 repetitions of each.

Just as with cardio, variety is key. Rather than using the same 5 pound weights each day, mix it up. Use a variety of machines, cables, dumbbells, or even your own body weight. A circuit training session is a great way to get a total body strength workout in less time. Circuit training is based on moving from exercise to exercise with no rest in between sets. Since there is no rest, your heart rate stays elevated and your caloric burn is increased. You’ll get your workout in before you know it with no boredom factor!


Finding an exercise that you enjoy will not only help you lose weight in the short term but will keep you fit and healthy for years to come.

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About the Author

Angela Bekkala, BS, CES, is a fitness professional and writer. With over 10 years of experience in the health and wellness field, she loves to share her love of fitness with others. She chronicles her healthy living on her blog, Happy Fit Mama (http://www.happyfitmama.com).