I was overweight. Specifically, I was over 230 pounds, and I’m now hovering happily between 150 and 155. I’ve tried a lot of different exercises over the two years it took me to get to that weight, and I’ve learned the science of why some work better than others. I want to show you the best exercises to lose weight so you can have the same (or better!) success that I’ve had.
I still use these exercises through the week so I can stay in shape, so you can keep these in your workout arsenal even when you’ve reached your goal weight.
I hate going to gyms, and I especially hated it when I was over 200 pounds. I just didn’t feel good being seen that way. If you hate gyms too, you’ll love these exercises, since you can do them all at home. Some of them you’ll want to do outside, and some you need (minimal) equipment for.
For the rest, you just need your own body, carpet or an exercise mat, and a ceiling high enough that you won’t smack your knuckles on the ceiling fan if you jump a little.
Have you tried going running, and hated it? Treadmills are not really your thing? That’s just fine, since there’s a way to run more effectively, and it involves doing less of it. Instead of jogging endlessly, you can break up your run into sprints and walks. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which means we’ll fun full out for 60-90 seconds, then walk at a slow recovery pace for 1-2 minutes.
The cool thing about this is that you burn the fat during the resting periods, and you burn sugar during your sprints, so you’re re-training your body on how to effectively use both types of fuel. When you get started, I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to sprint that long. 30 seconds is just fine if that’s what you can do. You’ll gain endurance faster than you think.
If you don’t want to time your sessions, you can use landmarks instead. Landmarks are even better motivators to get you to run just a little farther each time, too. “I’ll run this whole block then walk two; This time, I’ll make it to that tree!”
Yes, walking for long distances really will help you lose weight. You can either have a long walk near your home or plan a camping trip with your family (Tip: Do not forger your tents for sale – hence your trip does not hurt your wallet). You will burn calories and improve your muscle tone, but the reason it works so well is that it triggers your body to balance your hormones better.
A lot of us are drowning in cortisol, the stress hormone. One of the best ways to reduce this is to walk…a lot.
- You should aim for at least 2 hours per day of walking, though you don’t have to do it all at once. You can park farther from your office and get in half an hour in and on your way out, you can walk on your lunch, and you can walk after dinner (which, by the way, will help your digestion.)
- You should practice this outdoors, since you can also get the benefits of fresh air and sunlight, and you can make it a social activity with your partner or friends. You can easily do this on a treadmill too when the weather isn’t cooperative
This one requires a kettlebell, which you can find at a sports store, many discount stores, and of course on Amazon. If you haven’t been weight training, you really only need a 15-pound bell. If you’ve been weight training for a while and have more strength, you can go up to 35 pounds, but only choose a bell that you can use safely. You don’t need to push for a higher weight since the smaller ones will be just as effective for this exercise.
Master the basic squat first, since this is the core motion you’ll be using.
The kettlebell squat exercise is faster. Using your arms to swing the bell out and back, it is a pretty intense full body move. Make sure you have a good grip on the kettlebell, so you don’t toss it through the window.
Also read: How To Get Bigger Arms In Only 28 Days
Kettlebell swings combine high-intensity bursts of cardio with intense muscle use, so you burn extra calories and continue to burn more calories through the day.
Watch this example of the basic form you should follow:
This exercise will get your whole body moving and work up a good sweat in no time.
Squat jumps engage your lower body for the big motions, the core for stability, and your arms for balance.
This is a great whole body muscle movement that will get your heart pumping. Since it’s so intense, it’s a calorie torcher.
It uses a lot of muscles that don’t get a lot of work when we’re sitting in our offices or standing at our counters, so it’s important to take a short walk and do some stretching first to get warmed up. Preventing injuries is important to sticking with any exercise.
- Review the basic form of the squat to make sure you’re balanced and solid, since this is the core of the workout.
- Don’t move on to the jump until you’re confident in your squat!
- Once you have that motion down, add a jump during the upward motion, and turn your landing into the next squat.
Your legs are going to get sore fast from doing these, so you’ll be building greater endurance with each day you include them in your workout.
Watch how the squat jump is here:
You will love to hate burpees!
- You’ll love them because they are so intense and so effective at melting fat and toning muscle all over your body.
- You’ll hate them because they’re hard! But if you want to torch tons of fat, this is the best move to have in your arsenal.
You’ll be actively engaging every muscle group, and increasing your heart rate, which is the perfect combination to burn the most fat.
Welcome back to the squat! It’s only the first part though.
You’ll go from a squat to a jump, then down into a pushup. That counts as ONE burpee.
Getting started, expect only to be able to do 3 or so at a time. Try to do several sets. You’ll also want to focus on your form, to keep your knees safe.
This is an intense muscle-straining, sweat-inducing type of exercise that you can do with only a yoga mat for comfort.
If you’ve seen pilates videos before and thought they looked easy, you’ll be surprised to learn that they are extremely intense because of the way they use your muscles.
There is cardio involved, but not as much as some other exercises. Instead, you stimulate your muscles in each of the moves to burn more calories as opposed to the big motions like squat jumps.
You can think of Pilates as a more weight-loss oriented kind of yoga. You can choose from a variety of pilates workouts. Pick one you like and stick with it, or choose many and alternate so you don’t get bored.
Here is a fantastic beginner Pilates video. She explains the motions and walks you through all the basics. Ramp up to more intense workouts at your own pace, since even the “easy“ ones are pretty hard.
There may be Zumba classes at various gyms and studios in your town, but if you’re not into the class atmosphere, you can still enjoy this energetic full body dance form in your own living room.
One thing I like about Zumba is that it has awesome, lively music. It is dance, after all! Music will help keep you moving, and it makes the workout more entertaining.
Zumba uses all your muscle groups and is a cardio workout too. You’ll have some dance moves to learn, but start slow and work on each move separately before you combine them into a dance.
It is intimidating to watch experienced dancers pull off complicated steps, so keep to the easier videos until you have some practice.
And just like Pilates, “easy” doesn’t mean easy! You’ll still get a crazy workout even in the beginner levels.
Check out this workout for a fantastic introduction to get you started. You’ll go through basic steps that you can work on, and combine them into your first dance. Your motion and your flexibility will improve as you torch calories.
I really hope you enjoyed this list of the 7 most effective fat burning exercises! These are some of my personal favorites, and I’ve found that they’re the most effective when I use them regularly in my workout lineup. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you loved this list, share it with your friends!