The one thing that's so hard about exercise and weight loss is this: It's hard to burn enough calories with exercise to make a serious dent in your weight. In fact, the workouts that are most effective for weight loss are the hardest ones: High intensity interval training, tabata training or metabolic conditioning.
If you're a veteran exerciser, you might enjoy torturous workouts on a regular basis. If you're not? You may find any amount of exercise hard to accomplish. Unfortunately, that may end up hurting your weight loss efforts.
So, how much exercise do you need and how can you fit it in? Use these tips below to make the most out of your exercise time.
For weight loss, you'll need to do at least 5 days of cardio at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes but, the frankly, it usually takes more than that to really burn calories. Your best bet: Interval training 2-3 days a week and more moderate workouts on the other days. By alternating high intensity segments with recovery, you'll burn more calories and build endurance more quickly. You'll also get a great afterburn. You don't have to be an experienced exerciser to try interval training. Start here:
- Interval Training for Beginners - When you perfect this, move up to...
- Interval Training 1 - And then move up to...
- Interval Training 2
- More Interval Workouts
Strength training is incredibly important for weight loss, but some people - well, let's just be honest...women - stick with cardio because they like it, it burns more calories in one fell swoop and they don't want to get bulky. But muscle is much more active than fat, so the more you build, the more weight you lose over the long term.
Your best bet with weight training: Circuit Training. By doing an exercise, one after the other, you keep your heart rate up and burn more calories. It also makes the workout a little more exciting so you're not as bored. If you're a beginner, start with this Basic Cardio and Strength Circuit or try one of these circuit training workouts. Do a couple of circuit workouts along with your cardio and you'll start to see some results.
Note: Many people don't lift enough weight to really challenge their muscles. If that sounds familiar, check out Weight Training 101 and my Workout Center to learn how to lift weights and get some workout ideas.