Successful trainers agree, when it comes to weight loss…not all workouts are created equal. If you’re crunched for time, yet still hitting the gym several days a week to get fit and lose weight, you want maximum calorie-burning results.

Make the minutes count by knowing the best exercises for weight loss. These workouts are designed to stoke your metabolism and crank up the burn!

Strength Training:

Resistance training, whether it’s with your bodyweight alone (like pushups) or with added weights, is one of the most effective ways to drop pounds. The metabolic needs of your muscles are changeable. If you make your muscles bigger, they will use more calories day and night, thereby raising your base metabolism.  

Just keep in mind, your body adjusts to workouts over time so mix up your weight routine every three weeks to keep your body guessing. And don’t worry about “bulking up”. In fact, picking up a set of dumbbells will slim you down faster than foregoing weights all together. Get ready to hit the weight room!

Cardio Intervals:

The American College of Sports Medicine reports that you can raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours post-exercise by adding one little tweak to your workout routine, intervals! These are definitely one of the best exercises for weight loss.

All you have to do is inject short sprints of intense effort into your regular cardio exercise (running, swimming, biking, elliptical, etc.). You want to spike your heart rate, then bring it back down….repeatedly.  

This forces your muscles to work harder without oxygen (a process called anaerobic conditioning) which helps muscles burn more fuel, grow, and perform better. The intensity effectively resets your metabolism to a slightly higher rate and it takes hours for it to slow down again. That means you get an ongoing calorie burn, long after your workout is over. Yeah baby!

 

Best exercises for weight loss
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High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

Intervals aren’t just for your cardio workouts. Another way to ramp up your calorie burn is to try varying your intervals during your next circuit workout. HIIT alternates working out at your maximum effort, with recovery periods, to burn more calories in a shorter period of time, thereby increases your results.  

Looking for an intense interval training workout? Try Tabata!  It’s designed to be four minutes of HIIT that consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.

You can try it at home, simply pick four exercises (like mountain climbers, squat jumps, rotating planks, and jump rope) then do each for 20 seconds as hard and fast as you can, recover 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times.

Be sure to maintain proper form while doing the series. It ends up being four minutes of work on one exercise. Then you rest for one minute, and move on to the next exercise in the series. By the end you’ve completed a 20 minute circuit of calorie-scorching high intensity interval training and you’re ready to get back to your busy day!

Boot Camp:

If you want a workout that is going to keep your metabolism humming all day, check out boot camp! These classes combine two of the most effective styles of training, interval and resistance, into one intense calorie-burning sweat session. Boot camp instructors vary muscle groups and workout segments to keep your body guessing and amp up your results.

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If it’s your first time at boot camp, be sure to speak up so your instructor can work with you to determine a good starting level that will challenge you (without causing injury). If you can’t get to a studio, you can find boot camp style workouts online or try using a boot camp DVD at home.

Boxing or Kickboxing:

When you think about it, boxing and kickboxing are essentially another form of interval training. Except you kind of feel like a badass when you’re hitting the bag. It’s a great way to release your frustrations!  

Learning the proper form is crucial for this type of exercise, so if you’re a beginner…it’s best to start with a class where an instructor can coach you. Newbies often make the mistake of punching with only their arm strength, when the real power comes from the hips. A good coach will also keep your intensity level high, ensuring you’re burning maximum calories per class.

 

Best exercises for weight loss
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Jumping Rope:

This exercise isn’t just for kids on the playground anymore.  Jumping rope is awesome because it’s cheap, portable, and you can do it most anywhere. It’s also a great workout to do when you are traveling and may not have access to a gym. Plus, it will really get your heart rate pumping! Looking for a quick and effective jump rope routine to try? Look no further…

  1. Warm up with an easy 3-minute skip with the rope
  2. Do 100 traditional jumps (both feet leave the floor at the same time with no extra hops in between…”Rocky” style)
  3. Now, without resting, immediately launch into 100 jump sprints (this is where you do traditional jumps, but at the fastest pace you can muster)
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, reducing the number of jumps you do at each speed like this:  75/75, 50/50, 25/25, 10/10.
  5. If you’ve still got some spark, start back up at 100 and work your way down again!

A quick note of caution, don’t ever try jumping rope without wearing shoes, even indoors. If you’ve ever whacked the front of your toe with a rope accidentally (like we did testing this routine for this article) you will understand why.

Also, if you’re out and about and forgot your jump rope…no problem! You can do the entire sequence with an “invisible” rope like Wonder Woman. It truly is the ultimate on-the-go calorie blaster!

Morning Workouts:

Studies show that people who workout first thing in the morning tend to burn more calories than people who workout later in the day. A.M. exercisers have more energy, which causes them to work out longer and harder than afternoon or evening exercises. Plus, morning exercisers tend to be more consistent, and stick with their routines because there are less reasons to reschedule.

If you find it hard getting out of work on time or saying no to last minute happy hours, you may want to try waking up earlier and getting that workout done first thing. It might be the little tweak you need to see weight-loss results.

Finally, it’s important to note that when it comes to losing weight, diet is still the key component to any plan. Be sure you don’t neglect the importance of healthy eating habits when trying to drop pounds.

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Also, in the exercise world, intensity reigns supreme. It’s important that you bring your A-game to the gym. Most trainers we talked to said they would rather see you workout 3 days a week at maximum intensity, than 5 days a week at only 50 percent.  

Have any any of our best exercises for weight loss helped you shed pounds? What are you go-to calorie blasting workouts? Share your thoughts in our Health Community.

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